Google Shutting Down Stadia Game Streaming Service

Google Stadia Controllers
(Image credit: Google)

Google is shutting down its Stadia streaming service, the company announced in a blog post. All hardware and software purchases will be refunded, and people who bought games on the platform will be able to play and access them until January 18, 2023. After that, Google will no longer sell games on the platform.

"A few years ago, we also launched a consumer gaming service, Stadia," Stadia vice president and general manager Phil Harrison wrote. "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."

Further in the announcement, Harrison wrote that the tech powering Stadia would likely live on in YouTube, Google Play, and whatever it has cooking in augmented reality. He also said that "we remain deeply committed to gaming" and that the company will continue to invest in and build new tools. "Many" employees on Stadia will be moving into other parts of Google, according to the blog post.

Stadia, built on custom AMD GPUs, launched in 2019 to tepid reviews and never really caught on. Google had several efforts to make its own games, but it shut down in-house development studios and instead focused on a white-label version of Stadia that partners could use. Stadia vice president Jade Raymond's leaving was a big blow to Google making its own games, and she has since launched a new studio, Haven Studio, which Sony bought.

"It's... tough to justify paying $10 per month for the service as it stands and games ranging for $30 to $60 on top of it," I wrote in my review of the service in November 2019, when the service launched without all of its promised features. "Google's feature set, the stuff that makes Stadia most compelling, isn't here yet," I added.

Features were added during Stadia's lifecycle, including instantly streaming demos, but none of them breathed new life into the project.

Google returning the funds used to buy the software helps soften the blow. Some potential users were worried that by buying games on a nascent streaming service, their entire library could disappear if Google shut it down. That is coming true, but at least Google is refunding those who bought games. Competitors' streaming services work differently; Nvidia's GeForce Now uses games you bought on Steam or other supported services. Xbox Game Pass has streaming models in some tiers but also acts similarly to Netflix, with games coming on and off.

Google has published a complete FAQ about Stadia's shuttering, covering the specifics of refunds.

According to killedbygoogle.com, Stadia will be the 274th project shuttered by the company in January. (Assuming another project doesn't beat it to the punch.)


 

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter: @FreedmanAE

  • Gam3r01
    A full refund is surprising, but a good move from a rep standpoint.
    Im sure the 3 Stadia users will appreciate it.
    Reply
  • ezst036
    We have reached peak subscription.

    Lowering the cost of gaming is the way to go - as Valve is doing by employing Linux in the scenario. In the long run, that will pay off. Linux saves servers/admins/big corporations a massive amount of money.

    Linux will save gamers money too.
    Reply
  • demonicus
    honestly ill stick to game pass or ps network if i want android games and controller use.. we can all just use BLUESTACKS....the program like destroyed stadia and its full blown android on ur pc with a little app install then get all the games and apps u want.. install apks etc
    Reply
  • AgentBirdnest
    Whoa... really? That's crazy.
    Because I honestly thought it was canned like a year or two ago, so I'm surprised. : P
    Reply
  • Mandark
    Lame service was doomed from conception.
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    Wikipedia: Cloud Gaming Services10x Game Streaming Services now Defunct/Dead
    _4x Game Streaming Services left.
    GeForce NowLunaPlayStation PlusXbox Cloud GamingI think Amazon Luna is next on the chopping block.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    Nobody asked for these services, and nobody wants them, and nobody has infinite bandwidth

    these are horribly stupid ideas that we’re never going to work, and that probably will never work

    well, maybe when the price of video cards is $9000 this will be the only way people can game?

    when this service launched, I said it would fail so I told you so

    oh, and let that be a lesson to everybody, Google will always shut down services . Never trust google services because they won’t last

    I bet they’ll even dropped email someday
    Reply
  • bigdragon
    Everyone saw this coming. I think most people are surprised Google didn't kill Stadia sooner.

    Stadia could have been a success if Google had created compelling first-party exclusives. They didn't have to be at the AAA quality level either -- a mistake so many other non-gaming companies have made.
    Reply
  • Phaaze88
    Cloud gaming will remain niche, no thanks to the ISPs. The data plans are poop in many regions, and they've got countries carved up like pie pieces.

    "ISPs are smart they understand that they’re in the business of keeping customers happy..." - Phil Harrison
    That aged well, huh Phil?
    Reply
  • Red_Frog
    And, to the surprise of none, Phil Harrison yeets another one.

    How many more grifts will he have in him before he can't get hired to waste other people's time and money?
    Reply