Google said it would shut down video game streaming service Stadia, its answer to Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation video game consoles, in another sign that Google Drive will be leaner amid fears of an economic slowdown.
Phil Harrison, Stadia’s vice president and general manager, wrote Thursday in the newspaper Stadia, which streams games online rather than ordering expensive consoles, will shut down on January 18. Blog post. The product debuted nearly three years ago, promising to revolutionize the way people play video games. But it failed to catch up with enough players.
“It hasn’t gained as much traction with users as we expected, so we’ve made the difficult decision to start winding down Stadia,” Harrison wrote.
Mr. Harrison wrote that Google will return all gaming hardware purchases made through the Google Store, as well as game purchases made in the Stadia Store. He said the company expects to complete most of the refunds by mid-January.
The company has already begun selling Stadia’s core streaming technology to other companies, and said it expects that many Stadia team members “will continue this work in other parts of the company.” In February 2021, Google close Stadia’s in-house game studio, which was set up to create new titles, sparked fears that the entire service might one day disappear.
Stadia is the latest product to come out killed by google. The company is set to shut down Hangouts, its messaging app, in November. And YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, announced in January that it would stop creating original content.
Amid rising inflation and concerns about economic instability, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has started what he calls a “Simplicity Sprint,” an effort to improve business efficiency and cut unnecessary expenses. company recently cut off financing and jobs in the Indoor Technology Incubator, District 120, and has canceled Non-essential business travel.
Mark Rodriguez, chief operating officer of VoxPop Games, said in an interview that he had mixed feelings about Google’s decision to terminate the service because his company shared Stadia’s challenges, including competition with gaming giants Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, and with gamers’ established habits.
VoxPop CEO Charles Yu added, “Hardcore gamers say, ‘Well, I already have the hardware, and I’m used to using this service,’ so they don’t adopt, even if there’s new technology.”
The planned shutdown was a disappointment for those who used Stadia frequently.
“A lot of people like me feel betrayed,” said John Jameson, 36, of Lyman, South Carolina, adding that he felt “every emotion from anger to just feeling bad for the staff” who worked there.
Mr. Jameson, who has lived on long-term disability insurance since his car accident 10 years ago, said he played games like Assassin’s Creed on Stadia every day, “looking for an escape when I’m not working out.”
For Gabe Meyer, 37, of Linthicum, Md., Stadia was a family affair. He’s spent $1,000 on games and consoles since the start of the service, and said he loves Stadia because his kids can play on his phone or tablet while the adults watch TV. He said that his young daughters enjoy playing Pikuniku and that he has had his own weekly play sessions.
Mr. Meyer, who owns an Android phone and uses several Google products, said in an interview that the looming Stadia expiration was “very disappointing”.
“It tends to fall into Google’s worst imaginings, which is that they are quick to innovate and quick to dump the baby with the bath water,” he said. “The people who hurt them the most are the people who are most committed to the brand.”
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