Google’s cloud gaming service, Stadia, is shutting down on January 18, 2023. Customers who bought Stadia hardware through Google Store and those who purchased games and add-ons on the Stadia store will have their money refunded by mid-January.
Launched in November 2019, Stadia did not gain significant traction the way Google expected, most especially in the face of strong competition from Xbox, PlayStation, Nvidia, and Amazon among others. According to Stadia’s vice president and general manager, Phil Harrison, Google invested heavily into its robust game streaming service – but the business side of things failed to pick up even though the technology behind it was solid.
“A few years ago, we also launched a consumer gaming service, Stadia,” Harrison said. “And while Stadia’s approach to streaming games for consumers was built on a strong technology foundation, it hasn’t gained the traction with users that we expected so we’ve made the difficult decision to begin winding down our Stadia streaming service.”
Incidentally, many Stadia players and game developers did not seem to see the shutdown coming. They only seemed to know about this when Google announced it via a blog post on Thursday. Even Google employees working on Stadia seemed to be caught off-guard, but Harrison said the workers will be reintegrated and reassigned to other company roles.
Most game developers would surely suffer lost revenue on account of the shutdown but it seems Google will reimburse them or work out a mutual agreement with them. It appeared the search engine giant discussed with Olde Skuul, developer of Luxor Evolved, about reimbursements for lost revenue from the sudden shutdown. Bungie, the developer of Destiny 2, seems to be considering legal action against Google. And Ubisoft, developer of Assassin’s Creed, said it will move the game to PC.
“While Stadia will shut down on January 18, 2023, we’re happy to share that we’re working to bring the games you own on Stadia to PC through Ubisoft Connect,” Ubisoft announced shortly after the announcement. “We’ll have more to share regarding specific details as well as the impact for Ubisoft+ subscribers at a later date.”
A few gaming analysts however seemed to know that Stadia would crumble sooner or later. An analyst on Tech Crunch said “Stadia died because no one trusts Google,” and he blamed Google for exhibiting crass ignorance of “what people want, need, and will pay for…at this point, people are wary of investing in even its more popular products.”
Google emailed Stadia customers on Thursday that they will still be able to access their game libraries and play Pro games. But during the wind-down to January 18, the gaming experience will be affected as some games disappear or suffer feature loss due to suspended publisher support.