Google is shutting down Stadia, its cloud-only gaming platform.
Stadia will remain in operation until January 18, 2023.
Google will be refunding purchases of Stadia hardware on the Google Store, and all game and add-on content made through the Stadia store.
The reason for the platform to be shut down? In the blog post by Stadia VP and General Manager Phil Harrison, he says that “it hasn’t gained the traction with users that we expected”.
First revealed in 2019, Google was betting big on making a console platform where there is no console- all the graphical rendering is done through servers.
The technology works, but having it be cloud-only inherently limits its growth potential as not every region in the world has access to the internet bandwidth required for the game streaming to work. Southeast Asia, for example, is left out.
The business model was a hard sell on the consumer side too. Stadia operates like a console platform, but with only digital games. And Google’s reputation for killing its many products and services in the past does not instil confidence among gamers. What would happen if you buy a Stadia game and the service shuts down? Which explains why Stadia is offering refunds.
The tech is sound, and competitors like PlayStation and Xbox use game streaming via the cloud as part of a subscription service (PlayStation Plus and Xbox Game Pass respectively).
The writing was on the wall for Stadia that despite early investing in their own first-party development studio, it all got shut down in 2021.
This should have surprised no one, almost every gamer but the loyal and steadfast Stadians have seen this coming, but it somehow did. The Stadia Twitter has more than once responded against allegations of the service shutting down in the past months via sassy tweets- so the decision was made rather recently.
And the news that Stadia shutting down has caught developers off-guard too, as they were never briefed on this ahead of time. PC Gamer compiled some of the responses by developers, including those that are about to ship their games to Stadia in the coming months.
Google says they “remain deeply committed to gaming, and we will continue to invest in new tools, technologies and platforms that power the success of developers, industry partners, cloud customers and creators”.