Google is improving the Stadia Controller experience on Android TV

Google is improving the Stadia Controller experience on Android TV

Google Stadia is a streaming service that aims to bring you all the games you want, wherever you want. It has had a mixed track record since its introduction, but the service has improved significantly over the past few months. Stadia finally arrived on Android TV in June, and a new app teardown on the latest version indicates Google might be improving the experience of using a Stadia Controller on Android TV.

9to5Google performed a teardown on the latest Stadia 3.38 APK, and discovered a new flag called “enableGothamInputOnAtvPlatformUi.” Given that “Gotham” is a codename for Wi-Fi-based input with Stadia (including both Phone Link and the Stadia Controller), and “Atv” means Android TV, this indicates Google is working on better integration with the Stadia Controller on Android TV. While you can play games on the service through Android TV with the Stadia Controller, you can’t actually interact with the rest of the app — if you want to browse through your games, you have to go back to your normal Android TV controller. This new flag indicates that may change soon.

Besides that, the app teardown revealed text hints that may be displayed to new Stadia players in the future. It’s not clear yet where they’ll appear, but they contain advice such as “Ethernet is more stable than Wi-Fi,” “Switch to 5 GHz Wi-Fi,” “Switch to Ethernet if you can,” and “This router setting can improve gameplay.”

The past few months have been a busy time for Google’s cloud-based streaming platform. Phone Link arrived in September, allowing players to use phones as touch gamepads or use third-party USB controllers on other devices. Google also briefly ran a promotion earlier this month where purchasing any Stadia game over $60 gave players a free Premiere Edition bundle (with a Chromecast Ultra and controller). However, 2021 hasn’t been a perfect year for Stadia. The service shuttered its in-house game development studio and also lost some key executives.

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Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's also the host of the Tech Tales podcast, which explores the history of the technology industry. Follow him on Twitter at @corbindavenport.