Why is Google shutting down Stadia?

It’s the end of an era and the death of an entire heavily-funded gaming platform. On Sept. 29, Google announced that it would be shutting down the Stadia service and servers, with everything set to go offline on Jan. 18, 2023.

Google will be offering refunds for various Stadia purchases. Players that purchased any hardware through the Google Store or software through the Stadia store will be eligible for refunds, even if the items were purchased on a payment method that’s not available anymore. Pro subscriptions cannot be refunded, but anyone who held an active Pro subscription before Sept. 29 will have full use of it at no additional cost until the servers are shut down.

The news has drawn a mixed bag of reactions, with some expressing little to no surprise towards the project’s end, while numerous devs working with Stadia have been caught off guard. But why is this happening?

Why is Google shutting down Stadia?

Simply put, straight from the Stadia developers themselves, there wasn’t a large enough user base to justify the costs.

“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,” Stadia VP and general manager Phil Harrison said.

The writing has been on the wall for some time. Stadia players only make up one percent of all Destiny 2 players, according to Destiny Tracker. Over the past year, Google has shut down some of its in-house developers making games for Stadia, and the amount of games released on the platform has gone down month to month. Just a week before the shutdown announcement, Logitech announced a new cloud gaming handheld device and did not mention Stadia at all.

The company reportedly spent “tens of millions” per individual titles like Assassin’s Creed and Red Dead Redemption 2. Unfortunately, that investment did not pay off.

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