Google shutting down Stadia gaming platform after just three years
Image credit: Dreamstime
Google has confirmed that it will shut down its Stadia gaming service early next year as it hasn’t “gained the traction with users” that it expected.
Stadia is a cloud gaming service first launched in 2019 that is operated by Google and is accessible through Chromecast Ultra and Android TV devices.
Rather than running games on the device itself, like traditional home consoles, they run on one of the company's numerous data centres and stream the game’s video and audio feed back to the user.
This requires a very low latency internet connection for the games to feel smooth and responsive on the user’s end, something which Google cannot guarantee for every user.
“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,” Google’s Stadia VP Phil Harrison said in a blog post.
“The underlying technology platform that powers Stadia has been proven at scale and transcends gaming. 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.”
Google added that it plans to refund all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store, and all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store.
Players will continue to have access to their games library and be able to play until 18 January 2023 so they can complete final play sessions.
Stadia has been facing increasing competition in the game streaming space since its launch from more established platforms like Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation.
Both platforms have recently introduced game streaming to supplement traditional on-console play as it can allow less powerful devices such as smartphones and older generation consoles to play current generation titles.
As far back as last year, early signs that the platform may not be thriving emerged with a report suggesting it had deprioritised the consumer-facing side of the Stadia business in favour of selling the underlying streaming tech to third parties.
“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,” Harrison added.
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