AT&T and Google Bring 'Control' Game Streaming to Phones, Tablets and PCs

It's free, so why not give it a go?

Imad Khan Senior Reporter
Imad is a senior reporter covering Google and internet culture. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with The New York Times, The Washington Post, ESPN, Tom's Guide and Wired, among others.
Expertise Google, Internet Culture
Imad Khan
2 min read
Silhouette of Control protagonist Jesse Faden floating in air
Remedy Entertainment

AT&T said Monday that Control: Ultimate Edition is available on Play Now, its game streaming service backed by Google Stadia tech, showcasing 5G's ability to power high-bandwidth, low-latency experiences on phones and tablets. 

Play Now, available to postpaid customers, lets gamers stream games to their phones,  tablets  and PCs at no additional cost. Players can jump in and try a game without having to wade through a lengthy download and install process, as the service is akin to Netflix.

Since Play Now works via Google's Immersive Stream for Games, rendering takes place on servers and the game feed is streamed to users. This does introduce a slight latency, or delay, because data from a button press has to communicate with servers, be processed and be streamed back for an on-screen response. 

The award-winning game Control is also a computationally intensive game, using complex physics systems and ray tracing, an expensive method for rendering light realistically throughout a game world. Running Control at its fullest requires an expensive gaming PC. 

Game streaming services such as Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now can handle ultra-level game rendering, letting gamers play at high-fidelity with a subscription cost. AT&T says its 5G network is able to stream games with low lag. 

"We imagine publishers could utilize the combination of 5G connectivity and cloud streaming technology to offer limited time play sessions directly from a search result," AT&T said in a press release. "This gives gamers the option to try before they buy."

Google's Immersive Stream gives the company's Stadia tech greater use and flexibility. Stadia launched in 2019 with much press attention but slowly fizzled. In 2021, Google shut down its internal game studio and its head of product, John Justice, left the company. Jade Raymond, the creator of Assassin's Creed, left her role as vice president as well, to start an independent studio in 2021.

Since then, Google hasn't been promoting Stadia with much vigor. It wasn't mentioned at Google I/O earlier this month either. The company did announce last year that Google is pivoting Stadia to bring its technology to other partners. At the Google for Games Developer Summit in March, Google unveiled Immersive Stream for Games, and the company says it's since received much interest from studios and industry. 

The AT&T-Google deal "underlines our ability to offer advanced streaming technology, the right tools to port games easily, powerful discovery features and the analytics necessary to optimize a direct-to-consumer business," Dov Zimring, head of product for Immersive Stream for Games at Google, said in a statement. 

This isn't the first time AT&T has experimented with game streaming. Last year, the telecom giant gave gamers Batman: Arkham Knight to play via a web browser. According to AT&T, "tens of thousands" of its customers enjoyed playing as the caped crusader.