Google Stadia Shutting Down, but Google Will Offer Refunds

Google Stadia Shutting Down, but Google Will Offer Refunds


Google has announced that its cloud streaming service, Stadia, will be shutting down in January 2023. When it goes, anyone who purchased the full-priced versions of games on the service will be unable to access their save files or, indeed, the games they bought. This news didn’t surprise many people, as Google has a habit of trying expensive, experimental new products and then unceremoniously killing them a short few years later.

Strangely enough, Google is also offering some much-appreciated refunds for Stadia users. Those who bought Stadia hardware through Google’s site or purchased games for the Stadia service will be given full refunds for their purchases, a move that many fans were extremely pleased to see. Had Google shown enough confidence in Stadia to commit to full refunds before launching the service, it could have paradoxically led to higher sales and prevented the company from needing to ever shut Stadia down in the first place.

What Happened to Stadia?

Stadia was a short-lived, seemingly ill-advised service that Google launched in 2019 to a mild response. The software that users could play through the service was solid–games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 played well and acted responsive, provided that users had lightning-fast internet connections. 

However, Google made the misstep of charging full price for games on the service. Unlike other streaming services like Game Pass or Sony’s PlayStation Plus, which charge a subscription fee to allow users to access a wide library of games, Stadia instead functioned as a storefront like Steam. Many gamers chafed at the idea of buying full-priced games they could only stream, no matter how robust that streaming service would be.

What’s Next?

When the service shuts down in January, Google plans to distribute full refunds to people who purchased Stadia games and hardware. The company will announce more details on this process later, but it sounds like customers won’t need to do anything to get their money back. While the closure of the service is a letdown for fans, at least they’ll be able to purchase any games they’re losing using the refunded money Google is sending them.

There are other ways to stream games without using Google’s service, too. Steam has a service called Steamlink that allows users to stream games from their home computer to other devices. Xbox’s aforementioned Game Pass has a streaming service element, one of Microsoft’s many cloud endeavors.