Google is shutting down its Stadia game streaming service in January. The move wasn’t entirely surprising for anyone familiar with Google’s history of killing off products. But the announcement was so sudden that even game developers were caught by surprise.

While Google is promising refunds to folks who’ve spent money to purchase games and Stadia-compatible hardware, some folks are wondering whether the Stadia Controller is about to turn into a brick. The answer? Not exactly… but it may not be as useful as it once was. Update: On January 13, 2023, Google announced that it will allow users to enable Bluetooth connections for Stadia controllers in order to use them with other devices. The original article continues below. 

The Stadia Controller is widely considered to be a pretty decent handheld game controller with a good design and decent buttons, triggers, and analog sticks.

But it’s designed specifically for Stadia and officially the only way to use it as a wireless controller is to stream games from Google’s cloud gaming platform… which will shut down in January. There’s no way to use the Stadia Controller as a Bluetooth controller for PC, mobile, or console games.

You can still use it as a wired controller. Just run a USB cable from the controller to your PC or mobile device and you can keep using the Stadia Controller. But that might not be much fun for folks looking to game from their couch.

It’s possible that Google could eventually offer a firmware update to enable Bluetooth functionality. But it’s not clear that the company has any real incentive to do that (I mean sure, fostering good will among users could be an incentive, but Google might just point to the fact that the company is offering refunds).

Some folks have been finding workarounds that let them use a Stadia Controller without plugging it directly into a PC… but those methods involve plugging the controller into a phone and then using the phone to connect to a PC. So they’re not exactly a truly wireless solutions (and they also involve installing some custom software on a PC).

But maybe that’s better than turning Stadia Controllers to electronic waste come January.

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  1. A Large company such as Google should be leading by example. They have used resources and should be offsetting the impact created by this failed experiment.

    An easy way to adapt one into a wireless retro gaming console would be a nice one. So let the community tinker and see what can be done to repurpose them would be a sensible approach.

    They are a wonderfully comfortable and constructed Pad.

    1. In general principle, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect any large company to lead by example. If I could force google to lead by example I’d have them shut down their entire data mining business.

  2. Stadia player here. I was able to play Android controller supported games on my Chromebook with the wired Stadia controller. Been able to play on Steam with the controller wired. At least there will still be uses for the two Stadia controllers I have.

  3. Not giving those of us who had pro a refund, and not refunding what we paid for the controller!

  4. Stadia Devs are looking into enabling Bluetooth via firmware… no promises made though, at least they are trying… I’ve read that on Twitter.

  5. Google doesn’t even need to update the firmware. They could just release what they have and let the community figure it out.

  6. Glad you posted this, I was actually thinking of finding one cheap, assuming it was just bluetooth.