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.

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Companies: google

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Comments on “Google Begins Refunding Years Of Stadia Purchases”

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5 Comments
Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Google's short attention span

I just wish Google would commit to something for once; they seem to have the attention span of a five year old (or at least the patience of one). If Epic Games had Google’s lack of patience with their new products Fortnite wouldn’t be anywhere near as big as it is…heck it would have been cancelled because it was initially a failure for not being as good as PUBG.

If it weren’t for Elon Musk’s burning of Twitter to the ground, I’d say Google would win the award for having no long-term strategy, but I will say we do live in interesting times.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I just wish Google would commit to something for once

Out of curiosity, why? I mean, everyone involved with Stadia seemed to be constantly talking about how deeply committed Google was to it, and the internet seemed full of apologists saying things like “of course it’s gonna fail if you have such a negative attitude, so you should totally use Stadia as much as possible”. Ultimately, the public did not believe Google was committed. Is there some length of time at which they would have started to, if Google had only kept dumping money into it till then?

In other words, if Google hypothetically did commit to a new service, how would anyone know it? Going with Timothy’s theme of “turning the clock back”, I think that’s the only way this could’ve worked. Their reputation for capriciousness has been thoroughly earned over the last 15 years, and if they can reverse it at all, it’ll probably take just as long.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me 267 times… is Stadia’s approximate position according to killedbygoogle.com.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Year, and the “turning the clock back 20 years” comment is hyperbolic (and confusing—I thought it was literal at first, referring to how one has to turn back a PC’s clock to use some old software).

It might be nice to use Bluetooth, but a USB wire is not some enormous hardship, and is probably a better idea over the long term: is it really a great idea to be accepting wireless input from a device that hasn’t been patched in years?

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