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Google LLC is shutting down Stadia, its cloud-based game streaming service, which will wind down on Jan. 18.

“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,” said Phil Harrison, general manager of Stadia.

As part of the shutdown, Harrison said, the company would be refunding all Stadia hardware purchases made via the Google Store and all game and add-on content purchases made in the Stadia store. Players will be able to continue to play their games until the servers go offline.

Google announced the service in March 2019. It uses cloud streaming to allow users to experience graphics-intensive video games without the need for powerful machines. By running the games across Google’s data centers and rendering the output, it makes it possible for users to play them on devices such as mobile phones, laptops and smart TVs.

Using Stadia players were able to stream popular video games such as “Destiny 2,” “Cyberpunk 2077,” “Red Dead Redemption 2” and more without the need for expensive hardware. All they needed was access to Google Chrome or Chromecast device. There was a dedicated Google Stadia controller that could be purchased similar to most gaming consoles that could be purchased.

Foreshadowing of Stadia’s shutdown began in February when the search giant shut down its Stadia game development studio and shuffled employees elsewhere. At the time, Harrison spun the move as focusing on Stadia as a platform for giving publishers and developers to give audiences access to their games more easily.

“The underlying technology platform that powers Stadia has been proven at scale and transcends gaming,” Harrison said. “We see clear opportunities to apply this technology across other parts of Google like YouTube, Google Play, and our augmented reality efforts — as well as make it available to our industry partners, which aligns with where we see the future of gaming headed.”

Harrison added that the company continues to be dedicated to gaming and many of Stadia’s current team members will carry their current work onto other parts of Google after it’s shut down.

Even with the demise of Stadia, players will still be able to get their fix on numerous other cloud gaming services. Luna, Amazon Inc.’s foray into game streaming, works similarly to Stadia, allowing players to stream the same games on the same devices, as well as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Other competitors include Nvidia Corp.’s GeForce Now and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox Cloud Gaming.

For current Stadia users, Google has published in-depth details of what will happen to games during the shutdown and how refunds will proceed.

Photo: Pixabay

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