Google launched its Stadia cloud gaming service late last year, but access was heavily restricted. You could only join Stadia by purchasing a controller bundle, and it didn’t even work on most phones. Little by little, Google has opened Stadia up, and now Stadia has come to virtually all Android phones. You don’t even need a controller to play, provided you don’t mind buttons all over your screen.
Like other cloud gaming services, Stadia renders games on a remote server and streams the video to your devices. That means you need a reliable internet connection, but you can play AAA PC games on low-power devices like phones and Chromecasts. However, Google only supported Stadia on Pixel phones at launch, which severely limited how many people could enjoy these games on the go. It eventually added full support for Samsung and OnePlus devices.
Google started allowing everyone to sign up for Stadia a few months ago with a free Pro trial. The Pro version of Stadia costs $10 per month and adds 4K HDR gaming and frequent game discounts and freebies. Google is trying to keep people interested with a $10 discount for Pro subscribers to use on a game of their choice. Players might be more willing to take Google up on that now that almost any Android phone can run Stadia games — if you can install Stadia, you can stream a game.
Google is careful to point out it doesn’t guarantee functionality on phones that aren’t on the supported list. Even budget-oriented devices like the Moto G Power and Nokia 6.2 will let you stream games now. Previously, the Stadia app could only launch games on a Chromecast from these phones. Now, you can actually play. Officially supported phones include most devices from Google, Samsung, OnePlus, Asus ROG, and Razer.
The Stadia controller still doesn’t work wirelessly with phones, so you’ll have to plug it in if you go that route. You can also use a third-party controller or the new on-screen controls. Yes, Google has added a virtual gamepad to Stadia. It works with all games in that it will show the controls on the screen. However, this mess of touchscreen buttons won’t be pleasant in most games. Anything that requires quick or precise movements is going to be borderline unplayable with the on-screen controls.
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