Google Is Giving Up on Stadia, Permitting Games to Be Played Until January 18

Phil Harrison, Google’s vice president in charge of Stadia:

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.

In early 2020, Insider’s Ben Gilbert spoke with developers about Stadia as Google struggled to get enough traction. They offered a few explanations — a lack of financial incentives and questionable audience size — but Gilbert says a repeated concern was this exact scenario:

“If you could see yourself getting into a long term relationship with Google?” one developer said. “But with Google’s history, I don’t even know if they’re working on Stadia in a year. That wouldn’t be something crazy that Google does. It’s within their track record.”

This concern — that Google might just give up on Stadia at some point and kill the service, as it has done with so many other services over the years — was repeatedly brought up, unprompted, by every person we spoke with for this piece.

Google may have kept it going for a couple of years longer than the quoted developer speculated, but everything else about this rings true.

I feel bad for those working on the products unceremoniously canned by Google — or, indeed, any company. It sucks to see your hard work evaporate. But part of Google’s problem is its perpetual cycle of introducing new products, letting them linger as users and sometimes developers wonder whether they should commit, and then killing them when there is little uptake — see step two in the cycle.