Google has announced that it will discontinue its cloud gaming service Stadia at the beginning of next year. Stadia was never able to meet the high expectations. Users can receive refunds.
Expectations not met
Google manager Phil Harrison justified the decision to discontinue the cloud gaming service by saying that the expectations Google had for the project were not met. Stadia had been announced in 2019 as a revolution in the gaming market. Thus, the service should not only enable gaming from anywhere in the best quality, but also pave the way for completely new gaming experiences. To this end, Google founded its own development studio, which was headed by Jade Raymond and Shannon Studstill. Here, games suitable for Stadia that would exploit the full resources of the cloud were to be developed: Huge multiplayer worlds and accessible play for all were the promises.
The development studio was already closed in February 2021, which was a clear signal: The big ambitions could hardly be realized. Stadia, however, continued to run – albeit on the back burner. New games were rarely added, central functions were not further developed. The end of the project had thus been foreseeable for some time. In August there were first rumors. Now it is official.
However, the failure of the project cannot be attributed to the technology. Stadia was and still is considered to be technically exceptionally strong. The biggest problem was rather the low number of games on offer, which could only attract a few interested parties. Google thus primarily made market-related, but not technical, mistakes.
Stadia technology will continue to be used
Against this background, it seems obvious not to abandon the technology behind the service with Stadia. Rather, it will continue to be used and made commercially viable. It is to be used both internally and externally. The success of the project has already been proven: The Stadia architecture is used in the game Cyberpunk 2077.
Related to this is the fact that the Stadia exit does not mean termination for all employees of the division. A large part of the staff previously involved with Stadia is to move internally.
Refunds are possible
Those who have used Stadia so far can get a partial refund for the money invested in it. Google has announced its intention to refund all costs for Stadia hardware as well as for games purchased through Stadia. Most games will continue to be playable until January 2023. However, they will then become inaccessible when the service is discontinued. Subscription costs for the service will not be refunded. More information can be found in the FAQ that Google has published on the subject.