You get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!
-Willy Wonka describing when a thin client application shuts down
When the news hit yesterday that Google was shutting down Stadia, it wasn’t a moment of shock. I think it had been clear to most people who were paying attention… that being a rather small population… that Stadia’s days had been numbered for quite some time now.
I haven’t had much to say about Stadia since it was announced back in June of 2019. It wasn’t of much interest to me, and only got the mention it did due to the company backing it. I don’t think I wrote a single post devoted exclusively to Stadia. I covered its announcement and launch in bullet point posts and mentioned it in passing in a post about thin client applications.
I think the biggest deal I made about it was when somebody representing themselves as a big deal at Google was ranting on Twitter that streamers needed to be made to pay to stream video games. And the main mention of Google was them repudiating that statement. (Also, I see that the person in question did not delete that tweet, but also no longer works for Google. Whatever.)
So welcome to my first blog post devoted solely to Google Stadia.
At it heart it was another attempt to stream video games. The main difference was that Google wasn’t some start up, so wouldn’t fold the moment it became clear there wasn’t a huge market for what they were offering.
Of course, it being from Google meant that a good number of us simply expected it to join the ever growing graveyard of products killed by the company. Being shut down was always on the table.
I am frankly surprised Stadia lasted as long as it did. It never caught fire. (neither literally nor figuratively) I suspect that the pandemic, which was nature’s gift to video game studios, helped keep it going for as long as it did. But in the world of vaccines and a death rate low enough that we can pretend COVID isn’t a thing anymore (though I saw an anti-vaccine protest just last night in the middle of Silicon Valley) people are no longer feeling the need to stay home all the time.
Less binge watching. Fewer Doordash orders. Not as much time for video games.
The good news is that Google isn’t going away and isn’t going to play the Wonka card, no doubt from a desire to avoid getting sued, so it is offering refunds for a lot of things according to the shut down FAQ that they have posted.
We will be offering refunds for all Stadia hardware purchases (Stadia Controller, Founders Edition, Premiere Edition, and Play and Watch with Google TV packages) made through the Google Store and software transactions (games and add-on purchases) through the Stadia store. Stadia Pro subscriptions are not eligible for refund, however you will be able to continue playing your games in Pro without further charges until the final wind down date.
That is something, money back on all of your purchases… if you used the Google or Stadia store. You don’t get your subscription money back because that was a purchase allowing you access over a given time frame which you have already received.
So it goes.
I guess the most smug person today must be one Daniel Camilo, who wrote a post for Gamasurta, now Game Developer, back in September of 2019, before Stadia launched, explaining why he thought it was going to fail. And fail it did. We’ll have to wait for the post-mortem to see if he called it completely I suppose.
Expect one more Stadia post out of me on January 18th to confirm that it has in fact gone.
- Google – Stadia Announcement FAQ
- The Verge – Google is shutting down Stadia
- PC Gamer – Stadia is closing down in January, hardware and software purchases to be refunded
- Game Informer – Stadia Will Close In January, Google Issuing Refunds For All Hardware And Software Purchase
- MMO Fallout – Stadia is Dead, Another Dead Google Service