Stadia on the web continues getting more and more new features as the months roll on since November’s launch. While I’d still say the most stable version of Stadia is found on the Chromecast Ultra, the pace of feature additions on the web version makes me think Google is spending tons of development time ironing out kinks in entire experience.
It wasn’t long ago that the official store was added to Stadia on the web and we’ve since seen the arrival of 5.1 surround as well, but this latest addition is probably one that has been requested more than any other feature to date for Stadia on the web: Wi-Fi controller linking. As of this week, that request has been heard and delivered on, giving Stadia gamers on the web a quick and simple way to connect their Stadia controller over Wi-Fi.
The setup is just as easy as we’ve seen for the Chromecast, but there’s still a necessity for the Stadia phone app in some circumstaces. For me, I’ve only used my controller at home. I’ve paired my account to the office Chromecast, but my controller hasn’t been used here in quite some time. So, to fire up this new web-based connection, I first needed to get my controller on the office Wi-Fi. This required the use of the Stadia Android app to see the searching controller and help it get connected to the local network.
After that, however, things are a snap. Open up Stadia on the web, click the controller icon in the upper-right hand corner and you’ll see a familiar pairing code to enter on your Stadia controller. Hit the sequence in the order shown to you and your controller will vibrate, letting you know it is now connected with your current, web-based gaming session. The connection was perfectly rock-solid in my testing and I thoroughly enjoyed having a latency-free controller setup that didn’t require me to get any extra cables out of the bag.
This feels like one of those steps that will cause me to use Stadia more often than I have. More times than not, I don’t want to take over the family room television and I’d rather not play complex games on my phone, so I’ll reach for the Chromebook. The problem there comes down to the mouse and keyboard: I love that input style, but you need to be at a desk or table to really use it. Frankly, I like plopping down on the couch after a long day of being at a desk, so I end up not even bothering to fire up Stadia.
With this new Wi-Fi controller setup, I’ll be much more prone to grab a Chromebook and my controller and spend a few minutes in a game. As I referenced in a post earlier today, I’m discovering that I’m a mobile gamer at heart, but little changes like this that make Stadia much simpler to leverage will help make it something I turn to more often than I have so far. I imagine I’m not the only one who feels this way and I hope this new feature only continues to help the platform grow and evolve in ways that make it better for end users across the board.