I managed to play Google Stadia games without a Pixel phone. Here's how

CNET's Oscar Gonzalez found a workaround to stream Google Stadia games to his Galaxy S10 Plus -- but it's not for everyone.

Oscar Gonzalez Former staff reporter
Oscar Gonzalez is a Texas native who covered video games, conspiracy theories, misinformation and cryptocurrency.
Expertise Video Games, Misinformation, Conspiracy Theories, Cryptocurrency, NFTs, Movies, TV, Economy, Stocks
Oscar Gonzalez
4 min read

Want Stadia on the go without a Pixel? There is a way. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Google Stadia is the search engine company's cloud  gaming  service, but so far the only Android phone you can play it on has been a Pixel. While Google says support for other Android phones will come sometime in 2020, curiosity overtook my patience. I wanted to try the service on my Galaxy S10 Plus, and I was going to find a way. I did and was able to use Stadia almost flawlessly on my non-Pixel phone.

Before we begin, I need to tell you that the app I used to get Stadia on my Galaxy phone isn't an official Google app, and this workaround isn't sanctioned by Google. Downloading or installing apps that aren't officially from the Google Play Store or from the known publisher (e.g. Fortnite) can be dangerous and can expose your phone to malware. As a result, CNET can't recommend you follow these steps I'm about to lay out. I took on a personal risk and am sharing it here merely to entertain and inform. 

The method I came across was ridiculously obvious, although it required one extra step to make Google's games stream flawlessly. This will work on most Android phones and will require a Bluetooth controller, ideally a PS4 Dualshock 4 or Xbox One controller. There's also no need for a direct connection as the Stadia will work wirelessly, unlike when using the service on a Pixel phone.

Stadia Galaxy S10

A Galaxy S10 Plus running Stadia. 

Oscar Gonzalez/CNET

My first, and most important, step was to get a Stadia account. Google's cloud gaming service is currently available by purchasing the $129 Premiere Edition, which includes a Chromecast Ultra and controller. There's also a $10 monthly subscription required to use the service. While I didn't buy the Premiere Edition (yet), I was given a Buddy Pass available in the original Founder's Edition that will let me use the service for free for three months. Keep in mind that Stadia also works only over Wi-Fi and not mobile data. 

With a Stadia account ready to go, it was time to pair my Bluetooth controller to the Galaxy S10 Plus. The process to put the controller into pairing mode varies by manufacturer. I decided to use a PS4 DualShock 4 since I didn't have access to the official Stadia controller. I checked to make sure the Bluetooth controller worked -- if not, I'd have to directly connect to the phone through a USB cable. Luckily for me, it did.

Once I paired the controlled to my phone, next came the "slap your forehead for not thinking of this earlier" step -- opening my Galaxy phone's Chrome browser and typing in Stadia.Google.com. This took me to a page with links to buy the Premiere Edition and download the app. I didn't click those. Instead, I clicked on the menu (those three dots at the top right) and put a checkmark in the box next to "Desktop site." The page reloaded and took me to the Stadia login page. 


Here's how the Stadia page will look like when choosing the desktop version. 

Screenshot by Oscar Gonzalez/CNET

It's here where I entered my Stadia info, and then the games on my account came up. From here, I used my finger as a mouse to choose a game, Destiny 2, and off I went. 

Except there was one little problem. 

The Chrome app didn't read all the inputs from the controller, meaning you can move around and jump, but not much else. Luckily, I found my workaround, but it does come with some caveats, namely, a modified app I had to sideload to my phone. 

GitHub user Sigmaxipi modified Chromium, which is the open-source mobile version of Google's browser, calling a new app Chromium for Stadia. This app modifies how the browser recognizes inputs from a controller, which would allow me to shoot, use the game menu, reload and so on. All I had to do was load up the APK (similar to how you do with Fortnite) and log into the Stadia account in the browser to start playing.

Stadia Galaxy S10

It doesn't take much to run Stadia on non-Pixel phones.

Oscar Gonzalez/CNET

This workaround for Destiny 2 played with hardly a hint of lag and no need to alter the controls in the game's options menu. I verified it worked with an Xbox One controller, as well as an off-brand Bluetooth controller. 

So how'd it go? My unorthodox approach gave me, an avid gamer, the preview I was looking for to try out Google's intriguing Stadia streaming service on my currently unsupported phone. It was terrific. I'm still on the fence about Stadia as a service, because I want to make sure Google gets enough titles before I commit to the steep cost. But I liked enough of what I've seen so far to know that cloud gaming is the future -- one that can't get to my phone soon enough.

Watch this: Google Stadia: Everything you need to know about the streaming game revolution

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