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I canceled my Stadia pre-order — here's why

The controller used for Stadia
The controller used for Stadia (Image credit: Android Central)

Six months ago, right as Google's Stadia announcement wrapped up, I pre-ordered the $129 Founder's Edition as soon as I could. Stadia's concept of allowing you to play AAA-quality console games on virtually any screen still sounds like a pipe dream, but that's precisely what Stadia is promising.

Google quickly received a lot of criticism for Stadia as soon as it was unveiled, and that criticism has continued in the months following. I'm immensely hopeful for the future of the service and how it'll change the gaming industry as we know it, but even so, that wasn't enough to stop me from canceling my Founder's Edition pre-order.

There are a few factors that went into that decision, and today, I want to briefly touch on all of them.

As I just mentioned above, Stadia's main selling point is that it'll allow you to play games on a variety of screens — including your TV, laptop, phone, and tablet. That's the concept that initially sold me on Stadia in the first place, but from what we've seen so far, there will be some restrictions (at least at launch) that could really spoil the experience for a lot of potential users.

The requirement that you need a Chromecast Ultra (opens in new tab) to play Stadia on a TV doesn't bother me too much, but the fact that Google's only mentioned its Pixel devices for Android availability does have me worried.

At launch, Stadia will work on the Pixel 3/3 XL (opens in new tab) and 3a/3a XL (opens in new tab). While those are great phones, Google's decision to limit such a groundbreaking service to its own hardware is disheartening. The company has said that "more devices will be made available in the future," but that doesn't answer anything. I regularly switch between a OnePlus 7 Pro and Galaxy Note 10 as my daily Android phones, and as of right now, I have no idea when they'll be able to work with Stadia.

Google's promise of playing on any screen isn't shaping up the way I was expecting.

Similarly, iOS support is just as uncertain. While I do love Android, I also enjoy dipping my toes in the Apple ecosystem to see what the other side has to offer. Along with my other handsets, I also carry around an iPhone 11 Pro as my primary iOS devices and use an iPad Pro as my "laptop" for working while on the go. Stadia will work on iOS at some point, but Google has yet to give any concrete date for when that'll be.

So, of the four mobile devices I'm currently using, none of them will work with Stadia when the service launches — effectively canceling out the initial draw to the service that captivated me in the first place.

Moving right along, the game library we've seen so far for Stadia has been, frankly, disappointing. There are some big names on board, including the likes of Borderlands 3, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Destiny 2, and NBA 2K20, but compared to the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, it's an astonishingly small list.

None of the Call of Duty games are anywhere to be seen (including Modern Warfare), there isn't a single EA title yet (that means no Apex Legends, Battlefield, FIFA, or Madden), Rocket League is MIA, the list goes on. Jeez, even Minecraft and Skyrim — two games that are seemingly available on every platform imaginable — don't have a planned launch on Stadia.

This is something that'll be subjective for everyone as each person has their own gaming preferences, but it's going to take a long time for Stadia to build up a library that can compete with existing platforms. I understand that Stadia is still in its infancy and a lot can change in the coming months, but the Day One collection of games that should draw and excite people into signing up for Google's service just isn't cutting it for me.

Last and but not least, there's the issue of data caps for home internet services.

This is something I wasn't initially concerned with as I was a Spectrum customer, and even though I probably shouldn't have, I overlooked this critique and didn't worry about it the same way other people were. However, now that Xfinity has purchased the exclusive rights to my apartment complex and I was forced to sign up for its internet services, things have changed.

Right now, which ISP you have can make or break your decision to get Stadia.

Xfinity enforces a 1TB/month data cap here in Michigan, and when I had Xfinity at my old apartment, I regularly hit 500 - 700GB without doing any game streaming.

When using Stadia at its highest possible quality (4K at 60fps), it'll eat up 15.75GB every hour. That means I'd only be able to use Stadia for 65 hours every month (around two hours per day) before factoring in all of my other internet usage, such as video streaming, web browsing, uploading images for work, etc. 1TB of data might sound like a lot, but when you start to add everything up, you quickly realize that it isn't, and it's not even remotely conducive for game streaming.

Canceling my Stadia pre-order was not an easy decision, but it's the only one that made sense to me. I'd be happy to give the service another shot once Android and iOS support is expanded upon, the game library matures, and ISPs decide that data caps for home internet are asinine, but until then, I have to part ways with Stadia and wish it the best of luck.

Stadia: What you need to know about Google's game streaming service

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • I can understand why you would cancel your order based upon your mobile devices not being able to play Stadia. I own the Pixel 3 and will be upgrading to the Pixel 4 XL. ( I've been using the iPhone 8 Plus and the larger screen is glorious.) I also have an iPad Pro that I use as my "laptop" too, so in the mobile department i'm good. However You will be missing out on the three free months and with it three free games along with Destiny 2. I definitely want to play Destiny 2's new expansion so that's a win-win for me. It is a "roll-of-the-dice" situation since the other two free games could be crappy, but I hope that they'll be good. Plus I love my Google Pixel phone and honestly, if anyone in the world can make this technology work it's Google. Also about the whole Data cap debacle, I understand that people have data caps and don't want to go over them. Yet the only way to get rid of them is to encourage new technology like Stadia. Don't let your ISP dictate what gaming service you want, you pay for the internet and you should be able to play what you want for however long you want to. Now it's easy for me to say that since I have no data cap, but seriously make some noise if you have a data cap. make your ISP change.
  • Interesting that Destiny 2 is one of the "free" games at launch, it is also free on Steam as it is now a free game wherever you play it, so I do not see this grabbing a lot of people alone. Still have to buy DLC on Steam though, maybe they will give that free for Stadia? That said I think Stadia will be pretty big at launch.
  • Yes, all dlc is free on stadia
  • Just clarifying your comment all dlc for Destiny is free to Founders at the limited launch.
  • Destiny 2 on Stadia includes all the DLCs and expansions, which aren't included in Steam.
  • Destiny 2 and all its DLC (past and upcoming) will be included with Stadia. The "free" version of destiny is basically a rebranding. The base game is free to play with the majority of the content locked behind DLC. Should be interesting to see what happens its almost a win for stadia and bungie to launch this "new" version of destiny with stadia
  • Correct, the base game is free pretty much everywhere, but expansions and new seasons still cost money ($35 for all of Forsaken and $60 for all the Shadowkeep content with seasons) for every system except for Stadia if you get the Founder's/Starter pack at launch.
  • The Stadia Founder's Edition will include Shadowkeep and the annual pass. The free version on Steam is just New Light, and doesn't include Shadowkeep.
  • Sadly, ISPs in the US won't give a toss as they have de-facto monopolies in a large number of areas.
  • Agreed. The monopoly of ISPs is why I can't push myself to get Stadia. The data caps in my area are just too tough, especially when I am nearly hitting my cap each month without it. If Google's hopes are that ISPs will work with Google to offer a premium paid package to not use bandwidth for their specific services (Anti-Net-Neutrality), then that is a point in the WRONG direction in my opinion. Instead, they should work harder to push ISPs towards offering speeds and prices that fit the modern-day capabilities. For example, Comcast's page on net caps likes to tout 720p videos, loads of music files - all from over 10 years ago in data standards that were lacking even when they started capping data. Before the caps and still for many others, they just throttle the hell out of content after a certain point. Stadia won't be killed by anything other than the limits of most US ISPs. Maybe they'll have more luck in Europe, but I doubt it.
  • I'm glad someone understands the whole issue of data caps and how to combat them. I think Stadia's launch is a critical step in that process
  • ... only in the US..
  • Why would you think people can change the ISP's mind? This is one of the takes on net neutrality. It was repealed which limits this kind of technology. This is why I can't ever fully invest in streaming technology. Playing MMORPGs or Netflix is one thing but to fully stream throughout your day? Yeah, right. Luckily I have Frontier FiOS which doesn't do this but I'm lucky in that regard. We have 6 providers to choose from here and out of those 6, have not had a problem with Frontier. Spectrum Charter always froze up, etc. A lot of people only have 1 or 2 options which limits what anyone can choose from. I will never be with a company that has data caps. But the author brought up a point. If you live in an apartment, you're forced to have whatever ISP they offer. Around here, it's usually Spectrum because they give kickbacks to the complexes.
  • Destiny 2 will be a free game for everyone with this launch I believe. However there content you have access to will be limited. The shadowkeep expansion will not be free FYI
  • Ouya 2.0? Big promises, lofty dreams, little to no delivery.
  • Ouya is completely different than what Stadia is doing... Ouya failed because most of the games that it had were Android games, Stadia let's you stream triple A games...
    Google has the power and scale to do amazing things with Stadia, compared to a startup like Ouya
  • Ouya wasn't backed by Google, and they didn't have console games.
  • You both miss the point. I never said they were the same exact thing.
  • Then what was the point of referencing the Ouya to begin with, if not for comparison's sake?
  • Well, I was referencing the promises and lofty goals made, followed up by disappointment. I. E. The lack of games and support. And for those saying Google has the power and scale to do it.... Yeah, cause Google has never promised something huge and then just abandoned it. I'm not just hating on Google, I use and love the Android eco system. I was just saying Stadia, like Ouya, is someone new trying to break into the console game market with a new and unique concept. And there's already signs of it not delivering as promised. I hope it works out, as it's a great concept, but lots of Google products tend to stay concepts, or never quite make it out of the beta stage. This coming from a guy who bought an Ouya all those years ago. Still sitting in my dresser drawer, LOL.
  • Yeah, my Ouya and Gamestick is sitting on my shelf.
  • I really wanted a ouya, I'm really happy I decided to wait for the reviews.
  • Wish I would've, LOL. I paid extra for the limited edition bronze unit. I think it was $129 vs $99. I paid $30 for brown. Not my proudest moment.
  • I cancelled mine because I have to use ATT's crappy internet with the 1TB/monthly data cap. Google will need to work with ISP's to remove these limitations if it really wants to make Stadia happen.
  • Is this a paid article (or just uninformed)? Stadia is on record (from the very start) that they'll support ALL manner of mobile devices...after the early access period (November is NOT the public launch of the full service). The current PRE-LAUNCH game list is longer than PS or Xbox...and will OBVOIUSLY get longer and longer (or do you honestly believe that's the final list for the service even at public launch in 2020? Finally, using data caps as an EXCUSE is ridiculous: if you're approaching your cap already then you clearly have chosen to stream a lot (a LOT) of stuff...Netflix, maybe? So you personally prefer video streaming to gaming? That's your personal choice. Why not write about cancelling your Netflix account because of its impact on your data cap? Don't worry, though, when the free tier launches next year, you'll have another chance to consider the service without shelling out for the Founder's Edition bundle (it's really for people who ARE interested).
  • Agreed. I find it amazing what counts as journalism nowadays. "I got hyped, then cold feet." Okay...and...? Of course Google launching a new product will do initial tests/runs on their own hardware. The whole reason Stadia will either succeed or fail will be because of the platforms it's available on. Eventually you'll be able to play on anything from a Chromebook to a raspberry pi, and that was made clear by them. I knew at very least I would dabble with the free tier, and to do that I would need a controller, and as expensive as it is, I might as well get the founder's edition so I have a controller, 3 months for myself, an ultra, and 3 months for a friend, I can always downgrade later and enjoy the free tier.
  • No body said it wasn't a choice. The thing is I shouldn't have to stop using this service just because of data caps. I guess your for data caps while most people hate data caps
  • "Finally, using data caps as an EXCUSE is ridiculous:" No it's not. With more and more people getting all their TV via streaming these days, data caps is going to a huge issue for this service. An issue Google will have to help figure out if it wants this to succeed. "Why not write about cancelling your Netflix account because of its impact on your data cap?" Because this is an article about the possible issues around Stadia (of which data caps is a valid concern), not the authors steaming habits. Don't be ridiculous.
  • How do you, as an Apple user, complain that Stadia at launch will only be supported on Google's devices? At least Google has said they will make it available for other devices. Also your article (or the ad at the bottom of it) makes it seem like you need to buy the Cromecast Ultra in addition to the pre-order Stadia bundle, it should be made clear that the Stadia bundle includes a Chromecast Ultra.
  • Funmy he does not complain about Apple only services.. funny how that works
  • Because this isn't an article about Apple services... funny how that works.
  • For me there's not much risk in trying as the 15 day return policy works even if you use the Pro membership (will just lose the founders stuff when base launches, per Stadia page FAQ), but I can understand holding off for now if none of the features suit you at the moment. Would comment though that in terms of a new console launch, the game list is way larger than any other major console to date (that I'm aware of) so not sure what you mean by that. And if you are streaming 4K it will eat up your data, but 1080p should be a fraction of what you would use.
  • Since I live in Hawaii, it isn't even an option for me. I'll stick with my PS4 and Switch.
  • Just out of curiosity, what's your lag like?
  • I'm inclined to agree with your assessment. Stadia should be held until it can launch with support for iPhone, iPad, and Samsung phones, not just Pixel. If you want buy-in you go for the most popular (Samsung), the choice of the affluent (Apple) and of course your own (Pixel). Add the rest after a month or two.
  • Just wanted to add I think there is a bit of a misconception as to what November is, its a soft launch not all features are going to be available. They are doing a slow rollout to make sure everything is working the way it should, starting with the devices they know and own which is totally understandable. It has been announced that iOS and Android will be possible in the future, my money would be on the full public launch in early 2020. This is also much different than a standard console launch. As for the library of games it is not that much different than what was available for Xbox and Playstation at their various launches. 30 or so games is a pretty solid lineup. EA is in the air right now because they are also testing the waters with their own streaming service.
  • Should have kept it.. probably could sell it for at least equal price to someone who missed it. However, I'm keeping mine. This is going to be a fail unless Google proves that it has an audience. EA games will never come if people keep dropping their orders because they don't want to waste their development resources for a failed system. Google probably provided the resources or some financing for the original group of games that will be available at launch... And Google can't pay everyone
  • I read tech bloggers for their fair reviews of new products. This is just an opinion piece of why someone can't afford $140 to do their job. This guy makes his tech decisions on speculation and thinks is valid enough to write an entire article.
  • I mean, it got you to click on it AND comment so.....
  • So I understand Stadia won't be supported on devices other than Pixels at the very start, but presumably that is referring to using a Stadia app (?) As Stadia is purportedly to be usable via Chrome browser (not sure if that will be available right away), would that not be an alternative means to access it on iPhones, tablets, other Android devices etc?
  • What about shadow pc ?
    I am using it on all my devices pc/mac/android/ios for all the games :)
    I use it sometimes for photoshop also ! Way faster then my old PC
    The cap can be a problem if you play a lot ... same same here ;)
  • Yes it's a preview until next year but still seems half baked so far. To be honest I'm more excited by Microsoft's xCloud service. They have a track record in gaming and in cloud services.
  • I will check it out once it comes to my Nvidia Shield Android TV consoles. I have 4 so to buy something else wouldn't be a good option for me.
  • "Moving right along, the game library we've seen so far for Stadia has been, frankly, disappointing" Gasp! A brand new platform is a little lacking in games at launch?! Such a shocker. Other than that good points all around. I'll still be getting a founder's edition because I'm a sucker for limited editions and that founder's controller is calling my name. I'm also fortunate enough to have uncapped data, it's still Comcast but Verizon FiOS is in the zip code (just not my specific apartments) so they actually have competitive policies here.
  • I think the issue some people may have is Google has a tendency to cancel things. But with this you are having to buy hardware to use the service. Secondly I do not think ISP's will help much as it is not in their best interests most users I would imagine have to stay who they are with. You may not also sway many consoles gamers as they are already invested in their devices.
  • This product is definitely in favor of ISPs. Any ISP wants you to use more data. They make more money.
  • You canceled because you're a little boy that can't make up their mind and you wanted to smear an awesome device with this article but in reality you can't stick to your guns on anything so why should anyone take you serious. Take this L. Lame
  • It's actually better to wait. His concerns are more than valid. This service you can use for free before you move on to plunk down $130 on it. Also, it's not your money so who the hell are you to tell someone to do with their money when he clearly made spot on concerns.
  • Joe132251 bringing nothing new here.
    Moving on.
  • So, man orders service, thinks about it for a month, then cancels when absolutely nothing has changed in terms of what he's getting for his money, then writes story about it? All this does is dredge up the same constant "complaints", predictions and sky-falling doom that have been circulating non-stop. Buy it, don't buy it, there's nothing new here.
  • You realize not everyone sees every article about Stadia right? I for one had not heard these "complaints" or concerns yet, so the article was absolutely something new here for me.
  • If you were to have wanted to buy it before reading this article would you not have done any research. Phone and computer compatibility, data connection, what games are and will be available? Your comment almost seems like you rely on a blog for all the information you need to buy a product.
  • Well, I have Xfinity and I live in Michigan. You can pay $15 extra a month and get XFi Advantage added to your Internet which requires you to lease a modem from Xfinity but that is included in the price. My point is that the is NO data cap when using XFi Advantage on any plan over 300mbps. I look forward to Stadia and The way that it will change the game. Still, havent pre-ordered though...
  • Uhm..... Your consoles also use data when you are gaming so why is that a concern? Stadia isn't adding to gaming hours is just shifting them to another platform. As for the phone thing... Who plans on playing on their phone and carrying the controller evertwhere? Phone play is a novelty.
  • I debated about pre-ordering and Ive decided to wait a bit. Not that I don't have the devices to stream the service (I have a Pixel 3 xl and will be upgrading to the 4 xl soon, a pixelbook and a Chromecast Ultra) but I want to see if it would be worthwhile for me before I pay another monthly fee.
  • Makes sense to limit use by OEM other than Google. Gotta get some data before a mass rollout. Plus, compatibility with older Android versions may be an issue here as well.
  • You know what...I think I might cancel my Pre-order as well. I do not really have much time to game anymore and honestly it would probably be smarter for me to buy a switch