Google Stadia is to close. Just three years after its launch, Google’s big bet on cloud gaming will cease operations on January 18, 2023.
His quick demise is not a complete shock. Despite Google’s extravagant efforts to build hype around the service it called the “future of gaming,” the company’s grand plan was always missing one key element: video games. Google was unable to release any original titles for Stadia, instead relying on third-party games to attract players, an expensive undertaking that, according to BloombergGoogle spent tens of millions of dollars on each port. No flashy launches to brag about, Google reportedly approached companies like Peloton and Bungie about white-label deals for its streaming technology.
Google’s plan to stop the service has been rumored since July, when the now-suspended Twitter account killed by google it was speculated that Stadia would be finished for the end of the summer. At the time, the official Stadia Twitter account stepped back a bit stating that “Stadia is not shutting down”. Two months later, that is exactly what is happening.
When news of Stadia’s demise broke, it was unclear how many employees or even partners knew about it in advance. “We just learned of Stadia’s shutdown and have begun conversations about next steps for our players,” a Bungie moderator wrote on the website. destination forums. In Reddit, a Stadia community manager was responding to posts about a new UI being “rolled out slowly,” baffling those who heard about the shutdown. Stadia Vice President and General Manager Phil Harrison said today in a blog post that “many of the Stadia team members will carry this work forward in other parts of the company,” without providing further details.
At launch, Google was confident that Stadia could revolutionize an industry in which it had little to no experience. In March 2019, the company announced that it would be creating its own in-house studio to work on original projects. That effort was led by industry titan Jade Raymond. Raymond, founder of Ubisoft Toronto and Electronic Arts’ Motive Studio, as well as a vice president at Google, didn’t last long. In February 2021, Google had supposedly canceled multiple projects, closed two of its studios in Montreal and Los Angeles, and laid off about 150 people. Raymond left the company as part of the transition and started working at a new studio, Haven. At least helped a dozen the employees followed her.
Stadia never recovered. Announcing its closure today, Harrison said that while Stadia was built on “a strong technological foundation,” it had not “gained traction with users.” It’s an expensive and embarrassing failure for Google, which will also refund the cost of every piece of hardware purchased through its store, as well as games and add-ons purchased through the Stadia store. The “majority” of those refunds, Harrison said, should be in mid-January.
The company’s focus now seems to be on the technology that powered Stadia, rather than the games themselves. Harrison said that Google sees “clear opportunities to apply this technology in other parts of Google,” such as in YouTube, Google Play and in augmented reality projects. Harrison also said the technology behind Stadia would be available to “industry partners,” adding that he still believed cloud gaming was the future. “We remain deeply committed to gaming,” Harrison said in announcing Stadia’s demise. It’s a hard promise to believe. Stadia was once the future of gaming. Now, it is the past.