Google is shutting down Google Stadia and refunding everyone's money

Google Stadia
(Image credit: Google)

Google has announced that it is shutting down its game streaming service Google Stadia on January 18th, 2023.

For now, players will be able to access their Google Stadia game libraries, but come mid-January they'll lose access to those titles – though the Stadia controller should still work as a wired controller for non-Stadia PC games.

Thankfully, in the official blog post about the shutdown Phil Harrison, Google’s Vice President and General Manager of Stadia, said that Google will be "refunding all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store, and all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store."

Google says it expects to have the "majority" of refunds completed by mid-January, and it has released a page on its help center answering questions about how Stadia will work in its final months, and some details about the refund process. Full details haven't been issued yet, but Google has said it will provide more information about how players can get refunds in the coming weeks.

An expected shutdown

Google Stadia had what could generously be called a rocky start in November 2019, launching in early access without many of the best features that had been promised in promotional material for the service. These included most of its social and multiplayer features like achievements, Crowd Play – which would allow viewers to play with streamers they’re watching – and Family Sharing – which would let families share games.

Yet despite these setbacks, Google promised that it would continue to work on Stadia and make it a gaming platform that players would love as much as their console. 

Even as recently as July 29, 2022, Google told fans in a tweet that “Stadia is not shutting down” saying that it would continue to work on the platform and bring great games to it.

And over time Google did improve Stadia’s features adding many of the ones missing at its launch. On top of that, it added a few platform-exclusive games and expanded the Stadia library with third-party titles too.

But the improvements never quite went far enough to compete with its rivals in the game streaming space like Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Nvidia GeForce Now.

The first signs that Stadia was struggling came in February 2021 when Google shut down its in-house game development studios. The reasoning behind the move, according to Google, was to free up resources that would allow the company to develop the Google Stadia platform itself.

Now it looks like the whole platform is being shut down to free up resources for the rest of Google's projects. Stadia will apparently live on in some sense, though, with Phil Harrison saying in his blog post that the underlying technology behind Stadia has clear applications for YouTube, Google Play, and its expanding AR efforts.

Exactly what form this technology will take is currently unclear, but we do know that it'll no longer be used to power Google's cloud gaming platform come January 18, 2023.

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