To the surprise of the gaming community, Google just announced that it is shutting down its game streaming service Stadia after three years of operation.
Of course, it takes time for Google to shut down its operations, so Stadia will continue to be available for use until 18 January 2023.
Google Stadia is a subscription-based game streaming platform that offers unique features like 4K resolution, HDR colour and 5.1 surround sound audio.
The excellent specs for game immersion sounds like an absolute fantasy to avid gamers.
Reasons For Its Shut Down
In the statement, Google’s Vice President and General Manager of Stadia, Phil Harrison related that Stadia has not “gained the traction with users that we expected”.
Reports from early 2021 indicated that Stadia missed its user targets by hundreds and thousands.
In simpler terms, Stadia did not match up to its potentials and it was making huge losses instead of profits.
From a gamer’s honest point-of-view, Stadia’s main appeal lies in its cloud storage.
Since Stadia is a cloud gaming platform, it means that gamers won’t have to download the game – which can be very memory-intensive and may take a lot of time, depending on broadband speeds –and you can play immediately upon purchase.
But the number of games on Stadia cannot compare to giants like Steam or Epic Game Store, which has hundreds of titles.
Sure, Stadia offers a subscription-based service, Stadia Pro, which allows subscribers to add a few free games per month to their libraries, kind of like Playstation Plus and Xbox Live Gold, but again, Stadia cannot compare in terms of their range of games or unique titles.
Playstation 5 has exclusive games like Persona 5, Street Fighter 5, Uncharted and Ghost of Tsushima.
Xbox has exclusives such as Halo, Sea of Thieves, Psychonauts, and Ori and The Will of the Wisps.
Exclusive games that will make people want to own a console system and subscribe to the platform just for the sake of getting access to those games.
On the other hand, there are only a handful of titles unique to Stadia, and they are not well-known among the gaming community at all.
Google’s attempt at a “Netflix for Games” simply… flopped.
It isn’t feasible to replicate the Netflix movie and TV series model on the gaming industry.
Case in point: gamers still have to purchase the game titles individually, unlike Netflix where watchers have access to a whole array of movies for a reasonable fee.
After taking into account the limited titles and perks that Stadia has to offer, it just makes more sense for gamers to stick to the older platforms that have bigger and better stores if they still need to pay the original price for the games anyway.
The Refund Policy
All purchases made through the Google Store, including hardware and games, will be refunded in full.
However, if you bought the Stadia hardware from physical retailers like Best Buy, they are not eligible for refund.
Google will not be refunding the costs of Stadia Pro subscriptions.
Having said that, if you are an active Stadia Pro member when the announcement was made, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of Stadia Pro for free until the platform’s final shutdown date.
The process of the refunds should be completed by mid-January.
If you placed any game pre-orders on Stadia, they will not be charged to your account.
(Random hot take: game pre-orders are stupid.)
Employees Were Informed Minutes Before Public Announcement
The news came as a shock for Google Stadia employees.
Apparently, the Stadia received an email about a meeting at 7am.
The following email was shared on Reddit by an anonymous user:
We’ll be having a Stadia team meeting today, September 29th at 8:30 AM PT to share some important updates with everyone. Apologies for the short notice — we would appreciate it if you can please prioritise attending this meeting, or check in with your manager afterwards if you can’t make it. Details have been added to your calendars. This will be a virtual-only meeting, so please feel free to join from wherever you’re working today.
Multiple sources have revealed that the meeting, which was held 45 minutes before the public announcement, was when employees were told about the shutdown.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Hanson has done something like this.
After the first-party games released by Stadia Games and Entertainment division did badly in sales, Hanson also held a meeting about its imminent shutdown minutes before the announcement went public.
It is unclear what will become of the Stadia employees within Google.
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Featured Image: Google