Google has officially announced shutting down its Stadia gaming service due to unpopularity. In a blog post, Phil Harrison (Vice President and General Manager, Stadia) stated that Stadia “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.” The Google Stadia service will officially discontinue on January 18, 2023.
The good news is that Google is refunding all Stadia store purchases for customers who spent hundreds of dollars on unplayable games.
In the blog post, Phil says: “We will be refunding all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store, and all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store.” That notably excludes payments to the “Stadia Pro” subscription service, and you won’t get hardware refunds from non-Google Store purchases, but that’s a pretty good deal.
Existing Pro users will be able to play for free until the shutdown date. The controllers are still useful as wired USB controllers, and a campaign to get Google to unlock the Bluetooth connection is already starting.
Stadia is Google’s cloud gaming service that allows users to stream video games directly from the cloud, including AAA titles like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Cyberpunk 2077. That is, as long as someone had access to Google Chrome, there was no need to purchase physical hardware. However, players could purchase a dedicated controller.
Google claims that the underlying technology that powers Stadia has proven to be powerful, and the company has already begun offering Stadia as a white-label product, which means that other businesses can use the technology without becoming a part of Stadia’s ecosystem.