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Google is shutting down its gaming service Stadia

By Catherine Thorbecke, CNN Business

Google plans to shut down its cloud gaming service Stadia in January, a little more than three years after it launched, citing lackluster demand from customers.

Phil Harrison, the vice president and general manager of Stadia, said in a blog post Thursday that the consumer gaming service “hasn’t gained the traction with users that we expected.”

Google plans to refund customers for “all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store, and all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store,” according to Harrison.

Google launched Stadia in 2019, making it one of several tech giants to invest in the gaming market. Described by some at the time as the Netflix of video games, Stadia let users stream and play games via smartphones, web browsers and other gadgets using Google’s Chromecast streaming device. It delivered a console-quality experience without the space-consuming hardware.

But there were earlier signs that Stadia was struggling. Google said in 2021 that it would stop making video games for its Stadia platform. Some other tech companies have had to rethink their gaming strategies, too. Facebook said last month that it would shutter its standalone Gaming App this fall.

The move also comes as Google and other tech companies rethink hiring and investments amid a market downturn and fears of a looming global recession.

Despite shuttering the service, Harrison said Google remains “deeply committed to gaming.” Google expects to use some of the technology behind Stadia for other products, according to Harrison.

Players will continue to have access to their Stadia games library and be able to play through Jan. 18, 2023, “so they can complete final play sessions,” Harrison added. The majority of refunds are expected to be completed “by mid-January, 2023,” he said, and additional details for this process will be available in its Help Center.

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