Google recently announced that it is shutting down Stadia. Stadia was announced back in 2019 as the first game streaming service.
You wouldn’t have to download the games you wanted to play. You wouldn’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a gaming PC rig. You could just play your games on your phone or low-end laptop. Stadia was a service that I genuinely enjoyed, and it has so much potential that Google squandered at every turn because the higher-ups have no patience and no vision.
Stadia offered a lot of promise, and I am very sad to hear it is closing because it was a great product, and I am furious because it proves once again that Google is terrible to consumers.
In the blog post where Phil Harrison talks about the shutdown of Stadia, he throws the blame on the fact that Stadia “hasn’t gained the traction with users that we expected.” This is a weak excuse when Google did everything it could to make sure that Stadia was a flop. I have praised Stadia in the past because of the potential it had, but I was aware of the warning signs. It started up and acquired game-developing studios only to disband them within a very brief amount of time. They hired three key names to help run the project and then ousted two of them. Stadia launched without the key features it promised. It had a paltry library at launch. The business model of paying for a subscription and the full price of games was not attractive to customers (although it isn’t a terrible business model in my opinion). Google has a very strong track record of creating a service and then shutting it down after a couple of years (which it once again proves with Stadia). So please, Harrison, don’t blame consumers when really the problem is with the company.
Now, there is more important information to note. First, Harrison has stated that players will have access to their games library through January 18, 2023, so you can finish any play-throughs. Second, customers will be refunded for all hardware purchases through the Google Store as well as all games and add-on content purchases through the Stadia store. It is expected that the majority of refunds will be completed by mid-January 2023. The final piece of very important Stadia news to note is that while Google is shutting Stadia down as we know it, the technology will be used for other Google products and they’ll be looking to sell it to others in the industry.
Since Stadia launched, I’ve been convinced that video gaming is headed more and more to the cloud and this is another step towards that. We’ve seen Amazon launch its own cloud-based gaming service, Amazon Luna. Microsoft has introduced cloud gaming for Xbox. Many high-end games are launching on Nintendo Switch via cloud versions. We may not be able to use Stadia after January 18, 2023. However, we will probably continue to use Stadia in other ways and through other companies for many years to come.