Stadia has a lot of things going for it not the least of which is the ability to share the gaming experience with a friend, thanks to the "Buddy Pass" that Google highlighted would be given to those who purchase the Stadia Founder's Edition Bundle so that they could give one friend or family member three months of free access to Stadia Pro.
Except, those buddy passes will be delivered sometime within the six months after Founder's Edition buyers receive their bundle purchases, which are showing up sometime in November following the service's launch.
This poses something of a problem for anyone who was hoping to grab the bundle and then immediately share the gameplay experience with a buddy, which is no doubt the more fun way to play some of the games that will be available on the service especially for Destiny 2, the game Stadia has been hyping as its most prominent launch title.
To Google's credit, it never explicitly stated that buddy passes would be available the same day as those who bought the bundles got their own free three months of Stadia Pro, but it also didn't make any effort to put the information front and center that these passes could arrive months after their friends have already been playing.
Instead, the information is neatly tucked away at the very bottom of the Stadia landing page just about as far away from any eyes as possible that may care to have seen it. Google isn't necessarily trying to hide this fact but it's not broadcasting it either. What it is broadcasting is that the Founder's Edition Bundle comes with the buddy pass, which leads you to believe that you can play with a friend when Stadia goes live.
Hearing this information on the stream for Stadia Connect where Google announced the pricing and release date information for its upcoming cloud gaming platform, users could be forgiven for getting excited that they might be able to play with friends who were on the fence about subscribing and/or buying a bundle for themselves.
That scenario is still very much a possibility, it just won't be happening for the better part of half a year. Google's information about the Buddy Pass on the landing page states that it will be sent to the buyer "within six months" of the delivery of the Founder's Edition. So there's every possibility that it could show up much sooner than six months, but that also means there is every possibility that the pass won't be sent out until next May.
This could pose a problem for a number of reasons. Some customers may have purchased the Founder's Edition thinking they would get the Buddy Pass right away. Others may have split the cost of the bundle with a friend who would be taking over that pass and then purchasing the required additional controller as soon as possible, as the bundle only comes with one.
If any consumers bought the bundle with these intentions, it seems they'll be playing games alone unless the intended buddy plans to buy a Founder's Edition of their own.
As the Buddy Pass appeared to be one of the highlighted selling points of the Founder's Edition, this seems like information Google would want to make more visible to any potential buyers.
If the pass actually does take six months to be delivered, then it also needs to be considered that whoever received the pass may have stopped playing games on Stadia and stopped subscribing to the service. In which case the friend who was supposed to get that pass now may have no buddy to actually play with.
It's very possible that Buddy Passes may show up fairly early, but whatever Google's reasons are for delaying the Buddy Passes until later, and possibly until a few months into 2020, the reality is that the passes may not be delivered until sometime next year and it means the only sure bet for playing with your friends right away is if you all get the bundle.