The free tier of Google Stadia was launched in 2020, so access to Google’s cloud game streaming service is easily available to a wide range of people across the list of countries. If you want to try it out for yourself but don’t want to shell out the $69 for the official Stadia controller, you luckily don’t need to let that stop you.
You can of course buy one from Google if you so choose. And if you want to play wirelessly on your Chromecast Ultra, the company’s Stadia Controller is currently your only option to do so. But on PC and mobile devices, the service also works wirelessly with the most popular console game controllers, including the Xbox Series X/S console and PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4 controller. Even consoles dating back to the Xbox 360 gonna work.
For the most part, Stadia’s wired and wireless controller support is good, if not perfect. For example, Stadia supports some wireless controllers, but others may need to be physically connected to work as intended. Whether it works wirelessly or not, it may depend on the device you’re playing on: a Windows 10/Windows 11/Linux/macOS PC running Google Chrome or one of the few supported devices running Android 10 or later.
It’s all a little complicated, but below, we try to make it easy with some steps to connect popular consoles to Stadia on any supported device.
Sony’s aging console for PlayStation 4 works wired or when connected via Bluetooth to a computer running Google Chrome (version 77 or later). This controller also works with phones running Android 10 or later in wired mode or Bluetooth. Unfortunately, the newer PlayStation 5 DualSense controller does not share this Stadia compatibility. So if you keep the DualShock 4 you’ll be covered so maybe future updates from Google will allow DualSense support.
To use DualShock 4 with Stadia via a wired connection, just find a Micro USB to USB-A cable and link the two sources. The drivers should be downloaded automatically.
To connect it wirelessly via Bluetooth to your computer or phone, make sure the device hosting Stadia is in Bluetooth pairing mode. Then, on the DualShock 4, press and hold the “Share” button to the left of the touchpad, then press the middle “PlayStation” button with the logo on it. The light bar at the top of the console will begin to flash, an indication that it is looking for a device to pair with. They must find each other. If not, try again.
It’s exactly the same story for the Microsoft Xbox Series X/S console and older Xbox One consoles. Stadia supports these controllers on a PC (on Chrome 77 or later) whether it’s wired or if you’re connected via Bluetooth. Phones that can run Stadia will also support the console, both wired and wired.
The Xbox One console, just like the DualShock 4, has a Micro USB port, while the newer Xbox Series console gets the upgrade to USB-C. You can connect any of them to your computer using the corresponding cable. They are fairly easy to find and cheap, and you may already own one or a few.
Before trying to connect your Xbox One controller via Bluetooth, make sure it’s Bluetooth ready. Microsoft has made several different models of this console, one of which does not support Bluetooth. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to find out: If your gamepad has glossy plastic surrounding the Xbox button, it doesn’t support Bluetooth. If it has a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom, that’s another indication that it has Bluetooth and will work. If you have the newer Xbox Series consoles, fear not, as they all support Bluetooth.
To start pairing the console, turn it on by holding down the Xbox button in the middle. Once it lights up, tap and hold the connect button on the top edge of the console until the Xbox logo flashes faster. This indicates that you are ready to pair. Now, just make sure that your target device (be it a phone or a computer) is in the pairing mode.
The Switch Pro console will work with Google Chrome on your computer, either wired or via Bluetooth. If you want to wire it, your Nintendo console will connect with a USB-C cable.
For use with phones running Android 10 or later that support Stadia, Google lists the Switch Pro controller as incompatible with it as either a wired or wireless controller. However, it worked well as a Bluetooth controller in our experience. Your experience may vary, but it’s worth a try if you already own one.
To set it up, simply tap and hold the small sync button near the USB-C port on the Switch Pro controller. Then pair it in your device’s Bluetooth settings. (Oddly enough, the paired LEDs on the console kept flashing back and forth as if they weren’t plugged in, but it worked with any Stadia game I’ve tried.)
Google’s Stadia console is currently the only console that will work wirelessly on a TV with Google Chromecast Ultra connected to it. Initially, it wasn’t able to work wirelessly with PC or Android 10 devices, but thankfully, both of those limitations have been addressed. It can now be used wirelessly with your computer. Also, in June 2020, Google released an update that allows it to wirelessly connect to phones running Android 10 or later.
The Google support page lists other consoles, such as the Xbox One Elite console, the Xbox Adaptive console, and even the Xbox 360 console, that will work with Stadia. You can see a playlist of the consoles here, which also shows the level of wired and wireless support Stadia currently allows.
Google notes that the list of tested consoles is not exhaustive and that you may have luck with other models. My Steam Controller worked almost perfectly with its wireless adapter connected to my computer, as well as wired, but I couldn’t get Stadia on my Pixel 3 to notice. On the other hand, my wired PDP Faceoff controller did not work for the Nintendo Switch. So if you don’t see your own console in this list, give it a try anyway. may work.
Update June 30, 2020, 4:55 PM ET: Google has updated Stadia Controller to work wirelessly with Android 10 devices, so you no longer need to link the controller to your phone to play on the go.
Update March 18, 2022 at 10:30AM ET: This article was originally published on April 10, 2020, and has been updated to take into account changes in various operating systems and newly compatible products.