Google to shut down Stadia and offer refunds on games and hardware


Google is shutting down Stadia, its cloud streaming service for video games, given low adoption rates among users, the company announced on its news portal, The Keyword, on Thursday. Players will be able to access their Stadia game libraries until January 18, 2023.

“While Stadia’s approach to consumer game streaming has been built on a solid technology foundation, it hasn’t won the user success we hoped,” wrote Phil Harrison, vice president. and CEO of Google working on Stadia. “We have made the difficult decision to begin terminating our Stadia streaming service.”

Users who purchased hardware through the Google Store, as well as Stadia players who purchased games or add-on content, will be refunded, Harrison said. Google anticipates that the majority of refunds will be issued when the service closes.

When the service launched three years ago, it was criticized for input lag issues – even though the promise of playing a AAA shooter like ‘Destiny’ on a mobile device was genuinely appealing to many. many consumers. Our reviewer, Gene Park, described the tech as “unplayable at times, magical at others,” in a 2019 review.

Later that year, Park concluded that the service had improved. Yet at the time, the product was hard to recommend to anyone except early adopters of the technology.

The announcement represents a stark reversal of Google’s assurances just months ago about the future of Stadia. In July, a Stadia player on Twitter asked the company if it intended to shut down Stadia soon. Respondent of the official Twitter account of the service, Google unequivocally stated that “Stadia is not closing” and reiterated its commitment to supporting the service with more games. Apparently, Google would also invest a huge amount of resources to keep Stadia competitive. The tech giant has paid “tens of millions of dollars per game” to get top titles like “Red Dead Redemption 2” onto the platform, according to the Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier.

Sadly, Stadia will now be buried alongside over 200 other canceled projects in Google’s graveyard, such as its defunct social media company, Google Plus, and mobile virtual reality platform, Google Cardboard.

Joost van Dreunen, lecturer in games business at New York University Stern School of Business, said Google was “never fully committed” to Stadia and called its closure inevitable.

“The whole effort was doomed from its first announcement because Big Tech fears the game,” van Dreunen told The Washington Post. “Despite impressive infrastructure and deep pockets, the general lack of personality in Stadia’s offering was never going to get the traction needed to justify writing the big checks you need to successfully enter this market.

I tried the new PlayStation VR2. It’s immersive and comfortable to wear.

Stadia’s gradual expiration also comes at an ambivalent time for the future of portable cloud gaming. On September 28, Verizon unveiled the Razer Edge 5G, an Android handheld gaming device made in partnership with Razer and Qualcomm that can play games locally as well as stream them from a game console or directly from the cloud. A week earlier, Tencent and Logitech launched the Logitech G Cloud, which allows gamers to stream games from Xbox Game Pass and Nvidia GeForce Now. Valve’s Steam Deck portable gaming PC, which also supports cloud gaming, was released earlier this year to mixed reviews. Still, the device sold well enough for Valve to announce plans in June to double its weekly shipments from 10,000 to 20,000 units.

While Stadia will soon be dead, Harrison said the underlying technology will live on thanks to Google’s other projects.

“We see clear opportunities to apply this technology to other parts of Google like YouTube, Google Play and our augmented reality (AR) efforts – as well as making it available to our industry partners, which which fits the future of the game.” Harrison wrote. “We remain deeply committed to gaming and will continue to invest in new tools, technologies and platforms that fuel the success of developers, industry partners, cloud customers and creators.”

The cloud gaming market could become a lucrative business as host servers and wireless internet connections continue to improve. But van Dreunen thinks the death of Stadia could be a blow to the future of cloud gaming.

“Stadia’s demise casts a shadow over the rest of the cloud gaming category by alienating early adopters and calling into question what rivals like Amazon and Meta can really offer that is better or different,” van Dreunen said. .

Shannon Liao contributed to this report.


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