Google’s cloud streaming console is going to the big place in the sky. The tech giant announced that it is killing Google Stadia on January 18, 2023, rendering the platform completely useless.
Vice President and General Manager Phil Harrison announced the shutdown on Google’s blog, noting that Stadia had not lived up to the company’s expectations. And since the platform is entirely dependent on servers being up, users won’t be able to access their games after Stadia dies. However, Google is issuing refunds for all Stadia hardware (which includes consoles and controllers) purchased from the Google Store and all games and DLC purchased through the Stadia Store. Harrison said they expected the repayments to happen by mid-January 2023, and more details are in the Help center.
The Help Center is not fully developed yet, but has several goodies. Since most games do not support cross-platform progression, it will not be possible to transfer progress to other platforms. However, Pro subscriptions are non-refundable, however these subscribers will still have access to their Pro library titles. Refunds will not be made through brick-and-mortar stores, and users will not have to return “most” hardware to get a refund. Those who paid with gift cards or discontinued payment methods will be able to get a refund, but said users should keep an eye on their inbox for a special email.
Harrison praised the core technology, saying Google saw clear opportunities to apply it to both deals with outside companies and other parts of the business like YouTube, Google Play and its various expanded efforts. Google will also invest in new tools and technologies and remains “deeply committed to gaming.” Many of those on the Stadia team have also worked for other parts of the company.
This complete termination of service was apparently inevitable. Google close all internal studies in February 2021. Harrison said the company is shifting its resources to expand its efforts to help developers and publishers “take advantage of [its] platform technology and deliver games directly to their players,” essentially shelving its development initiatives to help other teams instead (which it did by making Stadia a white-label product used by other companies). Many leads also left Stadia shortly after.
Many businesses reported that Google did not fully support the idea and spent a ton of money locking up previously released games and trying to attract talent to develop titles, a strategy that did not attract enough users. This also led to a lot of canceled projects or games that had to find new homes, as reported by Video Games Chronicle and Axios. Games from Kojima Productions, Yu Suzuki, Typhoon Studio, former Ubisoft developer Francois Pelland and Harmonix were among the parties with canceled games. The quarry and High on life were reportedly two games to find new publishers.