Today, Google finally unveiled its vision for the future of gaming. During its keynote presentation at GDC 2019, it announced Stadia, a gaming platform that has game-streaming, sharing, and content creation features. While Google Stadia doesn't feature a games console as rumors had suggested, Google's plans do involve a games controller.
The Google Stadia controller mostly has a traditional controller design. There are two analog sticks, a d-pad, and Y, X, B, and A face buttons. The controller also sports triggers and buttons on the back, so those used to playing games on Xbox One and PS4 shouldn't need to get adjusted. In the middle of the controller, there is a button with the Stadia logo on it. There are three color variations of the Google Stadia: white, black, and light blue. It's not as varied as the Xbox One controller colors offered by the Xbox Design Lab, but players will be happy with a choice.
There are some differences with the Google Stadia controller, however. The controller has a share button which lets players quickly save game clips for sharing to YouTube later, or they can easily livestream the game footage to the platform. There's also a Google Assistant button which allows you to talk to the AI-powered software for help with the game (the Stadia controller has a built-in mic).
Because Stadia is built around Google's game streaming technology (formerly known as Project Stream), it's all the more important to address input lag. Positively, players won't have to worry much about connections for the controller and for these inputs to then be sent second-hand to the Stadia servers. The Google Stadia controller will be connected directly to the data centers through Wi-Fi, which seems to remove this lag altogether. It also means that players can seamlessly move from platform to platform, firing up their games through Stadia and having their controllers connect right away.
Google has yet to disclose how much the Stadia controller will cost, or when it will be released. However, the theme of the presentation was making gaming accessible, so making an incredibly expensive controller would seem antithetical to that vision.
If the Google Stadia controller does end up being too pricey, then players can always use their existing console controllers. The full list of supported controllers hasn't been announced yet, but earlier this month, Google did announce Chrome support for the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers. The Xbox One and PS4 controllers, mirroring the Google Stadia controller in design, will likely be supported, too. Google has promised to shed more light on its plans for Stadia over the summer, and everyone will likely hear more about the control schemes then.