Google Stadia shutdown announcement seemingly blindsides developers

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An image of the logo for Google Stadia.

Following Google’s announcement that its Stadia service will shut down from January 18, 2023, many reacting to the news seemed to view this development as having been a foregone conclusion for a little while now.

However, it looks as though those developing games for and working with the platform hadn’t been given any reason to believe this would be the case any time soon or any concrete notice that it would be happening yesterday prior to Google’s decision being revealed to the public.

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This has led some indie developers to take to social media in order to express their discontent and distress regarding what the news could mean for their current Stadia projects.

Were you surprised by Google’s Stadia announcement yesterday?

Among these was Mike Rose of UK publisher No More Robots, who shared The Verge’s report on the subject and said: “We have a game coming to Stadia in November. Who wants to guess that Google will refuse to pay us the money they owe us for it.”

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He later added in a reply to this original post: “(It’s) hours later and I still have no email from Stadia, and no clarity on what’s happening with our games, deals, anything. Really would have been nice if they’d told partners, or even got in contact with us by now.”

Fellow indie developer Tom Vian, of SFB Games, cited the same report as “the first (he) heard about it shutting down”, despite being due to release a game on the platform in only a couple of days' time.

Meanwhile, seasoned developer Rebecca Heineman revealed that her team had been left: “wondering how to proceed” following the announcement.

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As reported by Kotaku’s Ethan Gach and Axios’ Stephen Totilo respectively, it looks as though some larger publishers and studios were also not expecting the shutdown, with both Destiny 2 developer Bungie and Ubisoft seemingly having had to immediately initiate talks with google on what will happen to their games on the platform going forwards.

Meanwhile, consumers who’ve invested money into Stadia at any point over its lifespan were immediately informed of what the shutdown will mean for them going forwards, with Google’s blog post on the subject confirming that the company: “will be refunding all Stadia hardware purchases made through the Google Store, and all game and add-on content purchases made through the Stadia store.”

The post, written by Stadia Vice President and General Manager Phil Harrison, also cites the reason for the decision as being because the platform: “hasn't gained the traction with users that we expected.”

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