After three years in the gaming business, Google is throwing in the towel. They announced today that they will be shuttering their Stadia cloud gaming service in 2023. If you still have a Stadia subscription (first of all, wow, go you) you will get the service for free until the end of the year.
Here is everything you need to know about the Stadia shutdown.
Google has said that Stadia will remain live until January 18th, 2023. After that, the service will no longer be operable on any device, and all games, progress, and apps will be lost. It is possible to save your game progress, but only for games that support cross-play between Stadia and other platforms
Refunds will be issued for all hardware and software purchases made on the Google Play Store. Hardware includes the Stadia controller, Founder’s Edition, Premiere Edition, and Play and Watch with Google TV packages. Chromecast was not mentioned as a part of this hardware refund as it is not an essential piece of Stadia hardware.
All software purchases made on the Stadia Store will also be refunded. Stadia Pro subscriptions will not be refunded but players get the service for free until 2023. Players cannot make any further purchases on the Stadia Store for obvious reasons.
These refunds are expected to take place automatically but it is still unclear when refunds will go out. Google has set a tentative date of January 18th, 2023, the same day as the closure, but that remains to be seen. You will not be expected to return any hardware in order to receive a refund. But now that Stadia is dead, hardware, like the controller, is basically just Stadia-themed paperweights.
The future of Cloud Gaming at Google
Google stated that the Stadia team would “carry this work forward” on other Google projects. The technology is still impressive. When Google Stadia was announced, cloud gaming seemed impossible. Stadia might not have been perfect but it did what it promised to do. That is pretty incredible.
Google hasn’t announced any solid plans on what it will do with the technology moving forward but executives have hinted at other applications. The technology might be seen in some of Google’s more profitable departments like YouTube and in its ongoing AR projects.
This comes as no shock to anyone. Stadia was bound to fail and the signs were there from the start. It was released at a time when cloud gaming just wasn’t on anyone’s minds yet. Despite all of Google’s resources, it didn’t have the fundamental thing that a gaming service needs — good games.
When Stadia was released, Google likewise announced a slew of in-house development studios working on original games. Those efforts went nowhere and every studio was eventually shuttered.
Google is a powerhouse, there is no denying it but they missed the trick with gaming. They had little to no foothold in the industry and while they had released adjacent products, gaming can be an insular thing. Besides, competing with the likes of Sony, Microsoft, and even Nintendo was a fool’s errand for a company just entering the industry, even if it was Google.
That said, Stadia still managed to gain a loyal fanbase. At the end of the day, it did what it claimed on the tin. Love it or hate it, Stadia opened the door for others to get into cloud gaming. Companies started paying attention to it in a way they never had before.
We’re not saying that services like Game Pass wouldn’t exist without Stadia, it still totally would. However, Stadia helped put cloud gaming at the forefront of people’s minds. And while it was inevitable it would fall, it’s sad to see it go.