Google announced in late September that it would be shutting down its cloud gaming platform, Stadia. While this news was unfortunate, Google is being praised for how it handled the shutdown.

Let’s take a closer look at how Google gracefully killed their digital service and what we can learn from it.

What is Stadia?

Stadia was Google’s attempt at disrupting the gaming industry by allowing users to stream high-end games without the need for specialty hardware like consoles or powerful computers. All you needed was an internet connection and a compatible device, such as your phone or laptop, to play titles that are usually only available on console or PC.

How Did Google Kill It Gracefully?

Google announced the news of Stadia’s closure nearly a month before its shutdown date, giving users plenty of time to prepare. The company also provided detailed information on how refunds would be processed, what games can still be played until the end date, and even offered free access to premium content like special skins or exclusive levels.

Early Communications and Refunds

One of the key ways in which Google handled this transition well was through early, transparent communications about the intention to shut down Stadia. This allowed customers time to plan accordingly, ensure they got their money’s worth from the platform before it closed its virtual doors, purchase any games they had been waiting on, or even purchase hardware if needed. 

As part of this process, users were eligible for full refunds for all purchased games as well as hardware purchases made after February 1st 2021.

Take Out and Controller Support

Google also enabled users to take out all profile data stored on Stadia—including screenshots, saved game data and achievements—and offered a final game to commemorate the end of an era when Stadia first announced its closure. The company also made sure that anyone who had purchased a controller could still use it with other devices by enabling Bluetooth support on the device.

Killing Your Digital Services – Stadia, The Role Model

Google’s experience with Stadia is a lesson to all digital product owners on how to kill a service gracefully. They showed that transparency and communication are key when it comes to readying users for the shut down and providing them with an optimal experience until their service’s end date. 

From offering refunds, enabling data take out, and providing controller support, Google provided a smooth transition with no loose ends. It’s an example to follow for other digital product owners who may need to close down their services in the future.

Though it’s unfortunate that Stadia is going away, Google has served as a role model when it comes to exiting gracefully from the digital product market. The lessons we can learn from this experience are invaluable and will hopefully be applied to other digital products in the future. 

It’s an important reminder that while shutting down a service is never easy, it doesn’t have to be painful either. With careful planning and thoughtful customer service, product owners can make the end of their services a bit more bearable. 


The way in which Google handled its closure of Stadia has earned them kudos from those within the marketing industry as well as consumers alike. It was seen as a thoughtful approach that showed respect for customers who had invested both time and money into this digital service over the past few years. In spite of its failure to gain traction with gamers worldwide, Google can certainly be proud of how they chose to say goodbye to Stadia.