At GDC in San Francisco today, Google announced its new game streaming service, Stadia. It also announced a new controller, which looks a whole lot like a PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as Sony does make some really great controllers.
The Stadia controller does also sport a D-Pad on the left, with two joysticks as well as four buttons on the right. Google is going to be offering it in three colors, as you can see from the image above. There's a white controller with orange accents below the joysticks. While the black one has white accents and then the mint green controller has yellow accents. These do give the controllers a rather interesting look for sure.
Google stated during its keynote at GDC today, that these controllers are going to connect directly to the data center. What this means, in a nutshell, is that there won't be any lag during game play. That may not seem like a big deal, but in all honesty, it really is. This means that when you are playing online, you won't end up dying in a first-person shooter, because your connection lagged. Making the game a lot more enjoyable.
There is also a Share button on the controller, which will allow you to immediately start streaming on YouTube in up to 4K 60fps quality. Or you can take a screenshot and share it instantly, without leaving the game, or disrupting your game at all. A few years ago, that wouldn't have been a big deal, but given the fact that games are now so social, it is a big deal.
The advantage to the Stadia controller being fairly uniform with other platforms like PlayStation and Xbox, means that you're going to be able to play those games on Stadia with ease. Instead of needing to worry about developers remapping the buttons appropriately, you can just pick up the controller and start playing. Which is the whole premise behind Stadia in the first place, being able to pick up a device and start playing. Whether that's a laptop, Chromebook, tablet or smartphone. Anything with Chrome will be able to play these games.
Google has not yet announced pricing for this controller, but you can sign up on the Stadia page for more updates on what is happening with Stadia in the coming weeks. Google did say that Stadia will be available later this year in a number of countries including the US and Canada. Pricing as a whole for the service is still unknown. Google did show off a number of features for Stadia today like Cross-Platform Play, but it's unclear what games will be available at launch, and how many of those games will be available. However, Google did also announce that it was launching its own gaming studio. It's still unclear if Google will use that studio to bring already available games to Stadia, or if it is going to be making its own games.