GDC 2019: Here's Google Stadia's Video Game Controller

But how does it play?

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Now Playing: Google GDC Keynote Announces Stadia - GS News Update

Google finally unveiled its vision for the future of video games at the Game Developers Conference: a cloud streaming service called Stadia, which gives instant access to play games across Chromebooks, smartphones, tablets, and TVs. In other words, it's a platform that's accessible through devices you may already own, and it will be compatible with keyboards and other input devices you might have, too. However, Google will also release its own proprietary Stadia controller, and now we know what it looks like and how it works.

The Stadia controller was shown off at GDC in three different color schemes. It connects to Google's servers through Wi-Fi, and it identifies what screen you want to play on. In addition to the standard array of inputs, it also features two unique buttons: one allows you to capture gameplay and share and save it to YouTube, while the other is a Google Assistant button, which accesses the controller's built-in microphone to get gameplay advice. And in a fun reference, the back of the controller is home to the Konami Code.

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The streaming tech behind Stadia is the same that powered the Project Stream test that ran last year, when Google partnered with Ubisoft to stream Assassin's Creed Odyssey for free through a Chrome browser. The company has made other big moves into the video game space, recently hiring Jade Raymond, best known for her work at Ubisoft and EA. Raymond will head up Stadia Games and Entertainment, a new first-party studio that will develop games exclusively for Stadia.

Stadia will launch later this year. It'll be available first in the US, Canada, the UK, and "most of Europe." Google hasn't shared any pricing details for the service or its controller, but it promises to reveal more information this summer, including what games will be available at launch "and beyond."

One key detail we don't know beyond specific pricing is how you'll buy games--will they be available through a subscription or like a standard game purchase? That remains to be seen, though we know Doom Eternal is coming to Stadia. Odyssey was also featured prominently during the GDC keynote. Ubisoft, the publisher of the latter, seems to be a big supported of Stadia, and when we spoke with CEO Yves Guillemot at GDC, he suggested there could be multiple ways to buy Stadia games.

For more on cloud gaming, check out how cloud gaming works and read up on the companies investing heavily in the cloud. Be sure to catch up on all of the Google Stadia gaming news from today's GDC event.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Avatar image for arc_salvo
arc_salvo

If you've ever had the internet go down at the worst possible time, or even had it be too spotty to stream even music or video, you can see why streaming-only may not be the best solution.

Sure reliable internet is something that many can take for granted, but not everyone, and throttling and/or data caps are a thing. Plus there's that situation where everyone's on the internet at the same time after work or on weekends, and the ISP gets overwhelmed and everything slows to a crawl.

That's when it's great to just have a game or video that's locally stored (on a hard drive or disc) and you can just put it in, play it, and it's all good. Singleplayer and offline couch co-op games with splitscreen are great! So is watching a video you don't have to stream or buffer all the time. Higher quality video and audio, and no waiting for the next scene to load or watching the quality suddenly drop into a blurry mess because there was a data transfer hiccup.

Not to say that I don't watch streaming video, just that I see the downsides of it. Streaming games though... I don't feel like that'll be a think anytime soon. The latency will be too bad until we see major changes to infrastructure, and ISP's (in the US at least) stop being regional monopolies and start getting some competition and/or regulations.

Avatar image for jaykobwerdnahs
jaykobwerdnahs

Game streaming is a hard 'no' from me.

Avatar image for blagnarok
Blagnarok

So, if the Google controller connects via wifi and recognizes the screen I'm playing on, does that mean it doesn't have to be connected to the computer I'm using at all? What about wifi access points that require you to enter a password through a gateway browser?

Sounds like this controller is geared to be used at work on browsers when the boss isn't looking by their description, but how does it connect to the wifi point exactly?

Avatar image for cejay0813
cejay0813

Hard pass

Avatar image for lionheartssj1
lionheartssj1

Some people just don't have the necessary bandwidth, or even the data cap to take advantage of this. If they even have internet at all (yes, a lot of rural homes don't have internet or limited satellite internet).

Avatar image for lonesamurai00
lonesamurai00

Funny that they were dissing games consoles all over the place during the presentation, that's pretty cold. They're already promising to match next gen consoles also, and like both consoles it will rely on AMD Hardware - HILARIOUS!

Avatar image for jturnley
Jturnle

I'll take the nVidia option over this one - being able to buy your games from various vendors and stream them is better than paying one vendor. You can leverage many, many options to get good prices, vs only one.

Plus I am in the "offset sticks are better" camp along with the majority of responses here, and await Urubrodi's response disagreeing with me.

Avatar image for urubrodi
Urubrodi

@jturnley: Well since you were looking forward to my response, I won't leave you hanging: people that play on Xbox and Switch will tend to like the offset option better, while the ones that play on PlayStation, such as myself, will usually prefer the other. When you get used to a form of playing, it's normal to become bias towards it. If you prefer the offset one that's fine, but if you think that Google is wrong in following the format of the controller used by the best selling console of this generation, that's naive. Plus, apparently you can use your own controller in this service, so not a big issue.

Avatar image for externalpower43
Externalpower43

Ugh. Yet another game streaming service. Too bad 95% of the internet connections out there are too slow.

Avatar image for freedom01
freedom01

cloud gaming...no thanks.

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Avatar image for romeothebeast
RomeoTheBeast

Honestly, I'm a sucker for Nintendo and Sony exclusives so there isn't much Google can do to win me over. Besides I'm against an all streaming future for gaming. I still prefer to buy physical games as much as possible.

Avatar image for sealionact
sealionact

Congratulations Sony.....you no longer have the suckiest controller.

Avatar image for urubrodi
Urubrodi

@sealionact: Well, that's just like your opinion man... For me DualShock 4 is fantastic, but to each his own.

Avatar image for sealionact
sealionact

@urubrodi: For me, it has terrible battery life, an annoying light you can't turn off, a useless trackpad, an underused speaker and the thumb sticks are in the wrong place.

I still think it'll be better than Googles attempt, which looks like it fell out of a box of cereals.

Avatar image for berrlett
Berrlett

@sealionact:

Actually you can turn off the light and disable speaker on the controller via setting menu on your PS4.

Avatar image for sealionact
sealionact

@berrlett: You can only dim the light for some reason, and I said that the speaker was underused, not useless.

Avatar image for berrlett
Berrlett

@sealionact:

Yep when dimmed you hardly notice it almost like off and controller charge goes for twice longer. I usually have a headphone so I don't hear the controller out-phone.

Avatar image for naruto945
naruto945

Okay this might make me dust off the ole gaming PC

Avatar image for NTM23
NTM23

Not really into streaming games.

Avatar image for jsprunk
JSprunk

I think I'm going to create a mock-up controller and announce my streaming-only console. Then I'll drum up a few million bucks in investment and then cancel the whole thing quietly five years from now.

Avatar image for arc_salvo
arc_salvo

@jsprunk:

Whoah dude, that's what Google's going to do! They're gonna sue you if they catch you doing that. They shut down stuff they made on a whim like all the time! In fact, 5 years is too slow for Google. They're "disruptors". They're going to shut it down without doing anything in 2-3 years.

And that's after launching a few more competing gaming and/or streaming services the overlap with Stadia, and none of those divisions will communicate with each other either, and then they'll suddenly start to merge a few of them before getting bored and shutting them all down, then changing the UI of Chrome and Gmail again for no damn reason.

Avatar image for Sevenizz
Sevenizz

Yuck - looks like a chubby DualShock with non-ergonomic thumb sticks. Why would you copy the worst thing about that controller?

I’m underwhelmed.

Avatar image for berrlett
Berrlett

@Sevenizz:

They were probably debating cutting budget on design and creation and had to choose between copying the dual shock controller or MS games... decision was v easy. LOL

Avatar image for justthetip
JustTheTip

Until the day I no longer have a choice, I’m not going to support a streaming-only service.

Avatar image for imajinn
Imajinn

@justthetip: I won't even support it not even having a choice

Avatar image for edwardnygma
EdwardNygma

Definitely not supporting a streaming only console.

Avatar image for decadentdescent
DecadentDescent

With Slightly Mad Studios and now Google entering the console market, is this the beginning of 1983 all over again?

Avatar image for fenbops
Fenbops

Nah not for me, this’ll just be something else to spy on from google.

Avatar image for gamingdevil800
gamingdevil800

I don't want a streaming only future so I won't be supporting it.

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Avatar image for thedarklinglord
thedarklinglord

Looks a lot like that knockoff PS3 controller by EasySMX. But then, what did anyone expect? Of course it was going to resemble an Xbox/Dualshock/Pro controller.

I will say, it's disappointing that they didn't go with glossy, edge-colored face buttons like on the patent-based render that was going around. This looks bland and cheap.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

Hmm...I wonder if this means they will start making games exclusively with streaming in mind? No idea how that would affect the games.

Avatar image for greaseman1985
greaseman1985

@Barighm: Probably, but I doubt any AAA games would be streaming-only, at least not anytime soon. I'm thinking the service will be full of garbage mobile type games.

Avatar image for bigbox
BigboX

Can't believe they've gone with the symmetrical stick layout and not the offset layout like the Xbox and Switch pro controllers.

The offset stick layout is far more comfortable and natural feeling. I think it's pretty much accepted by the majority of gamers out there that that's the best set up.

Sony need to make their next dualshock with offset sticks and I'm willing to bet that they do just that next time round.

Avatar image for cejay0813
cejay0813

@bigbox: It's funny cause while I agree that I prefer the offset layout for comfort, I actually play shooters waay better on the Dualshock over the xbox controller. Not sure why.

Avatar image for urubrodi
Urubrodi

@bigbox: Sony doesn't need to do anything. Leave the DualShock's layout as it is.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@bigbox: As someone with large hands, the sticks in the middle are FAR more comfortable and effective than the offset analogs. Your hands naturally grip with the thumbs near the center, I don't see how anyone enjoys other configurations.

Avatar image for Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

@bigbox:

I think it's simply a matter of which one you're used to. As I find the boxed shape of the xbox controller impossible... but that's because I'm used to the DS4 and as such would disagree.

However, I don't think Sony will change that layout at all.

Avatar image for greaseman1985
greaseman1985

@bigbox: Yeah the offset layout is actually more ergonomic.

Avatar image for crazy-roman
crazy-roman

@greaseman1985: I never understood the ergonomic comments for off-set sticks, your thumbs are both made the same, so surely if one stick feels right, the other surely should mirror, otherwise one thumb is doing more work than the other... If one sticks position is the best suited for your thumb, surely the most ergonomic controller would match? Ha, but that's just me.

Only argument is both sticks in the middle and touching thumbs, not a concern for me, would probably imagine people are using the joint/ball of their thumb?

Avatar image for greaseman1985
greaseman1985

@crazy-roman: Many things are not intuitive. This is one of those things.

Avatar image for uchihasilver
uchihasilver

@greaseman1985: i actually find the ps4 layout more comfortable =/ i use DS4 on my PC way more than my xbox one controller

Avatar image for Sushiglutton
Sushiglutton

Pretty dull. Not exactly a "system seller".

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Good, they put the analogs in the right place.

Avatar image for greaseman1985
greaseman1985

Looks like an ungodly love child of the Xbox and Switch pro controllers. Oh and "connect's to Google's servers through wifi" so it can collect information about you lmao

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

@greaseman1985: Well, if you stream exclusively through a TV or something, there isn't much for it to collect. Your viewing habits? That's about it. Just make sure to cover up the TV's camera sensors.

Avatar image for bdrtfm
BDRTFM

Xbox controller with messed up thumbsticks that look like carpal tunnel in waiting.

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Avatar image for crazy-roman
crazy-roman

@bdrtfm: So do the people who use XBOX get one hand with carpal tunnel? Haha

Avatar image for uchihasilver
uchihasilver

@bdrtfm: people play playstation just fine . . . And long before xbox came around and people were okay with that layout

Avatar image for videogameninja
videogameninja

Reminds me of a toned-down version of the X box controller.

-X NOT NINJA APPROVED-

Avatar image for freedom01
freedom01

@videogameninja: looks more like a combination of the Xbox controller with Nintendo's Pro Controller

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