Google Stadia is one of the most interesting things to happen in gaming this year, and is just over a month away from launch. Its big selling point is high quality gaming anywhere, streamed over the air to one of many compatible devices. But while the play experience is wireless, the Stadia controller apparently won’t be wireless at launch unless you own a specific Google device.
A new guide to Stadia published on YouTube (via IGN) runs down how the game streaming service works and some other basic information. Part of this (starting at 1:23 in the video below) is describing the controller’s wireless functionality, but the small print says that this only works with Chromecast Ultra at launch.
Later on Reddit, a post about these conditions was answered by an official Google employee on the Stadia subreddit, once again confirming the need for the Chromecast Ultra.
If you’re not familiar with the device, the $70/£69 Chromecast Ultra is Google’s 4K streaming device that adds smart functionality to any TV you can plug it into. Sure, it’s cheaper than buying a PS4, Xbox One or most decently specced gaming PCs, but it’s an unfortunate extra expense to add on top of your Stadia subscription.
It means that to use the full mobile abilities of Stadia with your phone or other portable devices, you’ll need a USB-C cable, with the other end being whatever connector your device needs. Again, it’s not a big problem, and chances are you already own the kind of cable you need, but it’s a shame that the service will have this small caveat at launch.
Google Stadia launches on Nov. 19 for folks who pre-ordered the $129 Founders Edition (which, conveniently, includes a Chromecast Ultra), and will roll out more widely in the weeks to follow. If you’re still looking forward to Stadia even with the news of this little snag, then you can check out all the rest of what we know about it in our Google Stadia news roundup.