Google shuts down Stadia as the game service did not live up to expectations

Stadia will shut down on January 18, 2023, after a three-year run.

Google turned many heads when it announced the Stadia in 2019. The tech demo piqued the interest of gamers who weren’t exactly keen on forking out big bucks for a gaming PC or a next-gen console.

Google's foray into the cloud gaming service is end on January 2023.

The technology behind Stadia was indeed impressive and Google had a strong foundation with its cloud servers. However, when it launched, the ambitious plan didn’t take off as well as expected.

One thing that Google did not have at the time was a library full of games. It had very little selection to choose from and bigger titles had to be purchased separately before users could access it from the cloud.

Gamers chose to stick with Sony’s PlayStation Now and Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass. Both have massive libraries and even older generation titles that players could choose from.

Stadia was compatible with most devices and even had its own controller.

In a blog post announcing the shutdown of Stadia, Phil Harrison, GM of Stadia, stated that Google’s approach to the streaming service "was built on a strong technology foundation, it hasn’t gained the traction with users that we expected so we’ve made the difficult decision to begin winding down our Stadia streaming service."

According to the announcement, players who purchased the Stadia controller and games from the Stadia store will be eligible for refunds. Google expects refunds to be completed by mid-January.

Players who still have unfinished games can continue to enjoy the streaming service until the servers are shut down in January. There will be no way to transfer progress from Stadia to other platforms at the moment.

Google will however retain the technology that was developed for Stadia. The tech will be reused in other parts of the company such as Youtube, Google Play, and Augmented Reality projects. Google will also make the technology available to industry partners who may want to venture into cloud gaming.

Google spent millions to entice AAA titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 into Google Stadia.

As Harrison put it, Google remains "deeply committed to gaming, and we will continue to invest in new tools, technologies, and platforms that power the success of developers, industry partners, cloud customers, and creators."

There were signs that the streaming service was in dire straits. Last year, Google shut down its first-party game developer for Stadia which was in the middle of developing several titles. At that time, Harrison told staff that Microsoft purchased Bethesda and Google was not willing to pay such a steep price to compete in first-party games. There were also reports that Google had canceled a Death Stranding follow-up project that would have been a Stadia-exclusive.

Google thanked the Stadia team for their efforts. Team members will be continuing their efforts on cloud gaming technology in other parts of the company.

Darryl Lara

Darryl has been gaming since the early 90s, loves to read books and watch TV. He spends his free time outside of gaming and books by riding his motorcycle and taking photographs. You can find Darryl on Instagram. Check him out on Steam and Xbox too.
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