In addition to being able to use third-party game controllers on your TV with Stadia to play your favorite titles, Google’s game streaming platform is now adding the option to connect up your phone as a controller for Android TV users, according to 9to5Google’s latest APK teardown of the app. With what’s being called ‘Bridge Mode’, you won’t even need to buy a controller to play Stadia – that is, if you’re okay with a digital touchpad.
The teardown of Stadia for Android version 3.24 reveals several strings of code that directly mention the process by which users can connect their phone to the Stadia app on their televisions running Android TV, and presumably any Google TV device in the future. While there was no mention of the new Chromecast with Google TV, for example, it only makes sense to expand such a feature outward, especially as Android TV is being morphed into Google TV as we speak.
Choose what you want to play with, and we’ll help you connect it to this TV.
No controller? Use the touch gamepad on your phone
Said code instructs users to open the Stadia app on their phones to get started. Once there, they should look for a notification regarding making the connection or simply tap the controller icon at the top. Then, they can select “Phone touch gamepad” and follow the instructions for finalizing the tether between their phones and TVs.
Before, I mentioned that you may or may not even want to use your phone as a gamepad and there’s a very good reason why. While looking up at your television and pressing digital face and D-pad buttons on your phone, even with haptic feedback, it’s likely to be incredibly awkward and unusable for most.
I bet this will come in handy in desperate situations where you may have left your controller elsewhere or if you really want to try Stadia and haven’t the means to acquire one yet, but not much more than that. Unless we all become accustomed to using non-tangible buttons without looking down at them, which is unlikely, I don’t see this becoming a “to die for” feature.