I think the comment at the end of this article about people being wary of Stadia because Google tends to shut down services is spot-on. I really liked Stadia, and bought five controllers which I either used within our family or gifted.
During the pandemic, I completed Sniper Elite 4 and all of the DLCs via Stadia. I bought FIFA 22 and Cyberpunk 2077 at full-price as I crossed my fingers behind my back hoping the service would survive.
Ultimately, being refunded for hardware purchases and games I bought is a win-win situation for me. I cancelled my Stadia Pro account earlier this year, dabbling first with Xbox Game Cloud via a Razer Kishi, then upgrading my PlayStation Plus account on the PS5, and more recently investing in a Steam Deck.
The good news is that the true Armageddon situation for Stadia customers is not happening. Google is issuing refunds, which will save dedicated Stadia players from potentially losing hundreds of dollars in unplayable games. The post says: “We will be refunding all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store, and all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store.” That notably excludes payments to the “Stadia Pro” subscription service, and you won’t get hardware refunds from non-Google Store purchases, but that’s a pretty good deal. Existing Pro users will be able to play, free of charge, from now until the shutdown date. The controllers are still useful as wired USB controllers, and a campaign is already starting to get Google to unlock the Bluetooth connection.
Google Stadia never lived up to its initial promise. The service, which ran a game in the cloud and sent each individual frame of video down to your computer or phone, was pitched as a gaming platform that would benefit from Google’s worldwide scale and streaming expertise. While it was a trailblazing service, competitors quickly popped up with better scale, better hardware, better relationships with developers, and better games. The service didn’t take off immediately and reportedly undershot Google’s estimates by “hundreds of thousands” of users. Google then quickly defunded the division, involving the high-profile closure of its in-house development studio before it could make a single game.
Google’s damaged reputation made the death of Stadia a self-fulfilling prophecy. No one buys Stadia games because they assume the service will be shut down, and Stadia is forced to shut down because no one buys games from it.