Google’s cloud gaming platform has, in my opinion, the best touch controls I’ve ever seen. Upon their release, I was immediately taken aback by how intuitive they were compared to what was on the market, and I believed that they would go on to revolutionalize the mobile gaming experience for cloud games.
For example, instead of being stuck targeting the virtual joysticks specifically to move your character or turn your camera, Google innovated and included a backup method of swiping the screen behind the joysticks to perform these actions. It may seem like a small thing, but in a world of Android games that have done things the old way for decades now, it was refreshing to see Google think outside of the box as they’re so good at doing.
Continuing to lead the way in change, Stadia’s touch controls may soon swap out the generic button shapes and icons with game-specific iconography to better explain what each will do within the context of the title you’re playing. Check out this image below that was originally created by 9to5Google and later edited by Android Police to show the upcoming changes.
During its latest APK teardown of the Stadia Android app (version 4.13), 9to5Google discovered that the above imagery was buried deep in the code. Android Police simply took those images provided (which seem to be for a third-person shooter game) and overlayed them on top of an existing control map to demonstrate how this may end up looking in a game.
It’s important to note that these icons will change for other games, as mentioned. For example, if you have a roleplaying game on Stadia like Dragon Quest, the attack button will most certainly show a sword instead of a gun – you get the picture. Anyway, the icons discovered are likely meant to be demonstrative in nature, and each developer may need to provide their own once this rolls out officially.
In addition to this interesting UI update, 1440p streaming may be coming to Android. Right now, gamers are capped at 1080p, and the higher resolution is reserved for televisions and other devices. My guess is that my phone – the Google Pixel 6 Pro will be one of the target devices Stadia is hoping to provide this new streaming option on since it supports it.
Do you think that game-specific imagery on your touch controls would be too distracting, or more useful than generic buttons? I’d be interested in discussing this in the comments, so let me know! Oh, and if you’re hoping to use 1440p streaming on your Pixel 6 Pro or other compatible phones, drop your thoughts below.