Seven months after its late November launch, Google Stadia is still trying to find its footing. The service is host to a number of high-profile third-party games, including Red Dead Redemption 2 and Destiny 2, but a lack of exclusive titles, confusing entry points, and missing features have led to low adoption. Google is continuing to improve the service though.
Today, Google announced that wireless Stadia controller support would be coming to Android devices. "Playing games with Stadia on your phone just got better. You can now start playing wirelessly using the Stadia Controller on your Android mobile device. The update will be ready on June 30, and you’ll need the latest version of the Stadia app to get going," said the Stadia team in a blog post today. "To play games with your Stadia Controller wirelessly, set up your phone and your Stadia Controller on the same Wi-Fi network, launch a game, and follow the pairing instructions on the screen."
The Stadia controller isn't required to play games on the service, but it does make things a bit simpler, as you can use it to move from device to device. The problem was the controller only connected wirelessly on TV (via the Chromecast Ultra) or on a desktop PC. Using the controller on an Android mobile device required you to use a USB 3.0 cable, despite the controller having Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Part of Stadia's problem is it's hard to explain to folks exactly where and how you can play Stadia's games.
The Stadia Pro subscription service is getting four new games for July: Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, SteamWorld Dig, West of Loathing, and Crayta. The other titles are available on other platforms, but Crayta is making its first appearance on Stadia.
Earlier this month, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick admitted that Google set expectations a bit too high. "The launch of Stadia has been slow," said Zelnick. "I think there was some overpromising on what the technology could deliver and some consumer disappointment as a result." Despite that, developers and publishers are still working with Google on the platform. Serious Sam 4 will be exclusive to PC and Stadia before it comes to other platforms. And Crystal Dynamics, the studio currently working on Marvel's Avengers, admitted that Stadia has helped the team test its game, even as the pandemic has forced them to work from home.
Despite today's update, Google Stadia still has a long way to go in terms of features and in terms of finding out who the service is really for.