Stadia Wireless Play Requires Chromecast Ultra at Launch, USB Cable Needed Otherwise

Oct 17, 2019
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Google Stadia launches in about a month if you ponied up for the Founder’s or Limited Editions, but it seems early adopters will have to deal with a few quirks and limitations. For starters, at launch Stadia’s much-touted controller will only be wireless if you’re playing via a Chromecast Ultra. If you’re playing on your computer or a mobile device, you’ll need to connect the controller with a USB-C cable. A rather janky solution for what’s supposed to be a cutting-edge platform.

For those who haven’t been keeping up with all things Stadia, Google originally promised you could seamlessly transition between screens without having to pair up with each new device, as the Stadia controller is supposed to bypass local hardware, connecting directly to your game running in the cloud via Wi-Fi. Well, according to a Google community manager on Reddit, that won’t be the case at launch…

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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. […] At launch, if you're looking to access Stadia on computers, tablets, and phones, you'll need to connect your controller via USB. Sorry for the confusion.

That’s not the end of the wires – it’s previously been confirmed Bluetooth won’t be available at launch, so you’re going to have to plug in any headsets or other accessories. So why won’t full wireless play be available at launch? According to The Verge, Google is saying they want to focus on getting TV play right first, as they see that as the core of their business. I suppose that makes sense, but the ability to transition between screens is a pretty big feature to leave on the back burner.

The Google Stadia Founder’s and Premiere Editions, which come with a Chromecast Ultra, launch November 19 in 14 countries, including United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. You can pre-order here.

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