Google’s Stadia cloud service hasn’t made any headway for a long time – and will be closed in January. Stadia hardware and games are reimbursed.
Google is discontinuing its cloud gaming service Stadia: The streaming service has fallen short of expectations, Google manager Phil Harrison explains the step, which had already become apparent in the past few months.
The Stadia servers are scheduled to shut down on January 18, 2023, Harrison said. Until then, purchased titles should remain largely playable, according to an FAQ. After the deadline, they can no longer be played. However, Google wants to reimburse all costs for Stadia hardware and games purchased there in full. According to the FAQ, hardware products such as the Stadia controller do not have to be returned. The cost of the subscription itself will not be reimbursed.
In preparation for the end of the streaming service next January, Google has already deactivated the Stadia store. Games can no longer be bought again, and Google is now also blocking in-game transactions.
Ambition meets reality
Google announced Stadia in 2019 with great ambitions: As one of the first cloud gaming services, Stadia should not only enable gaming anywhere and anytime, but also open up new gaming experiences: a special one under the leadership of Jade Raymond (“Assassin’s Creed”) and The Google studio founded by Shannon Studstill (“God of War”) was to develop exclusive games with the power of the cloud: Google promised gigantic multiplayer worlds and barrier-free interaction.
But the Google studio was shut down in February last year, less than two years after the grand announcement. The end of its own development studio clearly signaled that Google’s ambitions with Stadia were completely missed. Since then, Stadia has been simmering at best on the back burner: new games have only rarely been added, and functions have not been significantly further developed.
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Stadia as a white label
As a subscription service, Google Stadia got off to a bad start and underperformed. Above all, there was a lack of games: Stadia’s technology is considered comparatively strong, but the selection of playable titles is small. The step to market the technology instead of the subscription in the future is therefore obvious.
Google now sees the future in the technology that works in the background of Stadia. The server technology proved its practicality in “Cyberpunk 2077”, among other things. It is to be used in other Google departments in the future, and many of the Stadia employees are also to change internally. Google also wants to market its cloud gaming technology to external companies – Google had already announced the move towards white label software in the spring.
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