Google Stadia has come up with a way to ditch the fancy gamepad for TV play

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Today, there is only one official way to play Google’s Stadia game streaming service on your 4K TV: the latest generation of Chromecast Ultra, which is connected via Wi-Fi to the company’s own Stadia controller. That’s because Google hasn’t yet transitioned Stadia to the new and improved $ 50 Chromecast, and its predecessor didn’t support Bluetooth, meaning the only way to pair a controller was to go through Google’s servers in the cloud. loops.

But Google now has a solution, 9to5Google reports. There is a new ‘bridge mode’ hidden in the latest version of the Stadia app on Android that allows you to send controller signals from your phone, allowing you to play Stadia with your phone’s touchscreen or even another gamepad on your phone. You can also use your phone to adjust the volume of your TV using snippets of text hidden in the APK.

9to5Google saw this image in the APK to promote bridge mode.
Image: Google

The original Stadia controller has been a thorn in the side of the company since Stadia launched on November 19, 2019, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Google decided to move forward. It took many months for buyers to use Google’s wireless controller wirelessly from anywhere except the Chromecast Ultra – desktop web browsers and Android phones were initially unsupported, which meant physically plugging in a USB-C cable. USB-C audio has also taken a while and Bluetooth audio through the controller has yet to become a reality.

Luckily, the third-party controller support was pretty robust on those other platforms, making it easy to sync a PlayStation or Xbox gamepad to play, and you’re unlikely to even need this new bridge mode to run Stadia on the 2020 Chromecast. play when it arrives; the new Chromecast is doing support for bluetooth game controllers. Judging by a few Steam Link and GeForce Now sessions with my 8BitDo gamepad, Bluetooth gamepad support may work fine.

At this point, it’s a bit unclear how much Google cares about Stadia; after it closed all of its in-house game studios in February, I stated that the writing was hanging on the wall; ever since, Stadia lost its head of product and at least six additional staff, and was the subject of two reports on his internal struggles. Apparently, Google had to pay tens of millions of dollars to publishers like Ubisoft, per game, just to get games ported to Stadia.