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Google gives up on Stadia, will offer refunds on games and hardware

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As expected for some time now, Google has decided to call it quits on their cloud gaming service Stadia. This was announced in a blog post today.

Written up by Phil Harrison, the Vice President and General Manager at Stadia, the post mentions how "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".

The wildest part about this, is that they're going to be refunding all Stadia hardware purchases made through the main Google Store and they will also be refunding all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store. Harrison said they expect to have finished up the majority of refunds by Mid-January, 2023. They will not be refunding any Stadia Pro subscriptions though, only the full purchases. More info on the process here but it seems like it's not ready yet.

Players will still be able to access and play games on Stadia through until January 18, 2023.

In the post Harrison mention how the "underlying technology platform that powers Stadia has been proven at scale and transcends gaming" and they see "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" so it seems they will continue to offer it to others to use.

This is a pretty huge defeat for Google to give up and refund wholly like this. With the likes of GeForce NOW, Xbox Cloud and Amazon Luna — the business model that Google had with you needing to buy full-price games was pretty much doomed.

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CyborgZeta 30 Sep, 2022
I wish all Cloud gaming would die.

Call me a dinosaur, insult me, whatever. I don't care. I will never accept streaming games from someone else's hardware, in addition to the "always online" mandate. People who mandate an Internet connection are people who've never had to deal with a spotty connection.
ZeroPointEnergy 30 Sep, 2022
What happens to all the google-negative-latency-AI-super-tech now?
Mohandevir 30 Sep, 2022
In not so long, Valve will start it's own optional cloud service, based on SteamOS and using the infrastructure of Google Stadia. It will come preinstalled on all Chromebooks...

Just a wild idea, that may never happen.
Liam Dawe 30 Sep, 2022
Quoting: CyborgZetaI wish all Cloud gaming would die.

Call me a dinosaur, insult me, whatever. I don't care. I will never accept streaming games from someone else's hardware, in addition to the "always online" mandate. People who mandate an Internet connection are people who've never had to deal with a spotty connection.
I don't, I hope it continues to succeed. It opens up gaming to more people in various ways from not having to buy expensive hardware, to saving on domestic energy bills because it requires so little power. It's just that Google's business plan was terrible.
Klaas 30 Sep, 2022
Quoting: Liam Daweto saving on domestic energy bills because it requires so little power
But it requires a lot more power everywhere else, so it should be avoided at all costs. Huge amounts of data shuffled around requiring low latency. Generally speaking streaming and cryptocurrencies are a huge environmental problem.

I would even say that it excludes so many people because of bad internet connections that if it would be successful enough to cause a shift from locally played games, it might close gaming possibilities for most people.
Whitewolfe80 30 Sep, 2022
Quoting: pb
Quoting: Whitewolfe80Okay help me out here not being douchy why did you like a service where you have to pay to get the hardware pay to be a member then actually buy the game with craptastic prices

Oh wow, so many misconceptions here!

1. I didn't have to pay for the hardware, I play it in Chrome browser. Keyboard+mouse or any controller. I have also configured it on SteamDeck and it works seamlessly.

2. I didn't have to pay for the subscription. I could play all the games I purchased and then some free ones like Destiny 2. I could also subscribe to get 4k and whatnot, plus lots of free games. But since I prefer a certain set of games and don't really play on a 4k tv, it didn't appeal to me

3. If you treat it as just another platform, it's obvious that you need to buy games to play on it. That said, I mostly bought games that I did not have on other platforms and/or were not released on Steam, so I wasn't doublespending.

4. What about the prices? The games went for pennies on sales, you can check the price history here: (bad interface, but hopefully doable) and there were even deeper discounts for pro members. Anecdotally, when Stadia launched I got a free month of Pro which also gave me a $10 dollar coupon and at the same time they had Borderlands 3 Ultimate for $10,49 or something like that, so I got it basically for free. To keep.

Interesting but the last time I paid for a game was 2016 ISH I have Xbox game pass and have collected every free game from epic steam etc
Liam Dawe 30 Sep, 2022
Quoting: KlaasBut it requires a lot more power everywhere else, so it should be avoided at all costs.
It's a nice way to think, but like people who argue against capitalistic ways all the time, it's just not grounded in the reality of how we all live our lives. Should I care about how much energy servers on everything I use cost the planet? Yes. Do I? Not really, I'm just trying to survive and keep costs low like everyone else.
BielFPs 30 Sep, 2022
Quoting: slaapliedjeAnyone who knows anything about Google pretty much knew it. They try to diversify their businesses, but they almost always end up giving up on them and going back to 'give us data to sell ads to'
Maybe nowadays yes, but back then Stadia was still in beta and most of user were excited about the brand new Read Dead Redemption 2 support

Also kudos for @YoRHa-2B who apparently also saw that coming
STiAT 30 Sep, 2022
Quoting: MohandevirIt would be really nice of them to "turn on" the standard bluetooth pairing for the Stadia controller, so we may use it elsewhere, wireless... It could make a fantastic AndroidTV controller for GeForce Now...

I thought that was a hardware limitation not just a limitation by the firmware.

Would be nice, I really like the controller.
pleasereadthemanual 30 Sep, 2022
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I would never use a cloud streaming service or recommend that someone use such a service. However, there is no ethical difference between an online-only multiplayer-only game and a cloud streaming service. Practically, there is a difference in delivery. However, as a user, you have the same level of power over the software. Online-only multiplayer-only games are already a service and can (and will) be taken away from you at any time, for any reason—but most likely the company loses interest or goes bankrupt.

There is an ethical (and practical) difference between singleplayer games which are delivered through a streaming service and those that are delivered through a binary executable. You would likely have far more control over the executable than the streaming service. However, consider if the singleplayer game is encumbered by DRM and require activation to continue playing. It could also prevent you from making any modifications which could improve the experience (e.g. linking up a texthooker to learn a language for a visual novel). The amount of control you have over the game is the same, then.

Johren's DRM, which limits you to three activations (so three different devices) would be inferior to a streaming service you can access from anywhere, so long as it's the only place you're playing it. Furthermore, there are games encumbered by Denuvo DRM which require you to always be online in any case to play the game, balancing the ethical scales. Then, there's maximum-privileged anti-cheat watchdogs, which you might be forced to install even for a singleplayer game, which you wouldn't need to do for a cloud streaming service.

So there is an ethical difference between cloud services, encumbered binaries, and unencumbered binaries. However, even if the developer does not prevent you from modifying the game, they are not being helpful. It would be more ethical if the sources for the game were published under terms that permit you to inspect, modify and distribute it, granting you and any other customer absolute power over the game.

It's a pity the ugly compromises customers are left to make in this industry, depending on what they believe is most important. If I chose to read only those Japanese visual novels not encumbered by DRM, I'd run out of reading material quite quickly. Historically, gamers have always been the demographic most accepting of being treated poorly by a company if they can still manage to use their product (Adobe customers come a close second). Unfortunately, I am no exception.

Last edited by pleasereadthemanual on 30 September 2022 at 3:55 pm UTC
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