It’s been less than two months since Stadia for Google/Android TV was finally announced and began arriving for users on those platforms. That arrival marked an important milestone for Stadia and one that I’d wager most users had been waiting for since the launch of the Chromecast with Google TV in October of 2020. The combination of Google’s new, more affordable, more versatile streamer and proper access to Stadia games seemed like a forgone conclusion when the new Chromecast arrived, but it took a solid 8 months for that to actually play out.
I suppose I could rant a bit about how Google missed the mark with the uncoordinated launch of the new Chromecast and a working build of Stadia for that popular hardware, but I’ll save it for some other time. I don’t know if the inclusion of Stadia on day one on the Chromecast could have helped Google’s gaming service not struggle the way it has, but I do know it wouldn’t have hurt anything.
Based on the numbers we’re seeing in the Play Store (I’ve been checking it almost daily since the Stadia app hit 50,000+ installs), it is clear that there were quite a few users out there that were ready and waiting for a proper Stadia app on Google/Android TV. Again, it’s been less than two months since the app arrived and we’re now seeing Google update the app listing to show that over 100,000 installs have already happened. For a service that is desperate for more users, this is a very good sign.
We did a quick video review of the app right after it launched and I can confirm that gaming on Stadia with this app and the new Chromecast or something as inexpensive as the Onn. Android TV from Walmart is a great overall experience. The games load quickly, the UI is full-featured, and there’s literally nothing that gets in the way with this method of leveraging Stadia. I even wrote an article about the biggest advantage of Stadia on Google/Android TV – full controller support – that I completely overlooked at first.
With this app clearly expanding adoption, I think we finally have the setup and situation that Google needs for Stadia to thrive. I can go to Walmart and buy the 1080p Onn. Android TV for $25, pair up my Bluetooth controller (no Stadia controller is necessary, even if they are pretty awesome), install Stadia, and be up and running in no time with very little invested. Take that exact setup and throw in the complimentary month of free Stadia Pro and you can have a great experience for under $30 if you have a game controller lying around.
Keep in mind this 100,000 install number is in addition to the number of players using Stadia on the web, on their phones, or via the Chromecast Ultra. Sure, Stadia needs more players, but moves like this new Android/Google TV app are the right moves in the right direction for Google’s still-young game streaming service. While it may not be for everyone, I regularly fire up Stadia and sit back a bit impressed with the quality of the overall experience. Google has something worth holding on to and I’m hopeful that this new Android/Google TV app only helps more potential users see what cloud gaming can be like when it is done right.