Google Stadia is celebrating the shutdown with a controller update, a new gameThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Google Stadia is scheduled to launch this week. The service dies on January 18th, and until then there will be tons rejected developers and hours of lost game progress afterwards, shutting down Stadia is about as smooth as it gets. After recovery every game purchase made on the service, Google now answers calls open the service controller so that it can function as a generic Bluetooth device after Stadia dies. In a publication of Official Stadia Forumscommunity manager wrote on Friday: “Next week we will release a self-service tool to enable Bluetooth connections on your Stadia Controller. We will share details next week on how to enable this feature.”
The controller getting a second life is one of the last things people asked for since Stadia was shut down. As a Stadia product, the controller took the unique approach of connecting directly to the internet over Wi-Fi, instead of the usual route of connecting to whatever device you’re playing on and then to the internet. It’s supposed to be a way to shave a few milliseconds off the lag inherent in game streaming. Nothing else in the world uses a Wi-Fi controller for video games, so once Stadia’s servers shut down, the controller would have become e-waste. It was technically usable as a generic controller if you plugged it into a computer via USB, but no one wants a wired controller anymore.
Google’s product listing has always been open about the controller having a Bluetooth chip in it, although it noted that “Bluetooth Classic functionality is not currently enabled.” All the parts are there to save the controller from the junk heap, and now Google is promising a firmware update to do just that.
In our Stadia overview, Ars senior games editor Kyle Orland called the controller “one of the highlights of the Stadia launch pack,” saying it “features a solid, well-balanced weight; comfortable, clicky face buttons and analog sticks; quality ergonomic design of d – pads and shoulder triggers; and strong, distinct rumbling engines.” Stadia sales were far below expectationsand these controllers have been piling up in warehouses for years – all Stadia controllers show the production date on the back and all known models were made in 2019 during the initial production cycle. The controllers were initially pulled from stores after the suspension announcement, but now that they’re getting a second life, we’ll be looking for a fire sale.
Google announced not only that the controller will be getting an update, but also… a new game? Yes, on Friday, with about four days to live, Stadia got a new game. Is called Worm game, and was used as a test platform for Stadia development. You can play it right now for free! Here’s how Google describes the game:
Play the game that came to Stadia before Stadia came to the world. Worm game is a humble title that we used to test many of Stadia’s features, starting well before our public launch in 2019, all the way through 2022. It won’t win Game of the Year, but the Stadia team spent a LOT of time making it is playing and we thought we’d share it with you. Thanks for playing and everything.
Worm game is just a clone of the classic game Snake. It’s a top down view of a snake that can move in four directions, you grow every time you eat an apple and the goal is not to hit anything. Worm game it’s actually a great reminder of why Stadia was such a bad service. I tried the game and it immediately told me that my 600mb/s connection was “unstable”. The game was also blurry all the time, like a low-res YouTube video. The lag inherent in game streaming makes the game as responsive as Snake you feel terrible and spend a lot of time trying to figure out how early to push a button to execute a tight turn. This simple 2D game is probably only a few MB and any device can install it in less than a minute or run it directly in a browser without any installation. Instead, streaming it over the Internet will consume gigabytes of data. Just compare those on Stadia Worm game to the version built in Search on Googleand the “native” search version is much nicer.
As for some other Stadia odds and ends: If you have any data on the service, some games allow you to move your game data to other platforms. 9to5Google has great info on which games support data export. Phil Harrison, a former Microsoft and Sony executive who joined Google as “Vice President of Stadia,” is still technically busy on Google. Unless Google has another gaming project to take on, you have to wonder what his future is at the company. Maybe we’ll see an announcement for this Wednesday.
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