What happens to my games on Stadia if they are removed from sale?

Stadia controller
Stadia controller (Image credit: Android Central)

Best answer: According to Google Stadia boss Phil Harrison, you will be able to keep your purchased games in your Stadia library even after they've been removed from sale.

What did Phil Harrison say about games staying in your library?

Speaking with IGN, Harrison assuaged concerns that games could be removed from your Stadia library if they've been removed from sale by stating that "yes, you will still be able to access the game," even if the publisher pulls support.

Now there may be, as we've seen in the past, times where the developer or publisher no longer has rights to sell to new players. And that means that the game will not be available to new players, but it will continue to be available to existing players.

Do I need to purchase games on top of my subscription?

Unfortunately, getting a Google Stadia Pro subscription for $10/month doesn't mean you'll be able to download any game it offers at your will. You'll still need to buy games individually regardless of whether you get the free or paid Stadia service. According to Harrison, the games will likely cost just as much as they do on consoles and PC.

Are there situations where games can be removed from my library?

Rarely, but yes. There are situations where licensing issues, lawsuits, or servers shutting down prevent players from accessing a game that they've purchased.

What most people don't realize is that when you buy a digital game, you don't technically own it. You are buying a license for the software to play it for the presumable future. There's nothing stopping a company from ending that license other than precedent—and the eventually fallout and controversy when people get angry.

Is there a precedent for hosting content that has been removed on other storefronts?

Yes. The most recent case of this may be with Telltale's games. The company shuttered in 2018 but its games were previously still on sale until recently. While they've since been removed from digital storefronts and you can no longer purchase them, those who previously purchased them before their removal can still find them in their game libraries and play them.

Jennifer Locke
Games Editor - PlayStation, Android, VR

Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.