Google admitted failure in its quest to reshape the gaming business around the cloud on Thursday, announcing the closure of its Stadia games streaming service early next year.
When Google unveiled Stadia in 2019, it positioned it as a pioneer in a “cloud gaming” revolution. However, Stadia failed as most game publishers refused to make their best titles accessible on the platform, and users balked at paying a monthly membership price for a streaming service that offered few games they wanted to play.
The gaming withdrawal comes as Google is in the middle of a company-wide attempt to conserve money and concentrate its focus, closing marginal services and products and laying off employees. Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, has attempted to portray the layoffs as a demonstration of managerial discipline in the face of economic change.
Google and its parent company, Alphabet, have long been known on Wall Street for investing excess capital from the search engine on ambitious “moonshots” and other projects that have no influence on the main business.
Google, on the other hand, has a lengthy history of shutting down ambitious new projects as well as promising firms it buys. This history hampered Stadia from the outset, leaving Google trying to persuade both gaming businesses and users that it was in it for the long haul.
“While Stadia’s approach to streaming games for customers was built on a solid technological basis, it hasn’t acquired the momentum with users that we anticipated,” Stadia CEO Phil Harrison said in a blog post announcing the change.
Barely a year after launching Stadia, Google shut down the games studio it had founded at the same time to generate exclusive games, leaving the platform totally reliant on game developers’ support.
Google won high accolades from tech experts for the technology underpinning Stadia, which was supposed to broadcast games over the internet with the kind of resolution and reaction speed previously only accessible on a console. Users were still reliant on the quality of their “last mile” internet connections.
Ubisoft had been the sole business to support Stadia with its top games, and its decision earlier this month not to put the next installment of its blockbuster game Assassin’s Creed on the cloud service was widely seen as a hint that Stadia’s demise was imminent.
The technology built for streaming games, according to Harrison, will be utilized in other Google services, and the tech division will continue to help firms looking to broadcast games over the internet.
Google stated it will reimburse all Stadia store sales of hardware, games, and add-on material, with the service ending on January 18.