The best way to get the full Stadia experience today is by playing on a TV with the Chromecast Ultra. It’s the only factor where the Stadia Controller connects directly to Google’s servers. Wireless support for phones and desktops is currently scheduled to come in 2020.
Since announcing the streaming platform, Google has touted the Stadia Controller as providing the most latency free experience by connecting directly over Wi-Fi to your Stadia instance in the cloud. In mid-October, Google said that it’s “working to add wireless options for those endpoints soon after launch.”
Sometime around November 19th, the Google Store listing for Premiere Edition was updated to note how “Stadia Controller wireless support for laptops, desktops, and select tablets and phones is coming in 2020.” While Google’s original guidance never provided a hard timeframe, “soon” somewhat implied a more immediate timeframe than 2020.
In the meantime, Stadia supports third-party controllers from Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and Sony PlayStation. Most can be paired over Bluetooth to Pixel phones and laptops/desktops for wire-free gameplay. Using the Stadia Controller with USB-C is an okay experience today, but it just adds another obstacle to seamlessly starting.
Other Stadia Controller-related functionality that’s not yet available is Bluetooth audio for headsets, while mobile lacks screen captures and replying to voice chat. The two latter features presumably require — and are tied to — wirelessly Controller connectivity for data transfer. Google Assistant is not yet available on any platform for basic queries and commands, but it’s coming first to the Stadia Controller with Chromecast. That’s currently quoted as “coming soon.”
More about Google Stadia:
- Stadia’s first-party games studio is led by several Assassin’s Creed veterans
- [Update: FCC gallery] Stadia Controller proves difficult to open in teardown
- Chromecast Ultra can enable your TV’s game mode to reduce Stadia latency
- You can play Google Stadia on almost any Android phone with root
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