Stadia has always been an odd duck among Google’s myriad products. While it does have ties to the company’s expertise in cloud computing and ML-based optimizations to network communications, it was Google’s first major foray into the mainstream gaming industry. It also opted to use its Chromecast platform as the launching pad rather than its more mobile Android or even Chrome OS. Android TV support was also almost like an afterthought, but Google seems to be making up for lost time with a stream of new features, including better Stadia Controller support on Android TV.
It was only a few months ago that Google finally introduced a Stadia app to Android TV, pretty much only after it brought Stadia to its Chromecast with Google TV, which actually runs Android TV. Given how widespread Android TV sets and devices are by this time, that was a pretty belated arrival. Even then, there were some parts of the Stadia experience that still left much to be desired.
The Stadia Controller, in particular, had very limited use on Android TV. Because of the way the controller works, which directly communicates with Stadia servers over a direct Wi-Fi connection, it may have been non-trivial to make the two work seamlessly together. At the moment, you could only use the Stadia Controller to play Stadia games and would have to switch to the Android TV remote for everything else, including navigating the Stadia app.
9to5Google discovered that version 3.38 of the Stadia app would actually improve matters just by a bit. Although it isn’t certain yet, it might be possible to finally use the controller to navigate other parts of the Stadia app. Unfortunately, the site doubts it could be used outside of the app itself, considering the platform and software differences between Android TV and the Stadia Controller.
Stadia 3.38 will also show “Playability Tips” that will inform users how they can improve their experience, usually related to their Internet connection. It’s still unknown, however, where these tips will pop up. This latest version of the Stadia app has started to roll out and will hopefully bring some much-needed relief to Android TV users.