As leaks have continued to pile up for Google’s new hardware that is set to be officially unveiled tomorrow, the new Chromecast with Google TV has been front and center in the early hands-on department. There have been numerous reports of this device already on sale and many unboxing and quick-look videos that have surfaced online as well. The cat is all the way out of the bag at this point and we all know what to expect, save one detail: how Stadia will work.
I wrote about this last week as we noticed the Chromecast boxes being shown off on camera had all sorts of streaming service logos plastered on them, but Stadia was curiously absent. While there’s no reason this device wouldn’t support Google’s streaming game platform, it’s an odd omission for sure.
As the leaks have continued to pour in, a handful of users have looked for Stadia on the new Chromecast device and come up empty-handed. Some have considered that Google may not update the firmware to support Stadia until the device is actually made official and this could definitely be the case. After all, it was weeks after Stadia launched that existing Chromecast Ultras gained the ability to access the game servers. Given the way that users will likely navigate the UI on this new Chromecast, however, this scenario doesn’t seem that is the case.
A new way forward for Stadia
Instead, according to some research done with the Stadia app for Android TV (what Google TV is based on) by Android Police, it seems the process for getting Stadia up and running on the new Chromecast will likely come via a simple Android app. As they side-loaded the the latest Stadia APK on existing Android TV hardware (the Shield TV), many of the hurdles that were previously present have now vanished. Namely, the necessity of a mouse to get Stadia set up on Android TV has been removed and apparently the app was able to get up and running with basic controls just as you’d expect.
The problem at this point? You still have to download and manually side-load the application. Not exactly the workflow Google is envisioning, I’m sure, but that is easily remedied by Google whitelisting the app in the Play Store for the new Chromecast device once it launches. Again, users who’ve had hands-on with it still don’t see the Stadia app in the Play Store at this point, but Google could simply have the app set for public consumption at the same time their event is scheduled.
For a lot of reasons, this move makes sense. The Android app for Stadia is solid and with a device like the new Chromecast with Google TV, users will likely spend most of their time navigating with the included remote. Asking new users to wait for the backdrop screen to pair up their controller like what they currently do with the current Chromecast Ultra setup would be very odd. Instead, as users will be in the habit of downloading and installing apps with this new device, it makes far more sense to allow them to do the exact same with Stadia.
Obviously, we’ll know exactly what Google is up to with all of this tomorrow around 2PM EST as their Launch Night In event takes place. Be sure to join in on the fun tomorrow as we’ll be hosting the whole thing here on Chrome Unboxed. It should be fun!