Google has confirmed that it will shut down its cloud gaming service, Stadia, after three years of operation. Users who have subscribed will still be able to access the games for the next three months or so until the library shuts down for good on January 18.
The company said in their blog post that they will be refunding all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store, and all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia Store.
Google launched Stadia in an attempt to compete with the major video game consoles.
They didn’t actually produce a console of their own. Instead, they created a platform where users could play games on their Android phones and Chromecast apps by funneling data directly from its server clusters.
Why is Google Stadia shutting down?
The subscription cost $10 a month, but the service did not gain the kind of traction they expected.
Despite the platform generally receiving good reviews, its sparse membership was not nearly enough to carry it through against competitors like Sony and Microsoft who offered the same first-party content.
The high game cost was also met with backlash, considering the average user didn’t feel like they actually owned them as they were stored on the cloud.
In February last year, they shut down their internal development studio, Google Stadia Games and Entertainment, which was created to bring exclusive first-party titles to the platform.
They tried to quell the rumors that the platform wasn’t doing well, but eventually, it all turned out to be a bust.
What’s next for cloud gaming?
Phil Harrison, Stadia’s VP and General Manager said that the company will “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.”
Harrison also believes there are opportunities to apply this technology to other parts of Google like YouTube, Google Play, and Augmented Reality (AR), and can be made available to their industry partners as well.
He said, “The underlying technology platform that powers Stadia has been proven at scale and transcends gaming.”