Four years. That’s all it took for Google to make the long-rumored decision to shut down the company’s innovative streaming game service. Stadia VP and General Manager Phil Harrison took to the Google Blog just a bit ago to break the news to the world. While deep down, many of us were anticipating this day, it still comes as a gut punch to those of us who have rooted for Google to succeed in its cloud gaming endeavor. Here are a few words from Mr. Harrison on why this decision was made.
A few years ago, we also launched a consumer gaming service, Stadia. 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.Phil Harrison, VP & GM, Stadia
For now, the Stadia game service will continue as Google prepares for its total shutdown on January 18, 2023. In-store and in-game purchases have been disabled but purchased content and Stadia Pro content will be available to their respective users until the service is forever closed down in January. For those already asking the questions, yes, Google did address how it will handle the fact that many of us have made purchases that we will no longer be able to use. Here is the follow-up statement from the official Stadia Community website.
Stadia Community statement
- You will continue to have access to your games library through January 18, 2023 so you can complete final play sessions and move your progress to alternate platforms where possible.
- Commerce functionality (the ability to buy games, new subscriptions, add-ons or in-game purchases) on Stadia has now been disabled.
- Google will offer a full refund of all Stadia hardware purchases (Stadia Controller, Stadia Founder’s Edition, Stadia Premiere Edition, or Play and Watch with Google TV Package) made in the Google Store and all purchases of games and in-game transactions made in the Stadia Store.
- The refund process will take us some time to complete, and we expect to have the majority of refunds completed by the middle of January 2023. Please allow us until this time before contacting our support team regarding the status of your refund(s).
- Stadia Pro subscription payments will not be eligible for refund, but if you are an active subscriber, you will continue to have access to your library without charge during the shut-down period.
If you’re like me, you pre-ordered the Stadia Founder’s bundle but unfortunately, I no longer bank with the institution that I used to purchase all of my Stadia hardware and games. Well, Google was prepared for that scenario and already has a full support page set up to answer this and many other questions that many users are going to have when the service is sunsetted.
With the exception of monthly Stadia Pro subscription charges, Google will be issuing refunds for most hardware and software purchases. The company expects to have these completed by mid-January and Stadia users will receive emails on how to move forward with refunds. You can find the full FAQ on how this process is going to be handled on Google’s Support Page here. Additionally, current Stadia Pro subscribers will continue to have access to all of their Stadia Pro games through January with no additional subscription charges.
Our resident Game Guru, Michael Perrigo, has some in-depth thoughts on today’s announcement and will be sharing those tomorrow. While this news comes as a huge disappointment to us here at Chrome Unboxed, there’s more to this story and as always, there is a silver lining around the cloud. Stay tuned for Michael’s take on Stadia closing its doors. Read the full story of Stadia’s shutdown over on The Keyword.