How to Use Google Stadia With an Xbox Controller

Connect your Xbox controller to Stadia

Stadia is Google's game streaming service that has its own wireless controller, but you don't actually need a Stadia controller to use the Stadia service. If you have an Xbox controller handy, you can use it to play Stadia games on your computer or phone and avoid the extra expense of buying a Stadia controller. Here's how to connect Xbox and Stadia.

Using an Xbox Controller With Stadia

While Xbox controllers work just fine with Stadia, the situation is a little complicated. There are a few main types of Xbox controllers that you're most likely to own: wired and wireless Xbox 360 controllers, Xbox One Elite controllers, Xbox One controllers, and the revised version of the Xbox One controller that first shipped with the Xbox One S.

There are also three main ways to play Stadia: on a computer with the Chrome browser, on a phone with the Stadia app, and on a TV with Chromecast Ultra.

Google Stadia played on a Pixel phone with an Xbox One controller.
Pixabay 

Use the following compatibility chart to see if you can use your Xbox controller wirelessly or wired with Chrome or Android:

Device Chromecast Ultra Google Chrome Phone
Xbox One Controller (New) No USB & Bluetooth USB & Bluetooth
Xbox One Controller (Old) No USB USB
Xbox One Elite Controller No USB USB
Xbox 360 Controller No USB USB

Once you've figured out which options are available based on your hardware, you'll need to locate the corresponding set of instructions below to start playing Stadia with your Xbox controller.

How to Use Google Stadia With an Xbox Controller on Chrome via USB

This is the easiest and most reliable way to play Stadia with an Xbox controller, as it works with the widest variety of Xbox controllers, Xbox controllers work natively with Windows 10, and you can even use this method with macOS if you download an additional driver from Github.

This method works for most Xbox One and Xbox 360 controllers.

  1. Install the Chrome web browser if you don't already have it installed.

    Stadia requires Chrome version 77 or greater. Update your Chrome installation if necessary.

  2. Connect your Xbox controller to your computer with a USB cable.

  3. Wait for your computer to recognize the controller and install any necessary drivers.

    Some Mac users will need to download and install 360Controller from Github to use an Xbox 360 controller.

  4. Open Chrome, and navigate to stadia.google.com.

  5. You're ready to start playing.

    Some Mac users have reported that Stadia doesn't recognize their Xbox controller, but that the controller works after launching a game. Try launching a game using your mouse, and then check to see if the controller works in-game.

How to Use Google Stadia With an Xbox Controller on Chrome via Bluetooth

This method is convenient because you don't have to deal with any physical cables, but it doesn't work with all Xbox controllers. Bluetooth is also a little less reliable than using a physical USB cable, so you may experience occasional input lag or dropped inputs when gaming on Stadia with this method.

This method only works with Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One controllers, Windows 10, and macOS. If it doesn't work, update your controller and operating system.

  1. Install the Chrome web browser if you don't already have it installed.

  2. Press the Xbox button on your controller to turn it on.

  3. Press the controller's connect button for three seconds, then release it.

    The connect button is a small round button located next to the USB port.

  4. On your Windows 10 PC, select the Start button, then select Settings > Devices > Bluetooth.

    On macOS, click the Apple menu > System Preferences > Bluetooth.

  5. On a Windows 10 PC, select Add Bluetooth or other device, then select Xbox Wireless Controller when it appears.

    On macOS, look for Wireless Controller and click Pair.

  6. Navigate to stadia.google.com, and you're ready to start playing.

How to Use Google Stadia With an Xbox Controller on Your Phone via USB

This method allows you to connect most Xbox controllers to your Android phone with a physical cable. The catch is that you need to buy a USB OTG cable if you don't already have one.

This method works with most Xbox One and Xbox 360 controllers.

  1. Install the Stadia app on your phone.

    During the launch window, the Stadia app is only compatible with Pixel 2, 3, 3a and 4, and requires Android 10.0 or greater.

  2. Plug a USB OTG cable into your phone.

  3. Connect your Xbox controller to the USB OTG cable using a regular USB cable.

  4. Open the Stadia app and start playing.

How to Use Google Stadia With an Xbox Controller on Your Phone Wirelessly

This method allows you to play Stadia wirelessly on your phone. That's nice, because you don't have to worry about cables, but it doesn't work with as many controllers as the wired method.

This method only works with Bluetooth-enabled Xbox One controllers.

  1. Install the Stadia app on your phone.

  2. Turn your Xbox One controller on.

  3. Press the controller's connect button for three seconds, then let it go.

  4. On your Pixel phone, tap Settings > Connected devices > Pair new device.

  5. Tap Xbox Wireless Controller when it appears.

  6. Open the Stadia app, and start playing.

Problems With Stadia and an Xbox Controller

While you can play most games on Stadia with an Xbox Controller without too many issues, there are a few important differences between the native Stadia controller and Xbox controllers. Most importantly, the Stadia controller has two more buttons than the Xbox controller.

Xbox One controllers have a view button that looks like one box in front of another and a menu button that looks like three stacked lines. The Stadia controller, on the other hand, has an options button that looks like an ellipses, a menu button, a Google Assistant button that uses the familiar Google Assistant logo, and a capture button that looks like a camera viewfinder.

In some cases, the view button on your Xbox controller will act as the back button in Android, causing unwanted behavior in-game. When issues like this appear, contact the developer of the game you're trying to play and submit a bug report.

Most other issues, like an Xbox controller that won't connect or isn't recognized, can be fixed by updating the controller, updating Chrome or the Stadia app, or updating your operating system.