Ahead of Google Stadia’s shutdown on 18th January 2023, Google has announced that they will release a “self-serve tool” to allow owners to update their Stadia Controller with general Bluetooth support, making them usable with gaming PCs, smartphones and more.
Google will provide more details when they release the tool next week, but this will likely mean that you’ll be able to repurpose the Stadia Controller (which is a pretty great controller, it must be said) for wireless use with gaming PCs and Android phones. There’s also a chance there might be some form of iOS functionality, and this could even be compatible with more devices through Bluetooth adapters.
Prior to this update, the Stadia Controller was entirely designed to be used with Stadia and Stadia only. While it was possible to connect the controller to PCs and Android devices with a USB cable, the intent was for the Stadia Controller to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi, more directly communicating with Stadia game servers to reduce in put latency by a few milliseconds, while the stream was then displayed on phone, laptop, computer or TV separately.
With Stadia’s shutdown announcement, Google is refunding users for all purchases made with the service. Whether it was hardware or games, they’re processing refunds on everything except for subscriptions, leaving many Stadia users with a free Chromecast and Stadia Controller.
The Chromecast has always been a multi-purpose device, but there were concerns that the Stadia Controllers would become e-waste, unusable with any other device – certainly this was the case with all the OnLive controllers a decade ago. Thankfully, this tool will mean they can be put to other uses, and whether that’s 100,000 controllers or 10 million, that’s important given how variable the ability to recycle electronic devices is around the world.
Similarly important to users is the ability to take your saved games and accounts off Stadia before it closes. Ubisoft, Bungie, I/O Interactive, CD Projekt Red, Rockstar Games, and Bethesda all have programmes to enable this.
Google has also released on last game to Stadia just a few days before it shuts down called Worm Game – play it here. It’s a simple arcade game for both single-player and online multiplayer, that Google originally created to test Stadia. They write, “Worm Game is a humble title we used to test many of Stadia’s features, starting well before our 2019 public launch, right through 2022. It won’t win Game of the Year, but the Stadia team spent a LOT of time playing it, and we thought we’d share it with you. Thanks for playing, and for everything.”