21.11.2019

Stadia’s Wi-Fi Controller Looks Familiar, But Features Google Assistant

When Google announced its new streaming service, Stadia, today, the focus may have been on the system’s back-end, how data will be sent to players, and what the company is doing to help developers. But that wasn’t all Google had to reveal.

To accompany Stadia, Google not only revealed that Jade Raymond would head its new games division, but that it has also created its own console-style controller for the service.

For the most part, it looks like another in a long line of controllers gamers have become familiar with. As expected, it even has a share button, in this case called a «capture» button, which allows players to easily record gameplay and upload it to YouTube.

Since Google is building a good portion of Stadia around YouTube sharing and integration, including a button like this makes sense.

The second button is Google’s answer to what the company is undeniably well suited for: finding information.

Now, instead of having to stop what you’re doing, open a new browser window, do a search, and scrub through walkthroughs, users can simply hit the Google Assistant button on the Stadia controller and ask it to help them get past the section they’re in.

Reportedly, Google Assistant will then pull up a video in-screen and take players right to the portion they need to view.

Another interesting feature of the controller is that it can be used with any platform, just like Stadia, because it connects to Google’s servers via Wi-Fi. It’s also capable of identifying what screen the player is trying to use, so it doesn’t inadvertently cross screens.

Unfortunately, Google did not provide pricing information for the controller during its GDC 2019 keynote presentation. The company did, however, state that it would be offering more information this summer, so perhaps we’ll see a price point then.

Considering what other gaming controllers of similar style and function currently cost, we’d guess those wanting to buy it will have to dole out at least $40-$50 USD.

The good news is that if players don’t want to throw around that kind of cash when Stadia releases, Google confirmed the service also works with USB peripherals, including mice and keyboards. You just won’t have the Stadia specific buttons.

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