Everything You Need to Know About Using Google Stadia at Startup

So you went ahead and did it: you bought Google Stadia. The Chrome-based streaming platform, which launches this week, is still in its infancy and is in many ways halfway through. For example, you can only stream Stadia games to a few devices; Some apps have settings that are available in some places, while others do not. and, as a rule, it is rather difficult to navigate.

Whether you are diving in Stadia today or planning to do so in the next few months, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Stadia.

Take your laptop with you for setup (just in case)

The Founder’s Pack includes a Stadia Pro membership, a Stadia controller, and a Chromecast Ultra – the latter being the only way to use Stadia with your TV at launch. The setup process isn’t overly complicated, but you’ll be switching between different apps and devices to get everything up and running. Before you start, be sure to do the following:

Download Google Home ( Android , iOS ) and Google Stadia ( Android , iOS ) on your phone. (You can only play Stadia on the Pixel right now, but you can use any modern phone to set up and buy.) You’ll use Home to set up your Chromecast and Stadia to set up the service.

In addition to your phone, I suggest keeping a laptop close at hand. While the service will direct you to the Stadia app for initial setup, it’s worth noting that Google only allowed you to use codes in the web version of Stadia prior to launch. You can switch between the phone browser and the app, but I think it’s easier to have an extra screen if possible.

Check to see if you have an Ethernet cable that you can run from your router to your TV. Google suggests using a wired connection with the Chromecast Ultra for the best streaming experience. Assuming your connection is strong enough, you can move forward without being connected, but if you want to see the best version of the service you should, check the connection situation.

Don’t expect to always be wirelessly connected to your Stadia controller.

The controller situation for the Stadia at startup is a bit wobbly. The Stadia controller is a versatile option: It’s the only controller that works with the Chromecast Ultra and works with all other Stadia-compatible devices. Unfortunately, it only supports wireless play with Chromecast at the moment. When playing on your phone, PC, or other device, you need to use a wired USB-C connection.

For non-Chromecast devices, you can also use HID-compliant Bluetooth controllers with Stadia, including the Xbox One and PS4 controllers, all of which work wirelessly.

Like the camera, the best controller is the one you have. If you don’t have anything, I recommend the Xbox One Wireless Controller . And if you have one but want a trendy one , I recommend the Xbox One Elite Series 2 .

In fact, for now, you’ll need a Stadia and non-Stadia controller for Stadia, depending on what devices you plan to use (and where).

What about mouse and keyboard?

You can play games on Stadia with your mouse and keyboard, using your computer or phone. Key layouts vary from game to game, of course, but it’s helpful to know that you can open the Stadia menu – the one you get if you hold down the Stadia button on your controller – by pressing Shift and Tab at the same time.

Pixel owners may want to do a little extra shopping

At launch, Stadia is only compatible with Google Pixel 2, 3, and 4 series phones, so most people won’t play on mobile. However, if you are one of the few, I recommend bringing along a couple of additional gear with your Founder’s Kit.

First, the Stadia controller does not wirelessly run on any device other than the Chromecast, so you need a USB-C cable to connect it with a plug to plug. Pixels come with them, but the cords are very long, so you might consider purchasing a shorter or Velcro cable tie.

To play comfortably, you’ll probably want to have a portable stand or controller clip handy so you can look at your phone without holding it. Ahead of the launch, Google announced that it plans to sell a controller holster, which it calls a “claw,” on the Google store. I have it, and it works well. However, you can also use the stand if you are sitting at a table.

Even after setup, you will want to hang up your phone

You don’t need the Stadia app to use the platform after the initial setup, but I recommend keeping your phone with you when using Stadia, especially when playing games on your TV.

The Chromecast version of Stadia is for gaming. That’s all. To purchase games or access Stadia settings, you need to use the Stadia app. You can also check some of the settings in the Stadia web app, although some options, including the very useful Display menu that lets you transfer your game from one device to another, are only available through your phone. This will likely change over time, but the phone app is currently the link between the platform.

Don’t forget you can switch streaming between screens

Speaking of display customization, let’s talk about switching your game from one console to another on the fly. Before launch, when you select a game from your library in the Stadia app on your phone, a drop-down menu appears below the game icon that allows you to choose where you want the game to launch.

If you’re playing a game on a computer or tablet, you can transfer gameplay from that device to your phone or Chromecast using the Stadia app. If you want to bring gameplay from any device to the Stadia web window, you can simply open the window and hit the play button.

As with any time you launch a game, Stadia usually takes 10 seconds or so to load, so you should pause or find a relatively quiet place to switch devices. If you try to switch from phone to TV during a Destiny 2 mission, you will likely die. Don’t be that guy.

Keep your data usage in check

Stadia can be a dangerous proposition if you have a data limit on your home internet. Streaming 4K games, which can only be done via Chromecast at launch, can consume up to 20GB per hour, according to Google. Even at 720p, the Stadia uses at least 4.5GB per hour, so you can easily push your limits if you’re not careful.

Fortunately, there is a way to close the data stream. If you go to the Data Usage and Performance menu in Stadia preferences, you can switch between Better Visual Quality unregulated streaming, Balanced data consumption that scales based on your connection, and Limited Data Usage, which reduces your permission. up to 720p and limits your data to the aforementioned 4.5 GB per hour. When moving from platform to platform and from network to network, make sure you adjust this setting accordingly.

Prior to launch, this menu was only available through the phone app, although it is present in the web settings menu, so it will most likely be there soon.

Do developers really need to know who your friends are?

If you go to the Friends & Privacy menu where you can specify who sees when you are online and who can invite you to play games, there is a section called Games Using Your Friends List.

In this section, you can choose which games and developers can access your friends list for in-game features. Knowing how aggressive companies can be when extracting data from any software, you may want to turn it on and off as games come and go in your life. If you like playing alone, you can turn them all off.

Some Stadia things just don’t work

As you can see from most sections of this story, many of the features in Stadia aren’t working yet. Here’s a list of things you can try with Stadia, but can’t right away.

Google Assistant : You can ask Google Assistant on your phone to launch a game in Stadia, but that’s about it. The Stadia button on the controller does nothing, although Google said it would get some utility shortly after launch.

Screenshot and video sharing: You can take screenshots and 30-second clips using the Stadia controller. You cannot share these recordings with anyone yet. And for all of you streamers, I wouldn’t recommend running Stadia through a capture device – resolution and frame rate make a big difference during recording.

Family Sharing : Parental controls will be available at launch through the Google Families program, but family groups will not be able to share content at launch. (This means that parents will have to buy games for their kids from their accounts.)

Achievements: Like PlayStation, Xbox and Steam, Stadia will track and share achievements, system-level records of certain milestones in games. However, the infrastructure for sharing them before launch was not visible. Google said it records when users earn them, so you’ll get them when the system goes live.

Buddy Pass: If you’ve purchased the Founder’s Pack, there is a pair of tickets icon in the upper left corner of the Stadia menu that indicates where you can get your Stadia Buddy Pass — three free tickets. you can transfer a monthly trial period to another person. Google said the Buddy Passes won’t be available for “a couple of weeks.”


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