How to Get Your Google Stadia Refund—and What’s Included (2022)

It took longer as skeptics might have guessed, but Google Stadia is finally shutting down. On January 18, 2023, anyone who purchased games from the streaming service will lose access to their library. To compensate people who have invested in the ecosystem, Google will give Stadia users a full refund – a pretty unprecedented move.

If you’ve purchased a game from Stadia at any point since its launch, you may have questions. Here’s how it will all play out.

Why does Google give refunds?

Google has a reputation for killing products. But it doesn’t always leave users completely stranded. When Google “killed” YouTube Originals, it just stopped producing new original content, but the old content is still there. Google “kills” Hangouts, but users are migrated to Google Chat. In many cases, people who have been using outdated Google products are migrated to something new.

Stadia is different. Stadiums cost money, sometimes a a lot of of money. The kit, which included a Chromecast Ultra and a Stadia controller, cost $130. Users had to pay full price for games. There was a premium subscription for 4K streaming (which also came with a collection of games over time). It is possible to have spent a significant amount of money on Stadia for the last three years.

Shutting down the service means removing access to all those purchased and paid games, which would go a little beyond Google’s usual shutdown routine. It’s rare for a company to offer full refunds for years of purchases on a platform – Microsoft, who pay users for ebook purchases, comes to mind the closest I can think of – but it’s not hard to imagine the outrage (and potential lawsuits ) if Google would act differently here.

What is reimbursed?

There are three broad categories of services that Stadia has charged for: hardware, game sales plus add-ons, and the Stadia Pro subscription. Only the first two are refundable. Even then, only sales made through the Google Store or Stadia Store qualify.

The Stadia Pro subscription included a rotation of free games for you to claim (similar to Xbox and PlayStation game subscription services), but these titles don’t count towards refunds. If you’ve paid for a game on the Stadia Store, downloadable content, or add-on bundles, they’re eligible.

What if I bought Stadia hardware from a store?

Unfortunately, if you bought a Stadia controller or Stadia kit from a retail store like Best Buy, you’re out of luck. Google only offers refunds for purchases made through the Google Store. There are two physical Google Stores in New York, so if you’ve bought Stadia controllers thereyou may be eligible for a refund but other stores are not.

You can’t either return your hardware to a physical store (including physical Google Store locations); However, there’s also no reason to bring hardware to a physical store.

Do I have to return my controllers?

nope! You will get a refund for all the hardware you paid for, and You can keep the hardware. We probably will. Google says that “most hardware purchases” are eligible for a refund, and specifically cites the following packages:

  • Stadia Controller
  • Founders Edition
  • Premiere Edition
  • Play and watch with Google TV

If you have bought these kits, you are on the safe side. If you purchased Stadia hardware through other means (again, through the Google Store), you can can get a refund.

When and how will I receive my refund?

So far we don’t know what the refunds will look like. Google is still working on that process, though the company may have its hands full letting developers know it’s pulled the plug for now. We’ll update this article as Google provides more information on how to receive the refund.

Google says it aims to receive “the majority” of refunds by January 18, 2023 (the day Stadia shuts down). That may mean you’ll get refunds sooner – not least a nice boost ahead of the holiday season – but the process and timing may differ from country to country.

Can I keep using Stadia in the meantime?

Yes. The games you have purchased will work until January 18th. If you were already a Stadia Pro subscriber on September 29th, stay subscribed until the service ends and Google will not continue to charge you for the subscription. That’s a bittersweet bonus, but at least you don’t have to give Google money for a dying service anymore.

However, if you haven’t purchased any games or paid for the subscription, you can now only use Stadia with limited-time demos. Although Google teased this feature back in 2019, Google didn’t launch playable in-browser game demos until October 2021, and they appear to still be working for now.

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