Google has announced that its cloud streaming service Stadia will officially be shut down on January 18, 2023. All Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store will be refunded, including games and add-on content purchased from that storefront.
“A few years ago, we also launched a consumer gaming service, Stadia,” Stadia VP Phil Harrison wrote in a blog post. “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.”
Though Stadia as a gaming platform will be retired next year, Harrison added that the technology pioneered by the service will be used in other Google services such as YouTube, Google Play, and Augmented Reality projects. The company also plans to make the underlying technology available to industry partners, which “aligns with where we see the future of gaming headed” Harrison explained.
Stadia was first revealed in early 2019 at that year’s GDC event, and officially launched in November that year. The streaming service had an impressive number of third-party games available, with big names such as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Cyberpunk 2077, and Doom Eternal in its library. Google also had big plans for exclusive titles on Stadia and began investing in its own game studios, but by February 2021, it had shut down that division and announced that it would no longer develop its own games.
“The good news is that the ball is mostly in Google’s court. Stadia has a strong foundation as a streaming service, and its biggest issues seem solvable,” Peter Brown wrote in GameSpot’s Google Stadia review. “Google needs to address the pricing structure and figure out how to make it work for customers who are trained to view streaming as a subscription service. Until it gets there, Stadia will struggle to be viewed as anything more than a costly curiosity.”
In the last few years, Stadia also began to face some stiff competition. Amazon entered the cloud gaming market with Luna, and Microsoft began working on its own streaming project that leveraged its own impressive library of titles, Game Pass subscription, and cloud gaming technologies. Logitech’s just-announced dedicated cloud gaming handheld system is compatible with Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming.
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