Hard as it might be to believe, Stadia has only been out for a little more than a week now. In that time, Google's first foray into the console market has been plagued by problems. Take, for example, this latest controversy; each month, Stadia Pro users get free games to play. For the month of November, they could download Samurai Shodown and Destiny 2: The Collection. Yesterday, the company announced December's free games: Farming Simulator 19 and Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition. Having free games to play is a nice perk, but the only problem is that both of these games launched with Stadia last week, and many Stadia users just paid full price to purchase them. In a blog post from Google Community Manager Grace, the company has now offered to refund Stadia Pro users who bought one or both games.
"We know that some users have recently purchased these two games for their collection. Because of the proximity between the launch of the platform, and the announcement of these titles in Stadia Pro, we're happy to assist you if you'd like to request a refund if you have purchased either or both of these titles, even if it's outside of our normal policy."
Those last few words speak volumes from a customer service point-of-view, but this situation is a unique one. To their credit, Google's response on the issue was quick, and should appease some who were disappointed. It's hard, however, to not look at the situation and see a company that keeps shooting themselves in the foot. This entire situation could have easily been avoided had there been some kind of schedule in place for the free Pro games (particularly since Stadia launched with less than two weeks left in the month of November). Instead, once again, Google is playing catch-up.
Nearly every console has some issues at launch, but as more of these issues pop-up, Stadia is losing the war of word-of-mouth. Maybe the service will work flawlessly from now on and there won't be any more bad press. But gamers that were already hesitant to invest in a console where they don't physically own anything other than the controller are going to see these issues as further rationale to avoid game streaming. And for those still interested in the concept, Amazon is now rumored to join the game streaming race next year, which might be seen as a more viable solution. When looked at as a whole, Google needs to get these issues under control sooner, rather than later.
If you purchased Farming Simulator 19, or Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition on Stadia, you can apply for a refund here. What are your thoughts on Stadia so far? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!