Playing Google Stadia games on launch day may not be as straightforward as you think.
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As we got closer to this week's Nov. 19 launch day, Google started to talk about when exactly you'll be able to play, which devices you'll be able to play on, and which games will be available when Stadia goes live. Here's what we know about playing Google Stadia.
If you preordered the Founder's Edition or Premiere Edition, you may be able to play when the gaming service opens Nov. 19 at 9 am PT: Google said it's shipping the Founder's and Premiere editions on a first-come, first-served basis, with initial shipments leaving the warehouse Nov. 18. You don't need this to play, and more on that below.
The good news is, you don't need your bundle to arrive to play. On the day Google ships your order, it will send you an email with an invite code that lets you create your account and reserve your name in the Android app or iOS app. You also use the Stadia app to purchase games.
After you're set up, you can play Stadia games on your Pixel phone or in your Chrome browser while you wait for your limited-edition controller and Chromecast Ultra streaming device to arrive.
You can also play in the Chrome browser on a computer, and you can use a USB cable to connect a non-Stadia controller to your mobile device or computer to play.
To play on your TV at launch, you'll need to use the Stadia Controller and
Google Chromecast Ultra
that comes with your order: That Stadia-specific Chromecast Ultra includes firmware for the Stadia Controller. Google said soon after launch, it will push an over-the-air firmware update to non-Stadia Chromecast Ultras so they can also work with the Stadia Controller.
What if I didn't buy the Founder's or Premiere edition?
If you didn't pop for the $129 Founder's or Premiere bundle, you'll need to wait till next year, when you can play on the Stadia Base level for free, purchasing individual games as you go.
Which games are available on launch?
Google initially said Stadia would have a dozen games to play on its Nov. 19 release date:
Prices range from $10 to $100 per game, with many in the $50 to $60 range. In addition to the 22 games out now, Google said it will have four more games available by the end of the year. Google said you have 14 days after purchase to get a refund on Stadia games you've played for less than two hours.