Google has announced that it will discontinue its Stadia cloud gaming service at the beginning of next year. Stadia was not able to meet the high expectations. Users can get refunds.
Expectations did not come true
Google Director Phil Harrison justified the decision to discontinue the cloud gaming service by saying that Google’s expectations for the project were not met. Stadia was announced in 2019 as a revolution in the gaming market. Thus, the service should not only enable games from anywhere with the best quality, but also pave the way for completely new gaming experiences. To this end, Google has established its own development studio, which is headed by Jade Raymond and Shannon Studstill. Here, the right games were developed for Stadia that would exploit the full resources of the cloud: the promises were huge multiplayer worlds and gameplay accessible to everyone.
The development studio had already closed in February 2021, and this was a clear signal: big ambitions can hardly be achieved. Still, Stadia kept running — albeit on the back burner. New games were rarely added, and central functions were not further developed. And so the end of the project had been foreseen for some time. In August there were the first rumors. Now it is official.
However, the failure of the project cannot be attributed to technology. Stadia was and still is considered exceptionally strong from a technical point of view. The biggest problem was the small number of games on offer, which could only attract a few interested parties. Thus Google primarily made market-related errors, but not technical errors.
Stadia technology will continue to be used
Against this backdrop, it seems clear that the technology behind the service with Stadia has not been abandoned. Instead, it will continue to be used and made commercially viable. It is used both internally and externally. The project has already been proven successful: Stadia architecture was used in Cyberpunk 2077.
Related to this is the fact that the exit of Stadia does not mean the termination of service for all employees of the department. A large portion of the employees who were previously involved with Stadia are moving internally.
Refunds are possible
Those who have used Stadia so far can get back part of the money invested in it. Google has announced its intention to refund all costs of Stadia hardware as well as games purchased through Stadia. Most games will continue to run until January 2023. However, they will become inaccessible when the service is stopped. Subscription costs for the service will not be refunded. More information can be found in the FAQ posted by Google on this topic.