People usually pre-order something because they want to have it as soon as possible. This is especially true when it comes to games--nobody wants to pre-order something without a guarantee they'll be able to play it right away. But yesterday Google confirmed to The Verge that not everyone who pre-ordered the Founder's Edition and Premiere Edition bundles for the Google Stadia game streaming platform will have received the product at launch. That means they won't be able to use Stadia proper, either.
Google technically disclosed this on October 15, when it said that Stadia Founder's Edition bundles would "start arriving on gamers' doorsteps" on November 19, assuming "you were one of the first gamers who pre-ordered." That kind of hedging is common for shipping announcements, though, because many aspects of the product's delivery is out of their hands. Despite that notice, it'd be hard to blame pre-order customers for assuming their order would arrive in time for Stadia's debut.
The Verge reported that Google expects to ship all Stadia Founder's Edition and Premier Edition bundles within two weeks of Stadia's launch. The report also claimed the Premier Edition bundle available via the online Google Store displayed a November shipment date with standard shipping. That's no longer the case, however. We were told the Premier Edition bundle would ship in December if we didn't choose priority or expedited shipping at checkout. The timeline is slipping.
This might not seem like too big a deal -- what's a few weeks without access to a platform that will probably be rough at launch anyway? In addition, Stadia Founder's Edition pre-order customers still get special treatment, including a limited edition controller and three months of Stadia Pro service to gift to a friend, even if their bundle doesn't arrive before November 19.
But that misses the point of pre-ordering a product--especially when that product offers the only way to access a new service. Stadia will reach other devices when its basic subscription plan debuts sometime in 2020. Until then, however, it's restricted to the Chromecast Ultra 4K streaming hardware that ships with these hardware bundles. Some people who paid $130 to experience Google's vision for the future of gaming at launch will have to wait longer than they could have reasonably anticipated when they pre-ordered.