One of the most baffling setbacks of Google’s game-streaming service, Stadia, is its strict controller requirements. Stadia games can only be played with the official Stadia controller, which must be plugged in via USB in order to work—even on portable devices like Android phones. This has hamstrung the service’s viability as a portable gaming service.
Google has said these requirements will change and that other controller options will be supported in the future, but thanks to Reddit user SmashShock, you don’t have to wait around for the company to make Stadia easier to play on your phone. SmashShock’s aptly named TouchStadia program enables touchscreen controls for both Android and desktop PCs, allowing you to play Stadia games without having a controller plugged in at all.
How to install and use TouchStadia
Desktop Chrome users can simply install the TouchStadia Chrome extension, but Android users will need to perform the following steps each time they want to use touch controls in Stadia:
- Open the TouchStadia code link.
- Select and copy all of the text in the box. The official TouchStadia GitHub instructions suggest you always copy/paste from the link, since any updates to the code will be added there first.
- Open Stadia in Chrome, then tap the “Hamburger” menu icon in the upper right and select “Desktop Site.”
- In the same browser tab, tap the URL bar and type
- Tap “Enter” to run the code. You should see a notification that a controller has been connected.
- You can now control your games with the on-screen button overlay. The default layout mirrors the Stadia controller’s layout, though desktop Chrome users can press CTRL + ; to enable edit mode and move the buttons around as they like.
Despite the official demo footage showing TouchStadia working in Destiny 2, I suggest using touch controls for games that don’t require quite as much precision. Anyone who has played phone games with touch control overlays will know it’s finicky and less responsive than playing with a physical controller. Still, having an option to play Stadia without that cumbersome USB setup—even if it’s less-responsive—is better than not having one at all.