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.

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11 replies on “Google Stadia is shutting down in January, Google will refund hardware and software purchases”

  1. Did it fail because almost everyone thought it’d be shutdown and didn’t bother or was it just not a good service/product and people didn’t bother/quit?

    1. It had a terrible product launch which soured many on it.

      Secondly unlike (GeForce Now) Steam and Xbox cloud you at least still own the games and can play them even if the cloud service goes offline.

      Lastly Google is an increasingly despised company, no-body wanted them in the premium games industry.

      1. You do not “own” your games with Steam or Epic. You still (mostly) need a live internet connection for the DRM to give you permission to play the games you have licensed.

        The only exception is GOG. But with GOG you can only play The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 on GFN. For all other games, there is no morally superior reason for hating on Stadia. Plus, you did not have to pay the monthly fee.

        That said GFN does have noticeably better graphics than Stadia, so I guess there is that.

  2. Damn it Google!

    I really hated the meme that Stadia was about to die that every smartarse on the internets droned out for the past three years, because no, Google does not kill every project. But now I guess I just have to go eat my humble refunds…

    (This is part of a wider shalshing of everything at Google — see the Pixelbook division –, and none of it makes any sense. But what can we do?)

    1. It didn’t exactly surprise me, given that you can buy or rent the games and play them on your own hardware with Game Pass or Geforce now, while the Stadia games you buy are stuck in Stadia and could vanish at any time if Google’s ad customers didn’t like the content. I remember reading that Google was also making noises about having Stadia replace much of the interactive content on web pages, but I guess they didn’t do anything to make development of stuff like that any easier than the billion jillion javascript frameworks out there.
      Then there’s the issue that reducing latency involves having servers everywhere including places where energy prices are going nuts right now. That’s everyone’s problem, but I’d expect it factored into it given that Stadia servers supposedly had custom silicon and achieving that “negative latency” would mean you’ve got more power being consumed than just running the game at home as multiple machines are running the game at once.

      1. I actually really like Stadia’s business model: I bought some games on sale, and never paid a monthly fee. Best experience ever. And also probably why the service didn’t make sense financially for them to keep around…

  3. At the very least send out one last update to the controllers to enable bluetooth pairing. I refuse to believe the bluetooth module is only capable of being used as a marker for the wifi connection.

    1. Yeah, the stadia controllers are pretty nice. Google should put some effort into preventing them from going directly to landfill.

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