Cloud gaming service Google Stadia will shut down on January 18, the search giant announced in a blog post on Thursday. Google will refund all Stadia hardware purchased from the Google Store, as well as all games and add-on content purchased from the Stadia Store.
The company aims to have all refunds made by mid-January.
People using Stadia will still be able to access their game libraries, including Pro games if you had an active Pro subscription as of Thursday. In an email sent to gamers, Google warned that publisher support for games may vary and your gaming experience may be affected during the shutdown period (suggesting that some games may go away or lose functionality sooner).
It appears that Google didn’t notify many developers of the shutdown before the public blog was posted. Destiny 2 creators Bungie tweeted Thursday about develop an “action plan” following the announcement. Assassin’s Creed developer Ubisoft plans to license players who purchased its games on Stadia to bring them to PC through its digital distribution service Ubisoft Connect, he said on Friday.
Google has spoken to at least one studio (developer Luxor Evolved Old school) on reimbursing lost revenue as a result of the abrupt change, Axios reported on Friday.
Explaining the move, Stadia Vice President and General Manager Phil Harrison noted Google’s investments in games through its Google Play digital distribution service, cloud technology, and YouTube streaming.
“A few years ago we also launched a consumer gaming service, Stadia,” he said in the blog post. “And while Stadia’s approach to consumer game streaming was built on a solid technology foundation, it didn’t gain the user buy-in we expected, so we made the difficult decision to start terminating our Stadia streaming service.”
Many Stadia team employees will be reassigned to other roles within Google, the blog post says.
The cloud gaming service launched in November 2019 received a mixed reception.
“Stadia isn’t delivering new games [at the moment], it’s just trying to come up with a new way to stream gaming. One you can already get from other vendors,” CNET’s Scott Stein wrote at the time. “Until Google finds a way to shut down YouTube and develop truly unique large-scale competitive games, Stadia won’t still not worth your time.”
Despite some solid games in its library, Stadia failed to scale. Google closed its internal development studio in 2021, hinting that his gaming ambitions are moving away from Stadia.
Stadia also had plenty of cloud gaming contestwith Xbox, PlayStationNvidia and Amazon all offering alternatives.
It hasn’t been a total failing for the company, with Harrison saying the technology can be applied to YouTube, Google Play and its augmented reality projects.
This technology will also be made available to Google’s industrial partners. Sony gave its own streaming service a head start in 2015 by buy OnLive’s patents — a early game streaming service – shortly before the closure of the once promising startup.
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