Earlier this week Google announced its new Chromecast with Google TV, and support for Stadia was not on the list of features.
It's a move that makes no damn sense. Stadia is Google's cloud gaming platform/service that's been out since last November. Nearly a year. And it still hasn't officially been released for Android TV devices. Now that the new Chromecast with Google TV is out, lack of support for Stadia is a weird decision that I don't quite understand.
Maybe it's just not ready? Ok, sure. That's a legitimate response to what could potentially be Google's reasoning. Maybe Google needs to fine tune a few things. Maybe it couldn't get the app to launch in time before putting the new Chromecast up for sale. And so it needs more time to work on it.
All of those "maybes" sound like perfectly reasonable explanations. If they're legitimate reasons. The thing is, Stadia already works on Android TV. So it should work on the Chromecast with Google TV too.
You can sideload Stadia on Android TV and it works
This is the biggest reason why it makes no sense that it isn't available on the new Chromecast with Google TV. You've been able to sideload the Stadia APK onto Android TV devices for a while.
And since it was possible, how well it works has steadily been getting better. Now, Android TV devices and the new Chromecast with Google TV aren't exactly the same. But similar enough.
So you would think that Google would have had it figured out by now. How to get the Stadia app to work to an extent that it's something that can be installed properly. However that isn't the case. And it seems like a really big missed opportunity.
This would have been perfect timing for the launch
Speaking of missed opportunities, this would have been perfect timing for Google to launch the app on TV streaming devices.
There hasn't been a new Chromecast device in about two years. On top of that, this wasn't just an announcement of a new Chromecast device. It was the announcement of Google TV. What's likely to be the future of Google's TV interface going forward.
So it's strange. That Google's flagship streaming device won't be offering what could be considered its flagship streaming platform – Stadia.
The whole situation gets even stranger now that Google isn't selling the Chromecast Ultra as a standalone device any more. The only streaming device that does support Stadia officially at the moment. You can still buy it in the Premiere Edition bundle. Which comes with the controller as well, and you do need the controller to play Stadia games on the TV.
But it doesn't make sense to have both a Chromecast Ultra and a Chromecast with Google TV. Not for the same room at least. And there are no doubt consumers who use Stadia that would rather have the new Chromecast because of all the additional stuff it does.
The fact that Stadia isn't supported on the new Chromecast is just bizarre. And I feel like we all need answers from Google why this is the case. That being said, it'll be a bit of a surprise if Google decides to explain this choice.
Availability will show up… "sometime" in the first half of 2021
The official Stadia twitter account has confirmed that support for the new Chromecast with Google TV is coming. So I guess that's the silver lining?
The acknowledgement that Stadia will be available for the device at some point? 2021 is a ways off though. It just feels a little like Google isn't taking Stadia as seriously as it should. And a year into its lifetime since launch, you'd think it would be the opposite.
Google has ramped up its Stadia progression in some ways. It's releasing and announcing more games for the platform pretty consistently. Way more than it was early on. It's also very communicative about new changes, features, and the like.
So there are some areas where Google is doing things right. This however is not one of those areas. The new Chromecast with Google TV is the perfect device for Stadia. And yet it could be more than 6 months away.
Hey Kiel, thanks for your excitement! Support for Stadia on Chromecast with Google TV will be coming in the first half of 2021.
— Stadia (@GoogleStadia) September 30, 2020
The app works on the new Chromecast
According to The Verge, you can sideload the Stadia app onto the new Chromecast with Google TV. Reportedly, it works. Just like it works on Android TV devices.
Games were playable, and the only issue seems to be that the app crashed when trying to buy games. Other than that Stadia was functional. So it just seems a bit weird that official availability is something that was pushed out to 2021 instead of on release for this device.
The end goal is that Stadia will officially support the new Chromecast it seems. It still feels however like Google dropped the ball a little here. As this should have been something that was available at launch of the new device.