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The Google Stadia wireless controller won’t be fully wireless at launch

On Tuesday, Google published a video with a quick introduction to its new games streaming service, Stadia. But eagle-eyed viewers spotted something troubling in the small print.

Did you see it? Here it is again:

A white Google Stadia gaming controller floating on a silver background

That’s right: “At launch, wireless play with the Stadia Controller is only available on TV using a Chromecast Ultra.”

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This was quickly jumped on in a post on reddit, which drew an official response from a Google community manager. Yes, the Stadia controller will only initially work wirelessly with Chromecast Ultra, with phones and laptops requiring a USB-C cable. Plus, Stadia will only work on Chromecast Ultra with the official pad – no third-party gamepads will function at first.

The live demo showed a Google employee switching between devices using the same pad, as it’s connected to Stadia servers via Wi-Fi, but apparently that’s not going to be working at launch. Google told The Verge it’s aiming to make sure that the sofa streaming experience is perfected before it moves on to laptops and phones which are typically closer to the pad anyway, due to their relatively small screens. 

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The second issue – that Chromecast Ultra will require the official pad at launch – is kind of a moot point at the moment. Although Stadia launches on November 19, it only opens to those who buy the Founders or Premiere Editions, and both of these come with the official pad and a Chromecast Ultra. 

A wider roll-out of the service is expected in 2020, and then, you’d hope, these early teething problems will be fixed, and we’ll be a bit closer to the demo showed on stage earlier this year. In the meantime, needing to plug in a cable for small-screen play doesn’t seem like the biggest problem in the world.

Are you set up for Stadia on November 19? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

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