Thursday, 30 Mar 2023

Google Is Shutting Stadia Down

Google's beleagured cloud gaming service is being shut down. Stadia will continue operating only for a few more months, with the cut-off point being January 18, 2023. Google intends to refund all Stadia hardware purchased via the Google Store as well as games and add-on content purchased from the Stadia store. These refunds will be completed in mid-January.

Reported by The Verge, Google's cloud gaming service has been a poor performer for some time. While it provided triple-A games such as Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 through the cloud, it wasn't able to sway consumers and never saw huge interest and uptake among gamers. Stadia could deliver well, notably offering decent performance for Cyberpunk 2077 when that title had its troubled launch, but just couldn't find traction among players as it competed against dominant players like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, not to mention mobile platforms.

"A few years ago, we also launched a consumer gaming service, Stadia," Stadia vice president and GM Phil Harrison wrote, in a blog post. "And 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 employees will be now move on to other parts of Alphabet, Google's parent company. But the tech developed for Stadia won't go to waste as parts of Stadia will be applied to Alphabet's other platforms, such as YouTube, Google Play, and its AR projects. While Stadia may be a bust, the games industry still sees cloud gaming as a growth area and Google intends Stadia tech to be made "available to our industry partners" as it "aligns" with where the company sees the future of gaming is headed.

Stadia launched only a few years ago, but Google has a habit of launching then shuttering platforms and services after being in operation for a relatively short time. Now, it will add Stadia to that list, but it will live on behind the scenes as cloud tech is set to continue as a growing presence in the games industry.

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