Such is the knock-on effect of gaming’s recent move away from physical media: Google will shut down Stadia, its beleaguered game streaming platform, in January 2023. In other words, if you’re a Stadia user, you effectively won’t be able to play any games. of Stadia that you have. But hey, at least you can get a refund!
It’s been a rough three years for Stadia, which Google first launched in 2019 to a mix of intrigue and skepticism. Stadia was intended to revolutionize the way we play games, allowing gamers to stream major video games without the need for a high-end console or PC. But an anemic game library and confusing pricing model limited its reach. As such, Stadia never took off like the competition: Microsoft’s Game Pass program or, more recently, Sony’s revamped PlayStation Plus membership, both of which include game streaming components.
In February 2021, Kotaku reported that Google was shutting down its in-house game development studios, a sign some industry observers considered the beginning of the end. (The seemingly staggering fees Google paid to get third-party games like red dead redemption 2 on Stadia didn’t help his reputation. Nor the procession of outgoing executives). This July, amid a wave of rumors about the impending closure of Stadia, Google sure fans, the service was going nowhere.
Of course, a move as significant as this raises key questions like, “Will I get a refund for my Stadia games?” (yes) and “Can I trust a tech giant with a long history of starting ambitious projects before abandoning them again?” (your call). Here is everything you need to know about the process.
When will Stadia close?
Stadia will be shut down for good January 18, 2023Google wrote in a blog post explaining the transition period.
How will I get refunds?
Google offers refunds for any Stadia purchase, be it video games, post-launch expansions, or physical hardware, made through the Google Store. And if the credit or debit card you initially used is no longer active, Google says it will email you at a later date to coordinate your refunds.
Most of the hardware, like the Stadia controller, which is, all things considered, a pretty solid gamepad, made directly through Google, won’t need to be physically returned. However, physical Google Store locations will not be able to process such requests, nor will other retailers that have sold Stadia products, such as Best Buy. For now, just keep whatever physical Stadia tech you have.
It’s unclear if refunds will be issued automatically. (“Offer” suggests that players will need to be proactive in getting refunds.) When contacted for comment, Google representatives redirected Polygon to Stadia boss Phil Harrison’s blog post announcing the shutdown.
Does that apply to Stadia Pro subscriptions?
No. That said, if you’re already registered, you’ll still be able to enjoy the benefits, i.e. “free” games, of an active subscription until Stadia’s end of life.
What will happen to my Stadia save data?
If a Stadia game supports cross-progression, such as Destiny 2 — will be able to make use of its internal cross-save systems. If not, sorry, you are SOL.
Should you buy microtransactions for Stadia games in the coming months?
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