Google Stadia is launching on November 19, the company announced at its recent hardware launch event. Google also released a new video detailing how the cloud gaming service works. And it looks like Google’s promise of seamless portability with the Stadia Controller was a tad misleading.
Fine print in the official Stadia video (see below) says that the Stadia controller will only support wireless play on a TV using a Chromecast Ultra at launch.
So if you were planning to use the Stadia controller with your Google Pixel smartphone, supported tablets, or your laptop, you will have to plug it in using a cable.
“At launch, wireless play with the Stadia controller is only available on TV using a Chromecast Ultra,” the video notes.
Some Stadia enthusiasts also took to Reddit to clear any confusion about this fine print, to which a Googler said the following:
“As for wireless gameplay, this is limited to Chromecast Ultra. When plugged in via USB cable, the Stadia Controller acts as a standard USB HID controller and may work on other platforms depending on the game and setup.”
The Stadia Controller is a proprietary piece of hardware that connects to Google’s servers through Wi-Fi. This means minimal to virtually no lag while gaming.
There’s a USB-A to USB-C cable bundled with both the Founder’s Edition and Premiere Edition of the Stadia controller. While this will suffice for most laptops, Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 owners will have to use an adapter, which might not be ideal for a lag-free experience.
It’s unclear why Google is not making the Stadia controller wirelessly compatible with devices other than Chromecast Ultra. After all, the controller technically does not need a bridge to connect to Google’s servers, connecting directly to the service in the first place.
It’s possible Google will extend the wireless play functionality to other Stadia-ready devices post launch.