Google’s Stadia console rescue will continue for another year

Google’s Stadia console rescue will continue for another year

A man removes the Stadia logo from a wall using a high-pressure water spray
Zoom in / As if it never happened.

Urich Lawson/Getty Images

Stadia may be dead, but consoles for Google’s cloud gaming platform are still around. With the service permanently offline, its proprietary Stadia controller threatened to fill up landfills until Google came up with a plan to turn them into universal Bluetooth devices that can work on almost anything. The app to unlock the console on other devices is a web service, and previously had a shutdown date of December 2023. Apparently that’s not enough time to convert all of these consoles, so the Stadia Controller Salvage process will run for a full additional period. year. User X (formerly Twitter). Wario64 He was the first to spot the announcement, which states that the online tool will continue to operate until December 31, 2024.

As a cloud-based gaming service, Stadia ran all the game code on remote servers, streaming individual video frames live to the user and showing gameplay. The user presses buttons on their local console, and each individual button press must travel over the Internet to the remote game server to be processed. These services live and die by response time; In an effort to reduce latency, the Stadia console connects to the Internet directly via Wi-Fi instead of connecting via Bluetooth to your computer and then To the Internet. Google claimed that one fewer hop on the local network resulted in shorter response times, especially since the service was originally built around a power-limited Chromecast dongle.

The official Stadia controller in
Zoom in / The official Stadia controller is in clear white.


With the service discontinued, the Wi-Fi-only controller will no longer work wirelessly, leaving legacy USB as the only way to use the controller. However, Stadia controllers already come with a passive Bluetooth chip, so Google has devised a way to convert the isolated controllers from a Wi-Fi connection to Bluetooth, allowing them to connect wirelessly to computers and phones as a universal HID (human interface device). Normally you’d expect a download of some sort of firmware update software, but since Google is Google, the entire process of updating the Stadia Controller is done on a web page. Google’s console update page has a pretty cool “WebUSB” API setup – you launch the Chromium browser, plug in your console, give the browser access to the device, and the web page can access the console directly and update the firmware, without No software to install.

Although web-based update software is very elegant, this also means that it is impossible for a third party to archive the update software for future use. Once Google’s website goes down, there will be no more console updates. A desktop application, on the other hand, can be kept and redistributed forever.

Reports from the early days of Stadia sales said the service fell short of Google’s estimate of “hundreds of thousands” of users, so there will likely be a lot of consoles out there. Even in 2022, it was normal to buy new Stadia consoles bearing the original 2019 manufacturing date, giving the impression that these things were just filling up warehouses. With the update plan still running for another year, there’s more time for sales to happen and for these consoles to find a good home.

In our review of Stadia, Ars senior gaming editor Kyle Orland found the controller was “one of the highlights of the Stadia launch package,” saying it “features a sturdy, well-balanced weight and comfortable, clicky face buttons and analogue buttons.” Sticks, high-quality ergonomic design on the D-pad and shoulder triggers, and powerful, premium drivers.” So, assuming you can get the $70 MSRP device at a significant discount, it seems like a decent buy. The only downside is that audio features like a headphone jack Microphone will not work after Bluetooth update.

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