Google has announced that the Google Stadia service will be shutting down in the near future. All is not lost for the Google Stadia fans of the world, however, as the company will be offering refunds on the games purchased for the service, as well as the hardware that is required to use it. Fans have a lot of questions about what the shutdown process will be and how they'll get their refunds, especially as there are some things about the closure that Google has left unclear.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Google Stadia was Google's first big foray into the world of gaming. The intention was for Google Stadia to be an online streaming video game service, with Google even describing Google Stadia as Netflix for games. Google made huge promises about how Google Stadia will revolutionize the industry, as its games weren't chained to hardware limitations. It turned out that the limitations were less about the hardware and more about internet connections, as only the fastest and most stable internet connections offered a service that was comparable to physical and digitally downloaded games. This meant that Google Stadia was unfit for certain genres, like fighting games. The fact that the world didn't immediately mass adopt Google Stadia also seemed to kill the service's prospects early on, as the service received less and less promotion over time, and Google shut down its Google Stadia studios before they could produce anything of worth.
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The fact that Google Stadia couldn't make a dent during the pandemic when people were stuck at home and hardware became difficult to acquire, proved that the end was nigh for the service. A post on the official Google blog confirmed that the Google Stadia service will finally shut down soon and that all of its games will become unplayable. All is not lost for those who invested time and money in the service, however, as Google Stadia games and hardware will be refunded in the future. There are some potential caveats here, but Google did outline some of the most important posts on its blog.
When Is Google Stadia Shutting Down?
Google Stadia will officially shut down on January 18, 2023. The service is unlikely to receive any new content or feature updates in that period of time, as the service operation on life support is likely all that will be going on with Google Stadia until the end date. This means that players still have time to finish any games they purchased for Google Stadia. Google has said that it intends to use Google Stadia's technology for other ventures, but those will be for different products and won't be used as a way of maintaining the service in other mediums. Google claimed in an email sent out after the initial blog post that services may be disrupted in some games in the period leading up to the shutdown.
What Happens To My Google Stadia Games?
On January 18, 2023, Google Stadia will be shut down for good. Once that happens, all games that have been purchased for Google Stadia will no longer function. This also includes any games owned through the Google Stadia Pro subscription service. Players have a couple of months to finish their games, though not all titles are so lucky. There are some Google Stadia exclusives, like Pac-Man Mega Tunnel Battle which will be gone forever unless the developers decide to port them to other systems.
How Do I Get A Stadia Refund?
Google hasn't clarified the means of acquiring refunds as yet. The initial blog post simply mentions most of the refunds will be issued in January, but this could be subject to change. In the follow-up email written after the blog post, Google confirmed that this will be an automatic process and the refunds will be sent as credit to the form of payment used to make the purchase. If there are any issues with the automatic refund, then Google will be in touch with further information on how to claim it. This will conceivably cost Google even more money, as earlier reports of Google Stadia's failings indicated the tech giant was spending tens of millions of dollars to attract games to the service.
When Will I Get My Stadia Refund?
The Google Stadia refunds should happen around the same time as the closure of the service. The blog post mentions that most of the Google Stadia refunds will happen around "mid-January", which matches up to the January 18 shutdown date. The wording also confirms that not all the refunds will be done at this time, so some players might have to wait longer to get their refunds. It could be a case of refunds being issued at different times based on region or the nature of the item being refunded.
What Google Stadia Games & Hardware Can I Get A Refund On?
The Google Stadia line-up of games that people purchased through the Stadia Store are all viable for a refund. This is also true of any add-on content purchased for the games (with some possible exceptions, as detailed below), assuming they were also purchased through the Google Store. This is pretty cut and dry, as Google Stadia was a digital service, so the vast majority of the games were purchased through the Google Store. The people who purchased any of the Google Stadia Pro subscriptions won't be getting refunded, barring any future word on the matter from Google.
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Where things get a bit dicier is for hardware, as there were Google Stadia controllers on the market, as well as bundles that included a Google Chromecast streaming device giveaway. Google has confirmed that the Stadia Controller, Stadia Founder’s Edition, Stadia Premiere Edition, or Play and Watch with Google TV Package are all eligible for a refund. The people who bought these from the Google Store should be fine for a refund, but people who bought them from other storefronts are probably out of luck. Those who have kept their receipts for the purchase of Google Stadia hardware from other stores should contact Google, just in case. Luckily, it seems that most Google Stadia sales came from the Google Store or were freebies as part of phone/broadband packages.
What About Microtransactions In Stadia Games, Do Those Transfer?
The add-ons that were purchased for Google Stadia games are eligible for refunds. The one potential sticking point is microtransactions for things like loot boxes, such as the Destiny 2 loot boxes that the game had during its early years. It's likely that permanent DLC is fine for a refund, but things like loot boxes and battle passes are not. The follow-up email mentions that in-game purchases have been disabled, but doesn't list them among the refundable items. The fact that the wording of the blog specifies "add-on" content suggests that it's just the permanent DLC that Google Stadia fans will receive a refund for.