Sep 29, 2022 - Technology

Google is shutting down its Stadia gaming service

Photo of a person's hand holding a white game controller. A kiosk with the word Stadia is in the background.

Photo: Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance via Getty Images

Google is shutting down its ambitious game-streaming service in January 2023, the company announced today.

Why it matters: What was once an intimidating entry of a tech giant to shake up the gaming industry has turned into yet another example of a project Google started then quickly killed.

Details: Google is offering full refunds to anyone who bought Stadia hardware, namely the service’s optional controller, or games on the service (but not for its Pro subscription plan).

  • It is cancelling pre-orders, zeroing out any future subscription fees and taking its gaming library offline after Jan. 18, 2023.

Between the lines: Launched in late 2019, Stadia was meant to disrupt the industry by creating a gaming platform built around streaming, freeing players from needing to buy a console or expensive PC as they could just grab a controller and stream games beamed to their TV, monitor or phone.

  • But with few exclusives and a daunting subscription model as its main offering, players were slow to try Stadia.
  • Microsoft also quickly emerged as a competitor, promoting a cloud-based way to play Xbox games as a no- or low-cost extra to its popular Game Pass subscription service.

What they're saying: "While Stadia's approach to streaming games for consumers was built on a strong technology foundation, it hasn't gained the traction with users that we expected, so we’ve made the difficult decision to begin winding down our Stadia streaming service," Stadia's GM Phil Harrison wrote in a blog post.

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