Google to Shutdown Stadia Servers Today, Cloud Gaming Access to End After Four Years
Google is primed to shut down its Stadia servers today, following six months of notice. The California-based company will no longer be supporting its cloud gaming initiative after facing numerous challenges.
In September 2022, Google announced its plans to shutter Stadia. At the time, Phil Harrison, Vice President and General Manager, Stadia stated Stadia “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.” As a result, Stadia subscribers had the opportunity to request a refund on any software and Stadia hardware purchased through the Google Store.
Stadia’s subscription service was first launched in 2019. It was positioned to be Google’s solution to the budding cloud-based gaming space, competing with the likes of Nvidia’s GeForce Now, Amazon Luna, and Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming. With the exception of a Google-made controller, Stadia ran without the use of Stadia-branded hardware. Instead, Google’s gaming service could run via Chrome browser, Chromecast, Android devices, and the like.
Stadia found its way across the globe, offering cloud-based access to up to 4K visuals at up to 60FPS. However, its lack of software adoption, first-party developed support, and subscription model never resonated with the larger gaming audience. Back in 2020, nine months after Stadia’s global launch, I personally believed Stadia still felt like an early-access product. The software enabling cloud gaming access was “undeniably impressive” at the time. However, Stadia felt light on compelling features and lacked a catalogue that compelled me to make Stadia my home for AAA gaming. Although Stadia did provide a free tier to customers, many saw the monthly $11.99 CAD Stadia Pro to be hard to justify. This was a trend Google could not buck for the following years.
By the time Google announced it would be closing Stadia and its servers, the company had already shut down its internal studio to instead focus on business partnerships. In February 2022, the Stadia wing closed the doors to its studios located in Montreal and Los Angeles. As a result, an estimated 150 staff were affected. Famed developer Jade Raymond, former head of Google’s Stadia Games and Entertainment, went on to start her own Montreal-based game studio. Haven Studios was subsequently acquired by Sony before Raymond and her new team even formally announced its first project.
As Google intends to pull the plug on Stadia today, players still have a chance to prepare and ensure their progress is not lost in a number of AAA games. We’ve compiled a how-to guide to prepare for Stadia’s shutdown. This includes a list of publishers and games that have cross-progression enabled, allowing Stadia players to carry over their in-game saves, items, and more to other platforms if they wish.
Google Stadia’s servers will officially close today at 11:59 PM PT / 2:59 AM ET on January 19th.
Let us know how you’ll be commemorating the last day of Google Stadia. Do you have a Viking funeral planned?