Google Stadia To Shut Down Early Next Year

After almost three years of struggling to find a sizable enough audience, Google Stadia will be shutting down on January 18, 2023. The news came in a blog post from Phil Harrison, Vice President and General Manager for Stadia. Here’s a short breakdown, sans embellishments:

  • All Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store will be refunded.
  • All game and add-on content made through the Stadia store will also be refunded.
  • Players can still access their game library until January 18th.
  • There are plans to implement Stadia technology on YouTube, Google Play and their Augmented Reality projects, as well as make it available to the industry at large.

Stadia: A Short History

Stadia launched on November 19, 2019 promising to bring download-less, low-ping, high-resolution game streaming to basically almost every Google platform: Chromecast Ultra, Android TVs, Google Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers, Chromebooks and other devices running Chrome OS and Android phones. iOS support was added in December 2020, enabling the use of Stadia through the Safari browser.

The service did not face much criticism during its beta, with just a few minor technical issues being discussed at large. On launch, however, Stadia’s promise of streaming games at 4K resolution and 60FPS was broken for some games (such as Red Dead Redemption 2) and platforms (like Google Chrome). The biggest issue for most, though, was the comparably small catalog of games available to stream.

The hype fell of rather quickly, with gamers not sold on spending money for a service that doesn’t provide enough interesting titles, and big-name studios were wary to sign an exclusivity deal with the platform. Here’s a few Stadia exclusives you can expect to show up on other storefronts soon:

  • Outcasters
  • Wavetale
  • Young Souls
  • Gylt
  • Pixeljunk Raiders
  • Pac-Man: Mega Tunnel Battle
  • Hello Engineer

Every Year You Own Less

With Stadia’s imminent closure, this is a good time to discuss the digitalization of entertainment. Once the service shuts down, players will no longer have access to their game library, including the free games Stadia tossed every month (to claim ‘forever’). Stadia’s shutdown should serve as an early warning: More storefronts such as these will pop up in the future, and not all of them will be successful. With games moving away from the physical purchase model, always make sure you invest your money in entertainment purchases on well-established platforms. We can expect Steam and Epic Games Store to hang around for the foreseeable future.

This also applies for games-as-a-service titles. As Sylvanas Windrunner once said, ‘nothing lasts’, and that includes your World of Warcraft mount collection and your Hearthstone cards. We haven’t reached a point where the behemoth-tier GAAS have started to be replaced by the next wave of games, but that day is coming.

F’s in chat for Stadia. Did you use their service? How was you experience? Let us know in the comments below.