Google announced that it will shut down Google Stadia’s game streaming service on January 18, 2023.
For now, gamers will be able to access their Google Stadia game libraries, but they will lose access to these titles by mid-January – although the Stadia controller should still function as a wired controller in non-Stadia games for PC.
Fortunately, in official blog entry (opens in a new tab) Phil Harrison, Google Vice President and CEO of Stadia, said on the shutdown that Google will “reimburse all Stadia purchases made from the Google Store and all games and add-ons purchased from the Stadia Store.”
Google says it expects “most” of the returns to be completed by mid-January, and has posted the page on its own Help Center (opens in a new tab) answers to questions about how Stadia will perform in recent months, and some details about the refund process. Full details have yet to be released, but Google said it will provide more information on how players can get their money back in the coming weeks.
Google Stadia had what could be generously called a rock start in November 2019, launching in Early Access without many of the best features promised in the service’s promotional material. These included most of the social and multiplayer features such as achievements, Crowd Play – which would allow viewers to play with streamers they watched – and Family Sharing – which would allow families to share games.
However, despite these setbacks, Google has promised to keep working on Stadia and make it a gaming platform that gamers will love as much as their console.
As late as July 29, 2022, Google told fans in a tweet that “Stadia is not shutting down,” saying it would continue to run on the platform and bring great games to it.
Stadia does not turn off. Rest assured, we’re always working to bring more great games to the platform and Stadia Pro. Please let us know if you have any other questions.July 29, 2022
Over time, Google has tweaked Stadia’s features, adding many of those that were missing at launch. In addition, it added a few games exclusive to the platform and expanded the Stadia library with third-party titles.
But the improvements never went far enough to compete with game streaming rivals such as the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Nvidia GeForce Now.
The first signs that Stadia was in trouble came in February 2021, when Google shut down its in-house game development studios. The reasoning behind moving according to Google (opens in a new tab)was the release of resources that would allow the company to independently develop the Google Stadia platform.
Now it looks like the entire platform is shutting down to free up resources for the rest of Google’s projects. Stadia will apparently survive in a sense, however, and Phil Harrison said in his blog post that the technology underlying Stadia has clear applications across YouTube, Google Play, and its expanding AR efforts.
The exact form this technology will take is currently unclear, but we know it will no longer be used to power the Google cloud gaming platform from January 18, 2023.