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World’s least surprising news ever: Google is shutting down Stadia

Google Stadia

What a shocking development (pic: Google)

Everyone knew it would happen almost as soon as it was announced, and now it’s been confirmed: Google is ending streaming service Stadia.

It used to be that games companies lived in fear of what would happen if a giant corporation suddenly decided to get involved in gaming, but with the exception of Microsoft it usually ends up as a complete disaster.

Google announced streaming service Stadia in 2019, amongst a fanfare of publicity and talk of features that never materialised. Its biggest problem though was that instead of being the ‘Netflix of gaming’ it turned out to be just an expensive shop front, where you paid full price for games that could only be played via streaming.

Although publisher support was okay at first it quickly fell away and this month’s new FIFA 23 is one of the few big name games still coming to the service on day one.

The good news is that Stadia is promising to refund all hardware purchases (the bespoke controller and, presumably, Chromecast digital media players) through the Google Store, as well as all games and DLC content.

If that seems unexpectedly generous the reason is obvious: once the service is shut down then all the games you’ve paid for will be completely inaccessible.

That access will continue only until January 18, 2023 after which the entire service will be shuttered.

‘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,’ said general manager (and former PlayStation frontman) Phill Harrison.

On the Stadia blog, he indicates that staff will continue to work on the technology in other parts of the company, adding: ‘We see clear opportunities to apply this technology across other parts of Google like YouTube, Google Play, and our Augmented Reality (AR) efforts — as well as make it available to our industry partners, which aligns with where we see the future of gaming headed.’

‘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.’

In other words, they intend on licensing out the technology to other companies, including presumably game publishers.

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