Google has confirmed it will shut down its Stadia cloud gaming service early next year.
The service, which launched in 2019, allowed users to stream video games to their TV, laptop or smartphone without needing to own a games console.
The platform was seen by some as having the potential to be a Netflix equivalent for video games when it went live, but Google said it had failed to gain “traction” with users and had now made the decision to close it down.
Stadia general manager and vice president Phil Harrison said in a blog post that the service would remain accessible until January 18 2023 and that Google would be offering refunds on all Stadia content and accessories bought by players since the launch.
“A few years ago, we also launched a consumer gaming service, Stadia. And while Stadia’s approach to streaming games for consumers was built on a strong technology foundation, it hasn’t gained the traction with users that we expected so we’ve made the difficult decision to begin winding down our Stadia streaming service,” he said.
“We’re grateful to the dedicated Stadia players that have been with us from the start.
“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. Players will continue to have access to their games library and play through January 18 2023 so they can complete final play sessions.
“We expect to have the majority of refunds completed by mid-January 2023.”
Streaming-based video game services have been an area of increasing interest for gaming firms in recent years, with Microsoft most notably investing heavily in the technology through its Xbox Cloud Gaming service, but the format is yet to be fully embraced by the public.
Mr Harrison said Google would also continue to invest in gaming, and look to apply the technology behind Stadia elsewhere within the company.