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A day later, many Google Stadia founders still don’t have their launch codes

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They can’t play or reserve their name, despite initial promises

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

On June 6th, Google opened up preorders for the $130 “Founder’s Edition” of its Stadia cloud gaming service, promising those buyers would be the first to experience the future of gaming — and reserve a unique username. Though Stadia went live on November 19th, many buyers are still reporting they haven’t received the most crucial piece of the entire Stadia package: the invite email that opens the door to actually let them in.

Many on Stadia’s official Discord server are performing what they’re calling a “code check” to let others know whether their codes have been sent, and whether their devices have actually been shipped. Others are getting codes, but some say the usernames they wanted are already taken.

As of 9:14PM ET on November 20th, Google confirmed that it’s finished sending out the codes for those who pre-ordered in June, with one caveat:

We can confirm that if you pre-ordered Founder’s Edition in June, and your form of payment has now been charged, your Stadia access code has been sent to you via email. We are now moving in sequence through the orders placed on or after July 1st. We will post further updates here and on our social channels.

But as of this morning, a day after launch, we still found loads of reports on Twitter like the below:

The official r/Stadia subreddit had been taken over by memes like this one:

On Reddit, Google initially said it was investigating the issue:

We’re aware that some of you who pre-ordered Founder’s Edition may not have received your invite codes in the expected time-frame. The Stadia team is actively investigating this issue, and we’ll be back with an update as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

But Google didn’t actually address the delay when it completed that investigation.

We’re sorry for the delayed responses. We’ve identified an issue where a small fraction of Stadia access codes were sent out of order. That has been addressed. We’ve continued to roll out codes in the sequence in which we received your pre-order. We look forward to seeing you on Stadia.

And on Twitter, the official Google Stadia account replied to one Founder suggesting a delay wasn’t necessarily unexpected:

Google has confirmed to The Verge that this timeline described in this tweet is accurate.

But that’s not what Google originally promised — not a vague “maybe by the end of November 20th” date. The company promised that at least the initial wave of Founders would be able to play on day one. Here’s how the company appeased early customers in a recent Reddit AMA when telling them about some of the other misses at launch:

Stadia IS NOT A BOX! You don’t need our hardware to start playing, remember? Right after we ship your order (but not earlier than 9AM PST 11/19), we’ll send you an email with the invite code. You can use it immediately to create your account and reserve your Stadia name in the Stadia app on Android or iOS. Just for clarity: the first day is a little special, if we ship your order on 11/18, you’ll receive the code on 11/19.”

Why, for that matter, does Google need to wait to send out these codes until the physical devices ship at all? I thought Stadia wasn’t a box.

For now, this is just one more surprise disappointment in a long series of surprise disappointments. It actually seems a little minor compared to the the reveal in our review that Stadia’s servers can’t actually run flagship titles at 4K.

By the way, the controller clip that Stadia early adopters will need to mount a phone to their gamepad has now appeared on Google’s site. It will not surprise you that it’s not yet available for purchase.

Here are a few more tweets from November 20th, a day after Stadia’s launch:

Update, November 20th at 1:02 PM ET: With confirmation from Google of a timeline that suggests some day-one buyers may not receive launch codes until end-of-day November 20th, and evidence that buyers are still waiting for codes.

Update, November 20th at 10:35 PM ET: With Google’s claim that all the codes have now been sent to those who pre-ordered in June, assuming they’ve been charged for their preorder.