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Google is shutting down its gaming service Stadia, giving out refunds

The cloud streaming service just didn't gain traction with users the way Google expected it to.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer
Image: Google

Just three years after its launch, Google is shutting down its streaming game service Stadia. The platform "hasn't gained the traction with users that we expected," Stadia GM Phil Harrison noted in a blog post. 

If you purchased any Stadia hardware through the Google Store, Google will offer you a refund. The same is true for all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store. The company expects to have the majority of refunds doled out by mid-January 2023. Players will be able to access their games library and play through January 18. 

The service's failure puts a dent in Google's broader efforts to tap into the lucrative gaming sector, which is sizable and growing. The industry should generate $196.8 billion in 2022, up by +2.1% year on year, according to research firm Newzoo, and it should reach $225.7 billion by 2025. The gaming market is "recession proof," Newzoo added, and should grow even in tough economic conditions. 

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Stadia had a rocky start when it was launched in 2019, and in 2021 it shifted away from in-house game development

At the same time, Google has recently broadened its efforts in gaming, with more focus on serving as a platform for third-party game publishers and developers. A year ago, the tech giant created a new executive role focused on Gaming Solutions, putting the sector on par with a handful of other key verticals, such as healthcare, retail and manufacturing.

While Stadia itself is shutting down, Harrison noted that the "underlying technology platform that powers Stadia has been proven at scale and transcends gaming."

He continued: "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."

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