Google Shuts Down Cloud Gaming Service Stadia Just 3 Years After Launch
Google has announced its cloud gaming service, Stadia, will be no more by early next year.
The search engine giant, in a blog post, said that customers will have until 18 January 2023 to access their libraries and play their favourite games on the service for the final time. It also plans to refund all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store, along with all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store, by mid-January of next year.
The Stadia store is now closed, and no new purchases can be made anymore.
Google first unveiled Stadia in March of 2019 at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) and launched it in November of the same year. The service was touted as "the future of gaming", built on the promise that users would be able to play blockbuster games across all their devices via cloud streaming. The announcement was met with much fanfare as the likes of Microsoft and Sony had yet to launch their respective subscription services yet. Tech-wise, Google was also arguably the best-equipped company to take on such an idea.
The fanfare, however, soon turned into disappointment when Stadia finally launched. While the service worked as intended, it wasn't as smooth as many users were expecting, and there were a lot of essential features that were still missing. And perhaps worse of all, the service just didn't seem to catch on and gain any traction with the gaming community, as Stadia Vice President Phil Harrison mentions. This led Google to make the difficult decision to shut the service down for good.
Many suspected that Stadia was nearing its end when Google closed its internal game development studios early last year. The move was sort of an indication that the service was on its last legs as resources were already being pulled away from it. Now, we finally have confirmation.
Mr Harrison does note that Stadia's technology "transcends gaming" and will likely be integrated elsewhere. "We see clear opportunities to apply this technology across other parts of Google like YouTube, Google Play, and our Augmented Reality (AR) efforts – as well as make it available to our industry partners, which aligns with where we see the future of gaming headed," he said.
As for the team behind Stadia, Harrison says many of them will continue their work in other parts of the company. However, he didn't say whether there will be layoffs as a result of the shutdown.
Google appears to have a knack for killing projects only a few years after launch, as The Verge points out, and Stadia is, of course, but one example. The food and home services aggregator Areo, launched in 2017, was shut down in 2019. Google Allo, a chat app meant to take on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, also said goodbye in 2019 after launching in 2016.
Google has announced its cloud gaming service, Stadia, will be no more by early next year
The search engine giant said that customers will have until 18 January 2023 to access their libraries and play their favourite games.
It also plans to refund all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store, along with all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store, by mid-January of next year.
Stadia was launched in November 2019.