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It's time to pour one out for Google Stadia

The game streaming service is shutting down today.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

January 18, 2023

2 Min Read
Google Stadia controllers on a table

This is the Google Stadia's last dance. The short-lived game streaming service is being shut down today after struggling to gain traction since launching four years ago.

It's been a few months since Google announced it would be laying Stadia to rest, with the company explaining the decision was made because the technology simply wasn't attracting users.

Google, however, also seemingly struggled to get its house in order and build a solid platform for success.

After debuting Stadia, the tech company opened multiple in-house studios in a bid to bolster its own first-party roster, but soon tossed them and multiple projects on the scrapheap to refocus Stadia as a technology platform.

It was a decision that prompted key talent such as Jade Raymond, who'd been brought in to head up the Stadia Games and Entertainment team and the now-shuttered Montreal studio, to depart the company after what ultimately proved to be a fairly brief stint.

Predictable, but not inevitable

Decisions like that left the platform with a mountain to climb, and Game Developer senior editor Bryant Francis has previously suggested that had Google not made a series of blunders in the post-launch era, Stadia might well have survived.

In an op-ed published last year, Francis said the Stadia team "managed to step on a never-ending series of rakes" after debuting the service at GDC 2019, with that comedy of errors eventually consigning the Stadia to an early grave despite the technology itself standing out as a major technical achievement.

Although Stadia's demise has been set in stone for months, there have been moments when the dark skies heralding the platform's end cleared to reveal glimmers of blue.

For instance, after owners petitioned Google to grant the Stadia controller a second lease on life, the company obliged, issuing a software update for the gamepad that'll ensure it will retain functionality as a bluetooth controller when Stadia itself has become a distant memory.

To thank fans for their support over the years, Google also pulled back the curtain on a little morsel called Worm Game, a "humble title" the dev team used to test many of Stadia's features while the project was still under wraps.

The farewell tour, however, is finally over. It's now time for Stadia to enter the pantheon of game industry misfires and misfits, leaving the rest of us to ponder that age old question: what if?

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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