Google Stadia is heading into the sunset. In an announcement, Google says it will kill off its cloud gaming platform and related hardware. Although, it will remain around for a few more months before it shuts permanently in January 2023.
While this is a blow to anybody who uses Google Stadia, it will barely make a ripple for everyone else. Launched in November 2019, Stadia was positioned as a rival to Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming (then Project xCloud).
While it overcame early problems with performance, Google Stadia never did present a real challenge to Xbox Cloud Gaming. Of course, Microsoft's service is the Xbox Game Pass model driving it, which helps.
Google's challenge was needing to back up the Stadia streaming service with hardware. In a blog post announcing the closure of the brand, Stadia General Manager, Phil Harrison, explains that Google is phasing out the service.
The company says it will refund all hardware customers bought from the Play Store. Furthermore, Google will also refund games and add-ons bought through the official channel. So, if you recently dropped $50 on a game and an extra $20 on add-ons, Google will refund you when Stadia goes dark.
Harrison is honest enough about Google's reasons for closing the service… it is simply not growing:
“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.”
Google tries to gloss over the fact it is closing an entire gaming hardware and software business by saying it remains committed to gaming through YouTube and other services.
“We remain deeply committed to gaming, and we will continue to invest in new tools, technologies and platforms that power the success of developers, industry partners, cloud customers and creators,” adds Harrison.
Even so, it is hard to ignore that this is a major loss on the company's part if it is serious about gaming.
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