The sudden announcement of Google Stadia’s demise may have come as a shock, but it certainly wasn’t a surprise.
Since its launch in 2018, Google Stadia has struggled to find a large audience, which has only gotten worse with Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce Now dominating the space.
Whether it’s the business model that killed him, or a general lack of interest, Stadia’s demise was in the cards long before he had a chance to make a name for himself.
Google Stadia may have been the troublesome child in the cloud gaming litter, but it wasn’t entirely lacking in good qualities. I loved the updated chat system, the integrated YouTube Gaming live stream, and the overall user experience (including menu navigation and low latency) was great. But most of all, Stadia had a controller that should make other manufacturers jealous.
At first glance, the Google Stadia controller doesn’t look special. It has a similar silhouette to the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, or a slightly slimmer Xbox 360 keyboard. But in my hands, the Stadia controller feels… right.
It’s a wonderfully comfortable controller just to hold. Its buttons and sticks are of high quality to the touch. And I love the robust collection of shortcut buttons in the center of the keyboard that let you easily capture screenshots, access Google Assistant for voice-based navigation, and more.
Google has clearly invested a lot of resources into researching and developing a controller for Stadia. It is all the effort that now, unfortunately, may have been wasted. Google is already in the process of delisting Stadia hardware as its controller and offering refunds to anyone who owns one.
After the Stadia cut-off date of January 18, 2023, the pad will no longer be able to connect to your PC wirelessly. You should still be able to use it as a generic controller via a wired USB-C connection, but if you want to go wireless then you’re out of luck.
That’s only if Google chooses not to unlock Bluetooth functionality for the Stadia controller. the pillow store page (opens in new tab) confirms that it supports Bluetooth, but this functionality has never been activated. Now that Stadia is out, maybe that Bluetooth functionality will be there for that event. It would be a fantastic way to keep the Stadia controller in use after the service has ended.
Google is offering refunds to the controller, which is more than you might expect from a company that is shutting down a service, but it would be a shame if the technology ended up in a landfill somewhere where it could live as an excellent third party. party controller.