Sayonara, Google Stadia

The day has finally come. Stadia, Google’s cloud gaming platform, is no more. Gone. Shut down. Cancelled. And even as some “predicted” after its announcement: Dead. It pains me to say this, but originally, I was one of those doubters that made fun of the service. As usual, it is easy to mock and ridiculize that which oneself hasn’t tried. A year after its launch, and barely keeping an eye on Google Stadia, a friend of mine that’s always been intro new technologies, told me about a pretty good deal available on the Stadia Store. “Borderlands 3 Ultimate Edition for a buck? Now that’s worth the entry point!”, I exclaimed as I registered my account and added my payment method. Shortly after, I was playing the game, with barely any input lag, and I even got a free month of something called “Stadia Pro”.

You can guess my excitement when I noticed how good the technology behind Google Stadia was. As my first time ever with cloud gaming, I was shocked. Delighted that I could enjoy high quality gaming via Google Chrome or a phone app. Eventually, even through an app on my Smart TV! Back then, I would’ve never thought of that being a possibility. In many ways, Google Stadia changed the way I enjoy video games. Of course, Google Stadia had its highs and lows. In this humble editorial piece, I hope that both those who were fond of the service and those who disliked it, can understand my point of view and find a common place.

Considering that I used Stadia for more or less two years, I’ll divide this article in three sections: Beginnings (first 6 months), Google Stadia at its best (the following year), and The End (last 6 months). Of course, I can’t remember all the details, but I’ll try my best and be completely honest. After all, Stadia is now gone and there’s no point in trying to be quiet or discrete.

Many of Stadia's characters
Official illustration of many of Google Stadia’s avatars


As previously stated, I got into Google Stadia thanks to a pretty good deal. By the end of 2020, Stadia hosted a Holidays sale, with many of its biggest titles having great discounts. At the time, I barely knew anything about Stadia, aside from the basics. Cloud gaming platform where you can play your games via the browser. And that’s pretty much it. I didn’t know about many of Stadia’s unique features yet. I didn’t even know the benefits of Stadia Pro, so I was surprised to learn that I got many good games with it. The other Stadia Pro features didn’t really interest me at the time, but alas, I enjoyed my copy of Borderlands 3 with pretty much every add-on content, and my Stadia Pro titles.

Once a week, I visit my father at his house and spend the day there. Given that the computer there is pretty old, it can barely run any of my video games. Before I discovered Stadia, I would pass my free time either watching YouTube videos or playing some Nintendo Switch games. Being able to play all kind of games on the computer with high frame rate and good graphics was awesome. And since everything was on the cloud, including my saves, I could pick up and keep playing where I left off. At that moment, I became aware of the benefits of cloud gaming. Despite still being a fan of physical releases, specially for Nintendo Switch games, Stadia helped me come to terms with how digital games work, despite the DRM.

Ending 2020 with a bang

Before the end of the year, I got my first Premiere Edition. To celebrate the release of Cyberpunk 2077, Google Stadia hosted a promotion. Those who pre-ordered or purchased the game, would get a free Premiere Edition. As an early Christmas gift, I got it. I didn’t really care about the game, even though I enjoyed it quite a lot, but I was mostly thrilled to finally own a Stadia controller and a Chromecast. I was surprised at how good the controller was – and still is – and how well games performed on that tiny device known as Chromecast Ultra. Around that time, I also created @StadiaCat, a Twitter account about everything Stadia related in my main language, Catalan. I’ve always enjoyed writing and sharing news and stories. That’s why I am here, after all!

A Stadia controller next to a pizza and a cup
Pizza and a nice drink are a natural fit for Stadia sessions

Google Stadia at its best

I can safely say that Stadia reinvigorated my love for video games. After almost 4 years on the market, I was getting bored of my Nintendo Switch. There are so many games one can enjoy, specially when the AAA third party releases still didn’t make its way to the console. PC gaming was also getting tiresome for me. As someone who prefers to jump from game to game, having to deal with heavy downloads was annoying. But here comes Stadia. No downloads, with easy availability pretty much on all my devices, and my library of games was getting bigger and bigger thanks to Stadia Pro. I still didn’t purchase many games, at least for the first half of the year. I got some free months of Stadia Pro due to different promotions, and that helped me accumulate many games.

As time went on, I got more ways to enjoy Stadia. We upgraded our TV to a brand-new LG smart TV, so I had access to the standalone app, and no longer needed the Chromecast. So with that, I attached my old CCU to an older TV in another room, and now I could play Stadia there too. Neat! Plus, I got a Razer Kishi, a special controller that converts your smartphone to a gaming device. It’s perfect for cloud gaming, and I use it still to this day. Overall, Stadia was growing on me, in many ways. My library of games was expanding, and also was Stadia’s availability. Another thing that grew on me, was its amazing community, that still to this day is active in the cloud gaming world.

Bringing the family together

Despite many shortcomings and some concerns of Stadia shutting down, there came Stadia’s second anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, Google offered Stadia’s Premium Editions for a reduced price of 22.22 dollar. An incredible deal on its own; and considering that I was in need for a second controller and I could get some use of another CCU, I got it without giving it a second thought. Considering that I got my first Premiere Edition basically for free thanks to the Cyberpunk 2077 deal, one could say that I got both for only 22.22 dollars or, in my case, euros. But still, at that point i was incredibly happy with Stadia and my catalog of games, with over 150 titles available on my library thanks to Stadia Pro and many of the recurring sales.

With two Stadia controllers and thanks to features like Phone Link, I could easily play with my family and friends on the TV. My family hasn’t really been into gaming, but with Stadia, we enjoyed some sessions of titles like Cake Bash, Monopoly and specially Trivial Pursuit 2. For practically the first time ever, we enjoyed playing video games together, something I would’ve never expected. And all thanks to Stadia’s accessibility, and it’s reachability to the casual audience. I still cherish these moments. Despite still being possible to play some games together with the Nintendo Switch, it just doesn’t feel the same. It’s not as easy to access your entire library of games, jump from one title to another, and specially play with many different controllers or even use your phone as one.

Two Stadia controllers on a table, next to a bowl of popcorn
Thanks to Stadia, my family and I enjoyed many great gaming sessions

The End of Stadia

Google Stadia had quite an impressive start of 2022, with big overhauls, interesting announcements and some juicy rumors. Despite big releases not being announced, many indie titles still made its way to the platform. Specially after the change in revenue for the publishers. In the months before Stadia’s shut down announcement, Stadia had its ups and its downs. Given some concerns, the community was split between those who believed in the future of the platform and continued enjoying it, and those who stopped enjoying the service and its games. Personally, I didn’t pay any attention to the rumors and concerns people claimed. I focused on the moment and kept enjoying my video games. Of course, I knew that everything wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and some stuff was getting on my nerves. Personally, Stadia’s communication and social channels were frustrating, with news and releases not being communicated properly.

Alas, there’s nothing that the end user could do. And the Stadia Team tried its best, despite the superiors from Google not being fully committed to Stadia. Looking back, it is almost safe to assume that Stadia’s shutdown was not planned in advance. Barely a month before Alphabet shared its revenue, Stadia was announced to shut down in the following months. Despite Google posting major profits, it seems like Stadia didn’t reach the margins the Google higher ups were expecting. Alas, in September 29th 2022, just a couple of days before getting the next Stadia Pro titles, Google announced that Stadia would shut down in January 18th 2023. Thankfully, Google would refund every purchase, of both software and hardware, excluding Stadia Pro. Still, those with an active account, could still play their games until the servers went down, at no additional cost.

A bittersweet ending

Stadia’s shut down announcement caught many of us by surprise. Initially being added as a quick mention at the bottom of the Stadia Store, many though it was a mistake or even a joke. Seeing how the Stadia Team responded to the announcement and everything moved so quickly, many Stadia fans still couldn’t believe what was happening. Specially after recent major announcements were made just weeks before. However, it was indeed the end. The Stadia Store would close shortly after the initial announcement, with users no longer being able to purchase games or subscribe to Stadia Pro. In the coming days, Google published all the details detailing Stadia’s cease of service, and how costumers would be affected.

As many speculated for years, Google refunded all purchases, except Stadia Pro subscriptions. This helped many deal with the imminent loss of their cloud gaming library, at least in a considerable amount. With Google also refunding hardware purchases, and enabling Bluetooth support on their controllers, Stadia players also got a great controller to keep playing on other platforms. All in all, I am sad that Google decided to shut down Stadia and stop investing. I enjoyed many games and poured a high amount of hours into the platform. Stadia helped me enjoy video games again. Either alone, with my family, friends or others, I have good memories thanks to Stadia. I also met wonderful people from its caring community. From streamers like GemBearGaming, Jon Scarr and NinjaGuyX, to data researchers like inlead, OriginalPenguin and the man himself, Jack.

Google Stadia controller inside a bag
Stadia’s availability, functions and even library are still unmatched

A cloudy future

Ever after Stadia’s announcement of its shut down, I didn’t really come back to the platform. I moved on. After all, why come back if all my progress and such would be lost in a couple of months? I downloaded all my data with Google Takeout, and searched for a replacement. As you can see here in Cloud Dosage, I’ve tried many cloud gaming services and platforms. Still, to this day, I haven’t found anything that comes close to what Stadia was. It was the most balanced cloud gaming service. One could say that it was the only cloud gaming platform. Some of the actual services have their pros, and their cons. Some might have better graphical fidelity, but a less appealing business model. Others might be the complete opposite.

I believe that one day, there will be a replacement for Stadia. Perhaps when Xbox lets users play the games they own via the cloud without fear of it being removed from Game Pass. Over the last months, many cloud gaming services like Blacknut, Boosteroid, Utomik and many more, have been expanding. Practically without knowing it, Google Stadia and its team helped cloud gaming gain a mainstream appeal, putting the focus on its advantages and raising its awareness. It’s sad to see Stadia go, specially since at the moment, no other service has all its unique features. Still, cloud gaming will surely keep advancing and providing gamers across the globe another way to enjoy video games. And that, is what matters the most. Good luck, and have fun!

Stadia Sunset
Sayonara, Google Stadia



Marxally is a freelance graphic designer who enjoys playing video games and writing about them. A Nintendo fan at heart that enjoys the benefits of cloud gaming and loves its amazing community. Marxally covers news and review games at Cloud Dosage. Like what he does? Buy Marxally a Pizza!

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