The day is finally here! Stadia is officially ‘launched’ and users are receiving their controllers left and right. My Founders Edition box showed up on my porch around 11am this morning and I was so excited to get it unboxed, get the controller in my hands, and get my shiny new Chromecast Ultra hooked up and ready to start playing.
That took all of about 10 minutes and then I knew there’d be a small wait. After all, Google said that Stadia would launch at 9am PST or 12pm EST, so I knew I’d have to wait a few minutes to get my email with my invite code. I was content to just get as far as I could in the setup process and then go about my normal lunch routine until the code hit my inbox.
Lunch came and went, and at 12:45pm I was starting to wonder what was going on. Wasn’t launch at 12pm? How hard is it to send out invite codes for a company who literally owns Gmail? More difficult than we thought, apparently. Here I sit at 2:30pm and my invite email hasn’t arrived, even though my Founders Edition bundle has been in my possession for 3 hours and Stadia technically launched 2.5 hours ago.
With months of build-up and tons of users eagerly awaiting this day and this moment, I can’t express to you how terrible it feels to be staring at the TV here in the office, just waiting for a silly code to actually get Stadia up and running. My real concern with this whole launch was how quickly the Chromecast Ultra/Controller bundles would ship out, but now the real problem has come down to a simple email not showing up. These codes could have been sent out days ago if not weeks!
Feeling pretty impatient, I jumped into a chat with the Stadia Help page and was informed that the window for delivery of my invite code was “by today or tomorrow.” So Google, what you’re telling me is you got the hard part of building, distributing, and shipping out hardware just right, but you couldn’t arrange sending out an email on time?
For a service that is trying to upend an already-established model, this isn’t the best start. I liken this to pre-ordering the Nintendo Switch, going to the store to pick it up, and then being told they I can’t actually play any games until I have an email from Nintendo. The hard part is done. How is a simple email the stumbling block, here? This really makes little sense and is a bad look for Stadia out of the gate.
As we’ve looked around the internet (Twitter and Reddit), it seems I’m not alone. Scores of users are aggravatingly asking where their invite codes are and the problem is, I’ve not seen a good response to any of their requests yet. If invite codes are being dripped out, why not just make that announcement? Instead, we have the Stadia Twitter account dropping tweets like this, painfully oblivious that the vast majority of early adopters are sitting around just waiting for an email to actually do anything with this ‘launched’ platform:
It’s time. Time to unthink the things you think are things. Stadia starts arriving today! 🥳 pic.twitter.com/T6syknqk36— Stadia (@GoogleStadia) November 19, 2019
Sorry guys, but Stadia isn’t really available if we can’t even begin to access it. For all the hype and lead up to a day like today, this has been a monumental failure so far. I don’t expect all the features Stadia will one day posses to be on offer and I don’t even expect it to work without a single hiccup. As a person who ordered the earliest moment I possibly could, I just expected to be able to give it a try at launch.