Google Begins Refunding Years Of Stadia Purchases
from the exit-stadia-left dept
The somehow both long-running and surprisingly quick death of Stadia is now complete. We have been covering Google’s attempt at a video game cloud-streaming service for several years now. Frankly, it’s been a mess from the jump, from a banal launch that was rife with user experience issues, to poor game performance, and a laughably limited game library. It was all the way back in early 2021 that the trouble became more serious and public. First, Google disbanded Stadia’s game developers. Then other Stadia employees voluntarily headed for the exit. Then, after briefly pitching Stadia as a backend for other platforms to deliver game-streaming, Google eventually said it was just going to shut the whole thing down.
And now Stadia’s failure gets its final nail in its digital coffin. Google has announced that refunds for most Stadia purchases are available upon request, sans the subscriptions for the service itself.
We will be offering refunds for all Stadia hardware purchases (Stadia Controller, Founder’s Edition, Premiere Edition, and Play and Watch with Google TV packages) made through the Google Store and software transactions (games and add-on purchases) through the Stadia store. Stadia Pro subscriptions are not eligible for refund, however you will be able to continue playing your games in Pro without further charges until the final wind down date.
Sadly, as the ArsTechnica post notes, if you bought your Stadia gear from someplace other than Google directly, well, you’re SOL.
Regardless, this is likely to be a complete shitshow on multiple levels. Figuring out how to refund purchases made years ago throughout the world sounds like an absolute nightmare. Ars also notes that Google can refund the public for bought games all it wants, but it still has to pay the game developers that provided those games.
And then there’s the Stadia controllers, currently locked down so that they cannot be used for any other purpose. Why they’d want to refund those controllers instead of allowing for a more general use of them is beyond me.
As for that single-use hardware, there’s an ongoing campaign to get Google to unlock the Stadia controller so that it can be a general-purpose Bluetooth controller. Google has yet to comment on this idea, but the FAQ notes that if you don’t mind turning the clock back 20 years, you can still use the controller with a wire. That’s not ideal, and considering the controller is already Bluetooth compatible, it would be nice if Google patched in generic wireless support to cut down on e-waste.
Not to mention to cut down all the red on the Stadia balance sheet, which must look like a bloodbath at this point.