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Two days after launch, Google Stadia founders finally have their access codes

The launch of Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service has been an absolute mess, overpromising and underdelivering at every turn — but at least those gamers who put their faith in Google can actually play now. Google just tweeted that it has finally delivered access codes to everyone who purchased the $130 Stadia Founder’s Edition — some of whom were sitting around with useless Stadia gamepads, waiting for the ability to actually be a “Founder”, until today.

Here’s the latest update: If you ordered and paid for Founder’s Edition, you should now have your Stadia access code.

Pre-orders and access codes for Premiere Edition will start shipping early next week. Thanks for sticking with us!

As you can see, Google says it’ll ship the Premiere Edition next week to those buyers who missed the Founder’s Edition cutoff.

It’s still not clear why Google felt it needed to individually email access codes to each and every person, why it decided not to do so until it had mailed physical packages to each person, or why Google decided to ship those packages on a first-come, first-served basis instead of all at once.

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But regardless, Google created the impression that Founders would be able to play at launch, pointedly telling them in a recent Reddit AMA that they’d be able to join the game much sooner because “Stadia IS NOT A BOX!”

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.”

It’s become increasingly clear, though, that Google is willing to bend the truth to ridiculous extremes if it means being able to pretend that Stadia had a successful launch — like when it initially told us that Destiny 2 was running in 4K. Here’s a paragraph from my review:

Initially, Google told us that it was using the highest-resolution, highest-fidelity build of Destiny 2 available. But Bungie later confirmed that our eyes weren’t deceiving us. “When streaming at 4K, we render at a native 1080p and then upsample and apply a variety of techniques to increase the overall quality of effect,” a Bungie rep said, adding that D2 runs at the PC equivalent of medium settings. That explains why the Xbox One X build, which runs at a native 4K and with higher-res assets, looks so much better than Stadia.

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Now, Founders don’t need to take my word for it — they can go see for themselves. (And if by any chance you notice your Chromecast Ultra overheating, or know what happened inside Google such that it missed so badly on so many launch promises, I’d love to hear from you.)

Despite all of this, I’m still impressed by Stadia’s tech and ease of use, and bullish on cloud gaming in general. You can read more about those things in our full review.

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