Google pulls plug on gaming service Stadia

Streaming service did not get the traction Google expected

It came in with a bang but Google’s Stadia gaming service is going out with a whimper, as the tech giant announced it would shutter the service amid ongoing cost cutting.

Google axed the streaming gaming product three years after it was introduced as the next revolution in gaming, allowing gamers to play the latest games without needing expensive gaming equipment.

Subscribers will be refunded for hardware purchases made through the Google Store, and all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store, with refunds expected to be completed by mid-January. Players will have access to their games library until January 18th.

“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, Stadia’s vice president and general, said in a blog post.


The closure of the service shouldn’t come as a massive shock. Stadia’s future looked shaky last year when the company shut down its internal games development team, saying it would instead concentrate on working with third-party developers.

But Google said the underlying technology had been proven, and “transcends gaming”, so it could pop up in another Google project down the road.

“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,” Mr Harrison said. “We remain deeply committed to gaming, and we will continue to invest in new tools, technologies and platforms that power the success of developers, industry partners, cloud customers and creators.”

Stadia joins the growing number of products services the company has tried and abandoned in recent years. The consumer version of its Facebook rival, Google+, was shut down in April 2019. The company had already discontinued a different social network, Orkut, after it failed to take off in the US.

Then there was Loon, a service that used high-altitude balloons to bring internet services to remote parts of the world. That was killed off in early 2021.

Google had high hopes for messaging app Allo, but not even its virtual assistant could save it and Google ended support for it in March 2019, joining previous ventures such as Wave and Reader. And who could forget Google Glass, which faltered as a consumer focused wearable computer but still exists for enterprise users.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist