You might've built up a library using Google's Stadia platform on your favorite Android gaming phone but learning that Google is killing Stadia for good really puts a damper on gaming plans for 2023. But thankfully, you won't go empty-handed leading up to the door's closing; as of November 9th, 2022, Google has begun processing refunds on all its eligible Google Stadia products. Still, you don't have much time left before the doors shutter for good on January 18th, and if Stadia library consists of games by Ubisoft, IO Interactive, Bungie, Rockstar Games, Bethesda, or CD Projekt Red, there's a shot at salvaging your save files and getting free copies of these games for other platforms. So with all this info revealed in the wake of Google's closure, we've outlined how you take part in the return process before the doors shut for good — don't let the latest addition to the Google Graveyard sour your start for 2023.
Eligibility on refunds
Everyone is eligible to receive refunds on hardware and software products from the Google store and Stadia store, respectively. The specific products eligible to receive a refund include:
- Google Stadia controller
- Founders Edition
- Premiere Edition
- Play and Watch with Google TV packages
- Games and add-ons
Unfortunately, you can't obtain a refund for your Stadia Pro subscriptions. But, if you're already subscribed, you can continue playing through your Pro subscription without further charge until the service terminates.
How to get your Google Stadia refund
Hardware purchases don't need to be returned to the Google store, but you can track your purchases by visiting your Order History on the store's website; just ensure you sign in on the correct account tied to your purchases.
Hardware refunds for Google Stadia products
Since November 30th, 2022, Google has begun automatically processing refunds for hardware purchases on Stadia products. However, keep an eye out on your email, and chances are you may receive only some of your refunds at once; Google anticipates that most refunds will be processed by the January 18th, 2023, deadline.
Stadia store has shut down
The Stadia store is officially closed, so you can no longer purchase games. However, you can still view your software purchases in the payments section. As of November 9th, 2022, Google has begun rolling out automatic refunds sent to your original payment. If Google cannot issue a refund to your original payment you will receive an email on your linked Google account with additional instructions.
Note: Customers with 20 or fewer purchases will receive one email per each transaction made, whereas customers who've made 21 or more will receive one email summarizing all the refund attempts.
All pre-orders have been automatically canceled, and you won't be charged; expect to receive a refund on your original payment method if it so happens that you've been charged already. If you cannot get the refund processed on your original payment method, keep your email communications open — you'll receive email instructions on acquiring the refund using a new payment method.
How to receive your refund if you can't access your original payment method
The process of how to receive your refund when you've lost access to your original payment method isn't crystal clear; some customers have reported on Twitter that they have yet to be able to set up a new payment method. Google outlines the first step is to contact the company that has issued your original payment method and see if that bank institution has already accepted the refund. And if it hasn't, Google will email instructions for a new payment method. In other cases, you may need to prepare a Payoneer account to acquire your refund.
In cases where you've contacted the bank institution, and the bank institution tries to bounce back the contact to Google, follow these steps:
- Navigate to Google Pay.
- Click or tap on Alerts.
- Contact Stadia customer service with the missing product refund and ensure you provide the order number/transaction ID for each product (found by Stadia settings > Purchases & Subscriptions, then selecting your purchases).
Google Play Store credit and negative Play Points
You might've purchased your Stadia games using your racked-up Play Store credit Points, which you'd obtain from answering Opinion Rewards, using Google Play gift cards, and from redeeming Play Points. Well as of right now, there's a caveat when it comes to issuing the refunds to your paid Google Play Store credit. Customers who've previously used Play Points for credits are now learning you'll receive a negative balance for your Play Points once the refund comes through.
Any credit used to buy games will be credited back as Google Play Store credit (and is stuck on your account), which may lead you to see negative Play Points if that was one of your payment sources. So far it seems to only affect US-based customers, and Google is working on a tailored solution to fix this issue.
Transferring Google Stadia Ubisoft games to PC
Ubisoft has worked on a method to transfer its games purchased through Google Stadia so that you can play these titles on your PC. Everything is done through Ubisoft Connect, the digital distribution/management service for Ubisoft across platforms. Ubisoft will also enable games with cross-progression facilitated through Ubisoft Connect, so you can continue where you left off from Stadia.
If you don't own a PC to play Ubisoft titles for this particular account transfer process, thankfully, all Stadia game purchases will receive a refund from Google. But otherwise, you can look into cloud streaming with Ubisoft+ and Amazon Luna (supports Ubsoft+ for US-based customers).
Offered support by other game developers and publishers
Thankfully more developers and publishers are helping players migrate onto other platforms to ease the awful situation of losing their favorite games with Stadia's sudden shutdown. For example, Bethesda is gifting a free copy of Elder Scrolls Online for PC and Mac, preservation of account progress, and email instructions on moving saved data. Unfortunately, CD Projekt Red won't offer a free copy of Cyberpunk 2077, but you can transfer your saved progress using Google Takeout onto your PC.
Since the announcement, Bungie and IO Interactive have reportedly sought ways to transfer your saved data from Destiny 2 and Hitman onto other platforms. As a result, Bungie has implemented a cross-save for Destiny 2, ready for activation before the final shutdown date (January 18th, 2023). Likewise, Hitman 3 players must link their IOI account with Stadia before the shutdown to carry over progression.
Red Dead Online players can carry over in-game assets to PC, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4 by linking their target game account to their Rockstar Social Club account. But unfortunately, it requires to have been done 30 days before the shutdown. Rockstar Support would be the best point of contact if you missed the boat.
Bethesda is helping Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) players on Stadia receive a free copy for PC and Mac; Bethesda should have already sent out email instructions regarding how and when this process works. But in most cases, you only need to worry about remembering your ESO credentials to get your hands on that free copy.
Acquiring free Steam codes
Some developers and publishers will be gifting free Steam codes for the games on Google Stadia. So far, we know of Fishing Cactus and Embr. You'll have to contact the respective emails with proof of ownership on their select games. Once you've received your code, you'll have to redeem the Steam code to re-acquire those games.
Don't let your gaming library disappear with the loss of Google Stadia
Google Stadia's tearful goodbye won't leave you at a complete net loss as long as you've followed a few of the steps above (before the platform entirely shuts down). In the meantime, we've worked through the best Google Stadia alternatives for Android; this way, your gaming library doesn't have to be bare-boned at the start of a brand-new year.