Google's Stadia wireless controller will require physical cable for PCs and mobile devices at launch
Google’s Stadia game streaming service is set to launch on November 19th, but gamers who bought the Founder’s Edition bundle may need to purchase an extra cable for the included wireless controller. A video released by Google earlier this week included a disclaimer that confirms the Stadia wireless controller will not work wirelessly with PCs or compatible smartphones at launch.
The disclaimer states that “at launch, wireless play with the Stadia Controller is only available on TV using a Chromecast Ultra,” which led some to believe the controller wouldn’t be compatible with any other device. Google published a post on r/Stadia to clarify the disclaimer. According to the tech giant, the controller will be compatible with PCs and supported mobile devices, but only as a “standard USB HID controller” when plugged in via a USB cable.
That means the seamless “cross-screen” gameplay will have a major hurdle. Rather than simply moving from playing on a TV (via a Chromecast Ultra) to a PC or their phone, players will have to take the additional step of plugging in a USB cable. Sure, it’s not a huge deal to plug a cable in, but it interrupts the advertised smooth flow from screen to screen.
As 9to5Google (rightly) points out, it’s curious that the controller would require a physical connection of any kind; the Stadia Controller connects to Google’s servers through its own WiFi chip and theoretically sends inputs to those cloud servers. Google will likely update the service to better support full wireless capability, but as it stands, some assembly may be required.