It was all over town since Google closed down two Stadia-related studios in February 2021. Now, the moniker „Stadia“ itself follows, being put onto the graveyard with the #killedbygoogle-hashtag.
While the closure of the studios last February already fueled the rumors that Stadia was somehow done, the impact with 150 developers being affected was (still) large. Now, Google has officially announced what we all were - more or less - secretly expecting: Stadia - or at least the brand „Stadia“ - is indeed done and yet another service that is buried among the numerous masses of services Google seemingly lost the business-related interest in.
While Stadia’s approach was quite modern and I also enjoyed the concept behind it when testing the service last year, the competition with Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming or NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW seems to have beaten Stadia with its own weapons and either an own gaming catalog paired with streamable games (Xbox) or the streaming of already owned PC-games (GeForce NOW). While Google has invested lots of time, effort and money in building and developing platforms like Google Play and Google Play Games, Stadia - on paper - could have turned into a vanguard-service for game streaming but, in the final stages, everything turned out quite different.
Buying a controller with a Chromecast, attaching the latter device to a HDMI-port of your TV and starting the streaming-experience: Indeed the experience when first using Stadia last year (when everything was, obviously, in decline) was quite positive: Rare lags but, mainly, a good overall experience with games like „Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla“ fueled the idea that gaming isn’t tied to big consoles anymore. Depending on the publisher, save games were also cross-platform-functional so I could continue with the game on my Xbox Series X after having played with Stadia on my bedroom TV. The big con here: No external game libraries were supported and had to be purchased on the Stadia-store (again).
Fortunately, these investments will be refunded in terms of Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store and all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store. Once you bought your initial Stadia-kit somewhere else, you will be out of luck here. Current players will continue to have access to their games library and play through January 18, 2023 so they can complete final play sessions. According to Google’s Phil Harrison, Vice President and General Manager with Stadia, the company expects to have the majority of refunds completed by mid-January, 2023 and issues more details regarding this process on the official Help Center.
Although Google now admits that many Stadia-developers will carry their work onwards somewhere else in the company, a good idea has been put to the grave nevertheless and will disappear from the face of the (gaming) planet. Besides, the technology behind the consumer-based service Stadia will be somehow available under a white label and seemingly fuel other services like YouTube, Google Play and Augmented Reality (AR)-projects. Alas, the consumer side is yet another service Google lost its short-dated interest in and accompanies the approximately 273 other services which were killed by Google.
Stadia may be dead, but cloud gaming is still on the rise and will further evolve over the time - Xbox and GeForce NOW have already proven this and we’re still in the early days of these services so there is eligible hope for this technology anyway!
Rest In Peace, Stadia!