Google is closing the curtains on its video game streaming service, Stadia. The competition was fierce. Here are details of what happened to Stadia.
A recent blog post penned by Phil Harrison, Stadia’s Vice President and General Manager, confirmed the impending closure of Google’s cloud gaming service. Harrison showed the company’s appreciation to the dedicated players that showed their loyalty to the company from when they started. Together with the confirmation of the closure of the cloud gaming service, Harrison also mentioned that they “expect to have the majority of refunds completed by mid-January, 2023.”
Stadia was publicly launched back on November 19, 2019, in select countries. It was Google’s answer to the expanding universe of cloud streaming services. It pitted against PlayStation Plus, Amazon’s Luna, and Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming, to name a few of the competitions.
The rise and fall of Google Stadia
“A few years ago, we also launched a consumer gaming service, Stadia. And 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.”Phil Harrison, Vice President and General Manager, Stadia
Originally named Project Stream, a blog post in October of 2018 from Google announced their interest in entering the cloud gaming industry. Back then, they partnered with “Ubisoft to stream their soon-to-be released Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.” They promised games that required no downloads and no updates. Google called it “the ultimate membership.” They offered video game streaming for PCs, laptops, and mobile devices. They went as far as enticing players to a Stadia Controller and Google Chromecast Ultra.
Back in July of last year, Google took temporary measures to attract more developers to their platform by cutting Stadia revenue shares to 15%. That is when the company implemented an 85/15 revenue split for new games. A condition stipulated in this agreement was that the rate would only apply to the first $3 million in sales. The revenue split started in October of last year.
Another step Google took last year was the introduction of Stadia Pro. This allowed users to play games from a library in exchange for a monthly subscription fee. The company even gave an incentive to the developers who partnered with Google by giving them $10 for each new user converted to a paid subscriber.
Months before this official statement from the company, an article from The Economic Times was posted entitled “Google denies shutting down its cloud gaming service Stadia.” This foreshadowed the demise of the video game streaming service. It started with a rumor from the inside, which later found itself in the claws of various social media platforms.
According to the same blog post from Google, “Players will continue to have access to their games library and play through January 18, 2023, so they can complete final play sessions. We expect to have the majority of refunds completed by mid-January 2023.”
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This is not looking good for Google. This seems to be a case of history repeating itself as almost the same scenario happened to Google Play Music. The website for this Google exclusive has been moved to YouTube Music. When the music platform was in the same business situation, there were also multiple strategies implemented by Google to save the company’s white elephant. Google Play Music was shut down on December 3, 2020, and was replaced by YouTube Music and Google Podcasts.