The Verge reports that not all who’ve bought into the Google Stadia pre-order hype will be able to play the console come launch day on Nov. 19 at 9 AM PST/5 PM BST/6 PM CET, further framing the launch of Google’s first console in a less than flattering light.
Google claims that consumers who purchased one of the now sold-out Stadia Founder’s Edition will receive their Stadia kits on a first-come, first-served basis. The same fate awaits those who were late to the party and picked up the recently marketed Premier Edition.
This means that if even if you missed the boat by a few days and forked out $130 for the Founder’s Edition, you may have to wait up to two weeks after launch to use the service. It’s pretty damning stuff for what amounts to an exclusive pre-order for a much hyped new service.
In the report, Google points towards a blog post dated Oct. 15, which explains consumers will start receiving kits from Nov. 19. It reads;
Stadia Founder’s Editions and Stadia Premiere Editions will begin shipping in the same order that pre-orders were received.
It’s clear as day, but the fact such a logistics issue exists doesn’t augur well for the Stadia. Furthermore, recent research reveals that Stadia controller’s wireless capability would be limited to TVs equipped with Chromecast Ultra. Other setups must use a tethered connection using a USB-C cable.
So, you might not even receive the console at launch, and it only partially works as advertised. Thankfully a launch roster including Red Dead Redemption 2 and Mortal Kombat 11 dampens the shock somewhat.
The Google Stadia Is Still An Unknown Quantity
Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft have decades of experience to tap into when it comes to releasing consoles, and there’s trust among consumers that they will get each successive product right.
Google, on the other hand, is venturing into the exclusive console club mostly blind, and the company has yet to establish a reputation for delivering viable products that work. These successive caveats to the Stadia launch make it difficult to buy into Google orchestrating a successful launch.
The fact Stadia goes largely unproven, bar a test running Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which produced mixed results, goes hand in hand with that idea that Google is venturing into unknown territory. Nebulous claims of future ‘negative latency’ don’t help either.
There’s also the notion of the costs associated with maintaining a working Google Stadia. Both the Founders and Premier Editions ship with a controller, a Chromecast Ultra, and a three-month Stadia Pro subscription (includes regular free games starting with Destiny 2: The Collection) for $130.
But, once the subscription runs out, and before Google launches the free Stadia Base subscription tier on an undisclosed date next year, players must shell out $10 per month. On top of that, you’ll need to pay full retail price for the actual games.
These costs can likely mount up rapidly. Although less or on par with the price of a console + games from one of the established three console behemoths, we revert to the idea that the Stadia has yet to prove its credentials. We’ll have to wait and see whether consumers are willing to invest in long term promises on a seamless streaming service with a broad library of titles that we’ve seen little evidence of to date.