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Google Stadia refunds are finally available. Here's how to get yours.

We’re closing in on the actual end of Google’s cloud gaming service, which barely made it to three years.

It’s almost time to put Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service to bed for good. After Google announced it would be shutting down Stadia back in September, disappointed users were left waiting to start the refund process that Google promised.

Google already began refunding some of the digital purchases made through the Stadia Store early last month, but only recently started issuing refunds for the Stadia hardware. Google says the hardware refunds started at the end of November and will issue most refunds by January 18, 2023.

Here’s what you need to know about the Stadia refund process.

WHICH STADIA PURCHASES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A REFUND?

Any Stadia Store purchases — games, add-on content, or even in-game currency — saw refunds starting on November 9. Google recently started the refund process for its Stadia hardware, including the $69.99 Stadia Controller, its $129.99 Founder’s Edition, the $79.99 Premiere Edition, and the Play and Watch with Google TV packages. If you preordered something Stadia-related through the Stadia Store or Google Store, you’ll either not be charged for it or refunded the preorder charge.

The only thing Google is not refunding is its Stadia Pro subscription fees prior to September 29. If you have your Stadia Pro subscription after September 29, you’ll still get access to all the Pro features during this shut-down period though, according to Google.

HOW TO GET YOUR STADIA REFUND

Luckily, Google is making it pretty easy to get a full refund of your Stadia hardware. Google is going to automatically refund every Stadia transaction to your original form of payment. If what you used to pay for your Stadia equipment is still active, you can expect to see a refund in the coming weeks, as noted on Stadia’s official Twitter page. Still, there were a decent amount of Stadia users, so Google says not to contact its customer support because it won’t be able to expedite your refund process.

Google says it’s not accepting any hardware returns to physical locations, like its Google Store or Best Buy locations. There is a silver lining, though. Even with Stadia shutting down, Google says you don’t actually have to return the hardware to get the refund in most cases. The actual Stadia device might be useless, but your Stadia controller could still offer some mileage as a generic USB-C controller.

HOW TO GET STADIA REFUND IF YOUR PAYMENT METHOD NO LONGER EXISTS

Of course, refunds can always get messy. In the case where you don’t have that original form of payment anymore, Google says you may have to reach out to whichever company issued your card, because they likely still accepted the refund that Google sent out. If that company didn’t accept Google’s refund, Google will reach out to you via email with instructions on how to set up an alternate refund method.

Google says that the alternate method could be through Payoneer, a third-party payment system.

WHAT HAPPENS TO MY STADIA SAVE FILES?

The Stadia servers are officially shutting down on January 18, 2023, so you have some time to try and salvage your save files. Google says there are some methods to port your save file to another platform, but not all titles are going to have this option. Some major video game publishers already shared plans to do this, including Ubisoft, Bungie, I/O Interactive, CD Projekt Red, Rockstar Games, and Bethesda. Unfortunately, some save files might cease to exist along with Stadia.

Even if your save file ports over, chances are that you’ll still have to purchase the game on the new platform. Google says you’ll have to check with the respective video game publisher for info on this.

With the refunds, the end of Stadia feels official. It’s a shame for those Stadia stans who spent hours on the cloud-based gaming service. Although, you could also look at it as being able to enjoy Stadia for a three-year trial basis for free.

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