Google Stadia is shutting down. The cloud-based gaming service, which brought AAA games to a wide range of devices without the need for high powered hardware, will be wound down for good in January next year.
In a blog post, Google cited the lack of traction Stadia has gained with gamers since the launch in 2019. However, the company’s wishy-washy commitment to the platform has been criticised almost since the streaming service’s initial launch.
Google says all hardware, game and add-on content purchases made through the Google Store will be refunded because, after January 18 2023, they will not be playable anymore. Those refunds should be carried out automatically by the time the service shuts down. So, the little Stadia experiment won’t have cost gamers anything apart from time.
“A few years ago, we also launched a consumer gaming service, Stadia,” wrote Phil Harrison, Stadia’s VP and GM. “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.”
Google says it has found use in the underlying tech that powered Stadia, and is confident it can and will be applied across the company’s AR efforts, as well as within YouTube and Google Play. The company isn’t talking potential layoffs right now, but does say that some team members will be working on bringing the underlying tech to other Google platforms in the near future.
Stadia has struggled to emerge from the shadow of the gaming incumbents despite the proposition seeming sound. It enabled gamers to buy the games they wanted to play without needing expensive hardware. A Pro subscription also ensured a steady flow of new games each month.
However, while Microsoft truly got the machine behind the ‘Xbox Everywhere’ strategy through Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming, Google simply didn’t. Google’s efforts to get gamers on board were limited and timid to say the least, and it appears the top brass weren’t behind the long term future of the platform. Now it’s joining the Google Graveyard.