On the sixth of June this year I ordered a Google Stadia Founders Edition. Yes, I do own a gaming pc that will probably still run any recent AAA game at decent graphics, but I wanted to try this gaming streaming thing out because I like the concept and I want to try out new technologies. Also, yes, I’m a bit of a Google fanboy.
Like most of the Founders, I waited in great anticipation for the release on November 19th. Keeping an eye on /r/stadia, being my main source of information about the platform. A lot of announcements were made in this period and a lot of things changed, but nothing earth-shattering as far as I was concerned.
But then, when the release date came closer, rumors began to appear that not all founders would get to play Stadia on the release date. I feared that I would be one of those founders because I only ordered a month after the pre-orders had opened.
And on November 19th, as expected: nothing. At this point, Google announced that Stadia packs and activation codes would be sent out in batches. Honestly, this was very disappointing for me because I looked forward to this day. If they had announced this way of working beforehand, this wouldn’t have been any problem for me, I would have known that it would be a few days after the said release date. But now there was anticipation and an anticlimax on the release date.
The few days after that, I refreshed both /r/stadia and the Google Store order page several times an hour. I also watched several reviews on YouTube by video creators that may or may not have received their Stadia code. This is where I got a bit sad and disappointed, a lot of content creators and Reddit users were criticizing the product solely on the fact that they did not yet receive their stadia code. And loads of them advised to cancel the order or boycott the release. I mean, yes, I was disappointed that I didn’t get my product on the release date. But I still believed in the product and wanted to try it out. The fact that Google messed up the release didn’t change anything to Stadia itself.
On November 20th, in the afternoon, I got a message that my Stadia Founders Edition was shipped and would be delivered in the next two days. And sure enough, the next day I got my paperweight! To clarify, this was one of the community jokes I thought to be funny: because you needed an unlock code to open the Stadia app and these codes were send via email after you received the Founders Edition, the package was pretty much useless without this code.
So I went home from work yesterday, already half proud to have a Founders Edition box with me that enabled me to pre-install the Chromecast and see if the controller is a good fit for my hands (yes, I’m very picky when it comes to controllers). Totally unexpected, while installing the Chromecast, I got a notification on my phone saying: “It’s time for Stadia”! So yes, that evening I got to try out Stadia for real!
I intended to play Destiny 2 first to see what the latency was like before buying any other games. I don’t know much about Destiny 2, but I figured it’s a good way to test and if I like the game that’s an extra. So I started the game instantly through my browser, skipped character creation and went straight for the first mission. It didn’t take long to see that yes, there is latency, but it is easily negligible. If you are looking for some lag, you will find it, but once you start a firefight and get engulfed in the game, you barely notice any delay.
So, I was happy that it worked great, and went for the second test. I had been waiting on Stadia to play the game Assassins Creed: Oddysey. So I bought the game and it instantly appeared on my Stadia home page. A few hours later, I was extremely happy with Google Stadia, it just works.
I’m hoping Google will invest more in this product and add more features by the time it opens up to everyone in 2020. At the moment I’m not really fond of the layout as it will quickly fill up when you extend your games library on the platform. The in-game overlays hower are great and work perfectly. The only thing that I miss is to maybe add the option to not game in full screen. This would make it much easier to switch to another program mid-game if you wanted to look something up or read a notification from some other program.
All in all, I like the product, it was worth the wait. I will be buying more games on Stadia because it’s a great way to play wherever you go. I’ll just have to keep an eye on my data cap, please Belgian isp’s fix this…
TL;DR: Don’t call a product bad because the launch of the product was messed up by a company and don’t just believe any reviewer. Do your own research because in the end, when you get your own experience, it can be amazing!