You can add Google’s Stadia game-streaming platform to the long and growing list of products that were Killed by Google.
Google has announced that it’s shutting down the service in January. The good news is that folks who’ve spent money on Stadia hardware, games, in-game content should receive refunds.
Stadia launched in November, 2019 as a platform that allowed users to stream games over the internet without the need to invest in a game console or gaming PC either by paying for games individually or signing up for a Stadia Pro subscription for access to a library of games.
Games can be streamed to compatible phones, tablets, laptop or desktop computers, or Smart TVs (via a Chromecast Ultra). And you can either use your device’s controls or a dedicated Stadia Controller.
While Stadia only supported 22 titles at launch, the Stadia game library has grown substantially over the years. But apparently its user base hasn’t grown enough for Google to justify keeping the service around.
Stadia also faces some pretty stiff competition from rivals including NVIDIA’s GeForce Now, Amazon’s Luna, and Microsofot’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate cloud gaming services, among others.
Google says existing Stadia users will be able to continue playing games in their library through January 18, 2023. If you haven’t finished playing a game by then, you may lose your in-game progress unless you’re playing one of a small subset of games that supports “cross-progression” across different platforms. So I suppose it’s nice that Google’s giving players a few months to finish up any games they’re still working through.
Starting today Stadia users can no longer purchase new games or in-game content, as Google has already “disabled all commerce on the Stadia platform.”
The upshot is that this also applies to Stadia Pro subscribers: they can continue to play all available Stadia Pro games until January 18th without paying any more money. But while Google will issue refunds to customers who purchased Stadia games or hardware, the company will not be issuing refunds for Stadia Pro subscriptions.
The folks who really come out ahead here though, are those who may have bought one of Google’s bundles that included a Stadia Controller and Chromecast Ultra or other hardware, as the company says it will not require customers to return hardware in order to receive a refund.
Google says it expects to have most refunds processed by mid-January, 2023.
The company also notes that some of the technologies developed for Stadia may live on in other forms. Remnants of Stadia could eventually be used to bring improvements to YouTube, the Google Play Store, or Google’s augmented reality apps and services.