Google shuts down Stadia, its game streaming service. Will refund customers money spent

Google Stadia, the company’s game streaming service, has come to an end. The company has announced that it’s shutting down the Stadia game store and shutting down its streaming servers, and customers have little reason to worry about having supported the platform for the past few years. That’s because all purchases of Stadia hardware and software made through the Google Store will be refunded back to users.

Google Stadia closes in January

Google representatives, led by Phil Harrison (General Manager Stadia), have announced that the Stadia servers will be shut down on January 18, 2023. Customers will get their money back on games and Chromecast devices or controllers they bought directly from Google, but those who had active Pro subscriptions will not get their money back. The deadline for the refund is mid-January.

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Already the game store has been closed and you can no longer buy new titles on Stadia, and those with Pro subscriptions will be able to keep them without being charged until the end of service.

Stadia hasn’t “caught on” with the public in the few years it’s been up and running mainly because of the fear that Google could shut down the service at any time. The streaming service offered access to a virtual computer from a server, where you could play the latest titles without having to buy the hardware capable of running them. The problem was that the games had to be bought at full price and could not be accessed from other platforms. For example, you couldn’t play a title bought on Stadia locally even if you had compatible hardware. This kept many gamers away from the service.

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Big names like Microsoft, Sony and NVIDIA remain in the streaming market.

Nor does Google seem to have invested much effort beyond developing Stadia technology to popularise the service. Game releases were often delayed, game prices were quite high, and the Stadia store was the only place to buy games, so there was a monopoly on the store that kept prices up in the absence of competition.

Although it was one of the big players that jumped in first for game streaming services, Google is also among the first to leave the area. Solutions from Microsoft, Sony and NVIDIA seem to be having a bit more success, mainly due to the fact that games on their services can also be downloaded locally to play on compatible hardware.

Google says Stadia employees will be redeployed within the company and that technologies developed for the game streaming service will be integrated into other products, such as YouTube, Google Play and the augmented reality area.

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