Google has today eliminated Stadia's cloud platform and presented a bold, but largely unproven vision of the future of the game, where software is distributed and played in real time over the Internet. We still do not know much about how Stadia will work, how much it could cost, whether it's serving as a subscription service to Netflix consumers or using a different business model, or when exactly this will come out this year. But we built Google's custom controller, the only physical part of the Stadia package.
Surprisingly, the Stadia controller feels good and looks good. Granted, we did not try it on a live stadia demo, but we had the opportunity to use the same white and orange model used on the stage during the unveiling. It has similar strength and texture to the latest Xbox One gamepads ̵
In an impressive demo that was shown on stage, Google showed a feature that lets you use the controller's Assistant button to open a YouTube tutorial to help you figure out the hurdle or riddle can overcome that at that very moment problems prepare the game. The controller is also used to launch directly into games found on YouTube's live streaming platform. So you can immediately start with the title your favorite streamer is playing right now.
According to Phil Harrison, former manager of Sony and Xbox and current vice president at Google, the controller connects directly to Google's data centers – not to a specific screen you may be using – so you do not have to re-connect it sync with your laptop when you stop watching TV. In an interview with The Verge Harrison says that you will pair it with the Studia network using an accompanying mobile app that will connect the controller first to your local Wi-Fi network and from there to Google's Stadia service connects.
We do not know how much the controller costs or whether it is bundled with a stadia plan. (Assuming there will be some sort of subscription plan, which is still not clear.) But it does not seem like Google is taking advantage of this controller. This is a good sign for those who feared it would be cheaper, lower quality gamepad compared to devices shipped with Microsoft and Sony consoles.
If you do not want to use this controller, you do not have to do the following: According to Harrison, the service also supports other gamepads. It seems the Google Assistant integration is the only thing you'll miss.