This is an official Tom’s Guide public service announcement for all Google Stadia users: you have one week to transfer your games and saves from the game streaming platform before it’s shutdown.
Google will flip the off switch on Stadia on January 18 at 11:59 p.m. PT, and January 19 at 4:59 a.m. ET / 9.59 a.m. BST GMT / 8.59 p.m. AEDT. This shutdown will kill access to your games on Stadia and any save data you have, unless you transfer it over.
Sadly, Google isn’t providing this service itself. But multiple publishers with games on Stadia have outlined processes to pull your game saves from Stadia and access those games on their own platforms or alternative gaming devices.
For example, CD Projekt Red will let you manually download Cyberpunk 2077 saves and transfer them to a gaming PC, while Bungie needs players to turn on the cross save feature for Destiny 2 to get saves off Stadia; The Verge (opens in new tab) has a breakdown of what games have save transfer processes.
Once you’ve got your saves it’ll be time to say goodbye to Stadia. The game streaming services once looked so promising with touted YouTube integration. But unfortunately, the ambition didn't match reality, and in our Google Stadia review, gaming editor Marshall Honorof was left rather disappointed.
“When it's firing on all cylinders, Stadia works fine. But when it's not, it introduces a whole host of problems that traditional gaming systems simply don't have … It occurred to me while playing that Stadia is the germ of a great idea, but insisting that games must be all-streaming, all the time feels a little limiting,” Honorof explained, indicating that Stadia isn’t a gaming revolution that many cloud-powered streaming services appear to promise.
That’ll be no comfort if you were a Stadia early adopter and have spent a fair bit on the platform. But Google has been offering refunds on Stadia games and hardware since November 2022 when it called time on the service. And these refunds will be automatic, with Google anticipating them to be complete by January 18.
Google Stadia alternatives
If you’re still hankering for a game streaming service then there are a handful available. Nvidia’s GeForce Now, for example, provides game streaming powered by some of its latest graphics hardware.
But my recommendation would be to try out the game streaming features added onto game console subscription services. That way you get access to game streaming, as well as extra features on games consoles rather than just the former, therefore avoiding the letdown of a lacklustre streaming experience.
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate not only offers access to a large range of Xbox and PC games, but also lets you stream a lot of them to all manner of devices via Xbox Cloud Gaming; it also has a suite of games with added mobile touchscreen controls so you can game stream on the go without needing a separate controller. And Sony’s new PlayStation Plus Premium service offers game streaming to PS4, PS5 and PC, letting you stream all manner of games, including older PS3 and PS2 titles.
Just bear in mind that you'll need a robust internet connection to get solid game streaming performance. And even then latency and lower graphical fidelity can be the trade off when playing games without any dedicated hardware; such is the state of game streaming at the moment.
Maybe 2023 and beyond will yield a game streaming service that really delivers on all its promises without many caveats and demand for a lot of bandwidth. For now, your best gaming experience will still need hardware like the Xbox Series X, PS5, Nintendo Switch, one of the best gaming PCs or even the Steam Deck.