On the 29th of September 2022, Phil Harrison, the Vice President and General Manager of Google Stadia, announced that the gaming service will be shut down in a blog post.
What is Google Stadia? Stadia launched in 2019 as a cloud gaming service, allowing users to purchase, play and stream a variety of games on their TV, PC or mobile devices. The main selling point of the platform was the ability to play games without having to install them on the device itself, games were streamed via internet connection to the user. Stadia also launched their own controller together with the cloud services.
What are the reasons for discontinuing the service now? According to the blog post, Google Stadia simply did not achieve the traction the managers were hoping to achieve.
What happens to games and hardware purchased via Stadia? Phil Harrison announced that all purchases made to buy games, DLC or hardware will be refunded after the service shuts down in January 2023. Stadia+ is excluded from refunds. Players will lose their progress in the games they played via Stadia, so it is recommended that playthroughs should be completed until mid-January 2023. Games which offer cross-platform progression can be transferred to the respective other platform and sometimes save games can be moved as well. Ubisoft/Uplay, announced that they are working on allowing transfers of games from Stadia to Uplay. The impact on Ubisoft+ services is still being discussed. Whether other platforms are going to allow transfers of games is not known at the moment. Stadia-exclusive games might be lost as a result of the shutdown as well – if they are not brought to other platforms.
Now that Stadia joins the Google Graveyard, it might be a good idea to take a closer look at why the service failed and what could be improved in the future. Many members of the gaming community liked the idea of using a cloud service to play their games instead of having to install hundreds of gigabytes on their devices. Stadia just didn’t seem to be able to make it work well enough to be sustainable.