Google Stadia is scheduled for execution this week. The service dies on January 18, and while there will be tons of spurned developers and hours of lost game progress in its wake, the shutdown of Stadia is going about as smoothly as it can go. After refunding every game purchase made on the service, Google is now responding to calls to open up the service’s controller so that it can function as a generic Bluetooth device after Stadia dies. In a post on the Official Stadia forums, a community manager wrote on Friday: “Next week we’ll be releasing a self-serve tool to enable Bluetooth connections on your Stadia Controller. We’ll share details next week on how to enable this feature.”
Having the controller live a second life is one of the last things people were asking for from Stadia’s shutdown. As a Stadia product, the controller took the unique approach of connecting directly to the Internet over Wi-Fi, rather than the usual route of connecting to whatever device you’re playing from and then to the Internet. Supposedly, this was a way to shave a few milliseconds off the lag inherent in game streaming. Nothing else in the world uses a Wi-Fi video game controller, so once the Stadia servers shut down, the controller was going to turn into e-waste. It was technically useable as a generic controller if you plugged it into a computer via USB, but nobody wants a wired controller anymore.
Google’s product listing was always upfront about the controller having a Bluetooth chip in it, though it noted that “no Bluetooth Classic functionality is enabled at this time.” All the parts are there to save the controller from the trash heap, and now Google is promising a firmware update to do just that.