Anyone can sign up for Google Stadia and stream games to their PC. But do you need a Google Stadia controller to play Google Stadia games? In a word, no.
Several popular game controllers will work with Stadia, meaning you can get started with Google’s game streaming service right away.
Here’s how to use different controllers with Google Stadia…
How to Use Google Stadia on Your PC
You may not know this, but you don’t need a Chromecast or even a special Stadia controller to access the service. And because it is a game streaming service, you don’t need a powerful PC, either.
All you need is the Google Chrome browser. Simply visit stadia.google.com, sign in with your Google account, and start playing. Google offers a trial period for you to sample its collection of games, and all you need is a controller.
For the best results, however, be sure to run a single Chrome browser window and tab for Stadia. This will ensure your browser doesn’t use too much of your computer’s resources for streaming games.
You Can Also Play Google Stadia on Mobile
In addition to a computer and the Chrome browser, you can play Stadia games on the following devices:
- Pixel 2, 2XL, 3, 3XL, 3a, 3a XL, 4, 4XL
- Samsung S8, S8+, S8 Active, Note 8
- Samsung S9, S9+, Note 9
- Samsung S10, S10+, Note 10, Note 10+
- Samsung S20, S20+, S20 Ultra
- OnePlus 8, 8 Pro
- Asus ROG Phone, ROG Phone II
- Razer Phone, Razer Phone II
These are arguably the most popular Android phones available right now, so you can potentially take console-standard gaming anywhere. Of course, you’ll need a top-quality internet connection without a data limit if you’re not using Wi-Fi.
You’ll also need to have the Google Stadia app installed on your phone.
Download: Google Stadia for Android (Free)
For more about this game streaming platform, be sure to read our Google Stadia review .
What Controllers Can You Use With Stadia?
If you own a computer or a current-generation game console, you probably have a controller that works with Stadia. Suitable controllers are considered to be:
- Xbox One controller.
- PlayStation 4 controller.
- Nintendo Switch Pro controller.
- Stadia controllers.
- A Keyboard and mouse.
Read on to find out how to connect your controller to the Stadia service.
Connect a Console Controller to Stadia
As you will have gathered, there are two ways to play Google Stadia with a game controller: on your computer or on Android.
Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, and Linux computers are all suitable for connecting controllers for playing games on Stadia. However, there is some difference in compatibility between them. As a rule, if you want to guarantee compatibility, use USB rather than Bluetooth.
Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch Pro controllers will all connect to your PC via USB. Furthermore, they will all be automatically detected by Chrome. As such, you’ll be able to play Stadia games using one without any fuss or bother.
Connect Console Game Controllers to Stadia on Your Computer
With a game controller hooked up to your computer you can play Stadia games. There are some differences between console controllers and the Stadia controller (see below) but otherwise the variation is minimal.
So, what do you need to know about connecting your favorite console controller to Stadia?
- Connecting an Xbox One controller to your PC is straightforward over Bluetooth, but remember that USB is required for Stadia.
- A PS4 4 controller can be connected to Windows and macOS . Remember, though—Stadia requires a USB connection, as you’re accessing the service via your browser.
- Finally, the Nintendo Switch Pro controller works with a PC and Android . Again, be sure to use the USB cable to play games on Stadia.
If you run into any trouble, it’s wise to check some online support groups. While Google maintains a Stadia Help Center, you’ll get a quicker response from the community and developers in the Stadia subreddit.
Connect Almost Any Game Controller to Stadia on Android
For playing games on Android, a controller is recommended. This isn’t just for Stadia; an increasing number of Android games support USB and Bluetooth controllers.
Android is flexible enough to connect almost any game controller. You’ve already seen above that the Switch Pro controller can be hooked up to your Android. Our guide to connecting game controllers to Android shows you how to connect PS4, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch controllers to your phone.
Using Third-Party Controllers With Stadia
When using a non-Stadia controller with Stadia, there are some differences in the controls. While the overall similarities are clear, secondary buttons differ.
The Stadia menu can be opened by pressing your controllers Home button (Shift + Tab on a keyboard). However, this doesn’t work on Xbox Adaptive Controllers for Android, Linux, or Chrome OS.
Additionally, Windows users can’t use the Home button on Xbox controllers with Stadia without launching the Game Bar. The Shift + Tab keyboard shortcut should be used instead.
Just Use Your Computer’s Keyboard and Mouse
While perhaps not completely suitable for all titles, your computer’s keyboard and mouse is a good alternative for Stadia.
In fact, if you only have one game controller and fancy some multiplayer gaming, using the keyboard and mouse is the ideal solution for a second player.
While there aren’t a vast number of strategy games on Stadia, plenty of first-person shooters are available. PC gamers have long had an advantage over consoles in this regard, with the mouse/keyboard combination considered superior to controllers.
You have the perfect opportunity to find out if this is true.
Connect Stadia Controllers to Your PC’s USB Ports
To play Stadia games through your TV you’ll need a Stadia controller. This is a Wi-Fi enabled controller that syncs with your remote hosted games—but does it work without a TV?
As Stadia can be accessed via your web browser, the answer is yes. Just connect your Stadia controller to your PC using the USB-C cable it ships with. Do this before starting your gaming session, however, to ensure that it installs correctly.
When you’re ready, head to the Stadia website, sign in, and play.
The Best Google Stadia Games to Play
Stadia’s initial marketing focused on the Chromecast Ultra/Wi-Fi controller setup, a strong but expensive option for streaming games on your TV. It turns out, however, that you require neither of these items.
If you own a suitable controller, you can play Stadia games. And future upgrades will surely add support for more controllers.
If you’re new to Google Stadia and looking for some recommendations, check out our list of the best Google Stadia games to get you started.
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