Google’s Stadia game streaming services will shut down after January 18, 2023. Since making that announcement a few months ago, Google has been issuing refunds to customers who spent money on Stadia games and hardware.

But while it’s nice that folks who bought a Stadia controller will get a refund, what are you supposed to do with the controller once Stadia is dead? Keep using it, apparently.

Up until now the only way to use the Stadia controller as a wireless gamepad was to use it while streaming games from Google’s cloud gaming platform. But you could also use it as a wired game controller for a PC, phone, tablet, or other devices by using a USB cable to connect the controller your devices.

Last week Google announced plans to release  “a self-serve tool to enable Bluetooth connections on your Stadia Controller,” allowing you to unlock it and use it with any device that supports Bluetooth game controllers. And now that tool is available.

stadia.google.com/controller

There are a few things to keep in mind though:

  • The change is permanent. Once you’ve turned your Stadia Controller into a Bluetooth game controller, it will no longer work as a WiFi Stadia controller. That shouldn’t be an issue for long, since Stadia is shutting down on January 18, 2023.
  • Google says the tool for switching to Bluetooth mode will only be available until December 31, 2023. So you’ve got to make the change by the end of the year or your Stadia Controller will become a paperweight.
  • Bluetooth audio is not supported, so plugging headphones into the 3.5mm jack on the controller won’t allow you to hear audio from the PC or other device you’ve paired with the controller. You can use the 3.5mm audio jack when using the controller over a USB connection. The problem, apparently, is that the controller uses Bluetooth Low Energy, which doesn’t support pass-through audio.
  • Google offers no customer support for Stadia Controllers in Bluetooth mode.

You can find instructions for making the switch, as well as information about how to pair the controller with Bluetooth-enabled hardware, remap buttons, and troubleshoot problems at  stadia.google.com/controller.

With Stadia’s impending shutdown, Google is no longer selling new controllers, and while you can still find some third-party sellers that have them in stock, prices have been jacked up enough that it doesn’t make sense to buy one now just to use as a Bluetooth controller. But if you’ve already got one lying around, it’s nice to know that it’s not about to become a paperweight.

More details about the Bluetooth enabling tool  should be available in the coming days.

via Droid Life

This article was first published January 14, 2023 and most recently updated January 17, 2023. 

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  1. I unlocked bluetooth on my controller yesterday and tried to pair it with an Apple TV 4K. It was able to pair the controller but it is not recognized as a game controller. 🙁
    Anyone else having better “luck” with Apple TV? Any rumors about Apple adding support for the controller?

    1. Same as you, connected to Apple TV 4K but cannot use as a controller…I suppose is not MFI so no support as of now.

      1. Would be nice if Apple added support for the controller in upcoming tvOS releases.

    1. I do not understand the current pricing these are selling for, it seems incredibly high. Especially since if you get used to it and it breaks or wears out, you’ll be stuck getting old replacements going forward.

  2. Google is refunding $$ for hardware?
    I thought it was just software.
    I’m glad that they are enabling use on other platforms, at least that’s something.