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Google Stadia's latest bummer: Even Founders may not be able to play on Day 1

First ordered, first served. Though that doesn't really come as a surprise.

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Excited gamers at E3 playing Doom Eternal on Stadia.

James Martin/CNET

Google Stadia takes its place in the pantheon of eagerly awaited gaming products for which prelaunch downers gradually trickle out, steadily dampening gamers' ardor. Now it's dawned on some Reddit users that even if they paid $129 for the Founder's Edition or the more recently offered Premiere Edition to be the first online, they may not receive the necessary code to access it on launch day, Nov. 19. 

Those who preordered Google Stadia will get their code via email after their hardware kit ships, and those are going out in first-come-first-served order. "If you were one of the first gamers who preordered and have received your Founder's Editions, you'll be able to buy and play your favorite games beginning at 9 a.m. PT on Nov. 19," Google said in its launch-date blog post. They should all get the code within the first couple of weeks after launch, The Verge reports

On Friday, the Google Play Store began listing when Stadia preorders will ship for users, according to 9to5 Mac. Those who ordered immediately after the June 6 Connect event are expecting delivery dates of Nov. 21-22 with standard US shipping. An order for the Founder's Edition placed on Oct. 7 is showing delivery dates for Dec. 3-4. Prior to the clarification, the Google Play Store simply listed "ships in November." 

This follows news that at launch the cloud-gaming service won't work on mobile networks, only over Wi-Fi, and even then only on Google Pixel phones, and that wireless controllers will only work via the Chromecast Ultra. Plus, one of its flagship launch games, Doom Eternal, has been delayed until 2020.

Now playing: Watch this: Stadia announcement: All the cool games previewed

I've got a strict no preorder policy. After many years, it's sunk in that the hot disappointment of whatever bugs and bungles come at launch outstrips the early pains of FOMO. But despite being used to launch dates slip-slidin' away and game-breaking launch bugs, eager gamers still embrace the lead-up excitement and jump to be first in the pool -- though sometimes just to be able to say it was so shallow they broke their heads -- and will pay for the privilege.

There's a reason cloud-gaming services and technologies go into long, long public betas, like Nvidia's GeForce Now, which started in March 2018. With a seemingly infinite number of variables to account for -- various aspects of your network connection, innumerable variations on hardware, game developers who use workarounds that break something, latency and lag for input devices and more -- they're really, really hard to get right.

Unlike many companies, though, Google has never been averse to throwing something expensive at the wall that may not stick and sweeping it into the garbage without a qualm, like the late sort-of-lamented Google Plus. And with ardent gamers willing to pay to beta test (if they weren't, Early Access games would not be a thing), the only significant risk Google seems to be running is getting early reactions that are so negative they might be hard to overcome. 

Originally published Oct. 23.
Update, Oct. 25: Adds details about Stadia delivery dates.