Google has announced it is shutting down its cloud gaming service Stadia, just three years after its launch.
The service was touted as a “Netflix for games” and allowed gamers to stream games online without owning expensive hardware like consoles. But after suffering from “a lack of traction” with gamers, the service will come to and end in January next year.
Google has said it will issue refunds to anyone who had purchased a Stadia controller or any games and add-on content.
“A few years ago, we also launched a consumer gaming service, Stadia,” Stadia vice president and GM Phil Harrison wrote in a blog post. “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.”
Employees working on the service will be redistributed to other parts of the company, Google said.
Cloud gaming services have long been considered the future of the industry, as it allows more players to access games without spending huge amounts of money on either consoles or PCs. But Stadia appeared to be doomed from the start, as it received a lukewarm response from gamers, amid concerns over stuttering games.
It now appears that Google has abandoned its plans to muscle in on the videogame industry, which is dominated by the likes of Microsoft and Sony. Other cloud gaming services remain, such as Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud platform. Microsoft has invested heavily in the technology and AT&T has also explored the possibility of launching a service.
Google’s failure has not deterred other companies from attempting to break into the video game industry. This week Netflix announced it was setting up its own video game studio in Finland, after previously buying a handful of smaller gaming companies.