Stadia is supposed to represent the future of gaming, or at least one possible future that revolves around streaming. You buy, not rent, a game to play, run it on Google’s massive data centers, and have it streamed to almost any device, with some AI and machine learning magic to help cut back on natural latency from this back and forth process. In reality, however, the launch of Google first formal foray into the gaming market under its own name is turning out to be quite the mess and the harshest words are coming from the platform’s earliest believers who now feel they have been deceived by the company’s sugary words and promises.
This very vocal group is made up of “Founders”, the term given to early adopters who put their money where their mouths are by pre-ordering the game or, in this case, a subscription. Google made it clear that not only would these Founders get dibs on Stadia when it launches, they will also be treated to a “first come, first served” queue. That applies not only to getting access codes before anyone else but also to registering their unique names on the service.
That has apparently not happened in the most ideal situation that Google planned. Many Founders still don’t have their access codes while others do, breaking that processing order that Google promised. That, in turn, has resulted in these early adopters being unable to reserve the name they would have wanted, even if, by pre-order sequence, they should have been first.
To its credit, Google did respond but it is as much as you would expect from a PR response. An issue was discovered and has been addressed and that’s pretty much it. No course of action or compensation has been mentioned.
This is, sadly, just the latest in a growing list of issues with Google Stadia that started with a paltry list of launch titles and has also included performance concerns. Google did mention that Stadia would be growing and improving over time as the platform matures but that’s never an excuse not to put your best foot forward. Especially when you’re asking “Founders” to believe in that promise and invest in your business.