How Google Came Up With The Stadia Controller

Up until now, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Google Stadia controller—which was first announced all the way back in March at the time of the GDC—was an uninventive and uninspired mash up of the two most successful modern controllers on the market: the Playstation controller and the Xbox controller.

However, new information has now been announced that goes to prove that the team behind Stadia didn’t actually cut corners with the design process for their controller; in fact, exactly the opposite seems to be true! Instead of being a crudely edited version of Stadia’s rival controllers, the Google Stadia controller can now be believed to be 100% original and unique—with perhaps a few small bits of inspiration thrown in for good measure, anyway.

The New Google Stadia Controller Planning Process

The Google Stadia controller is well designed and is arguably incredibly easy on the eye, thanks to its gentle curves and rounded edges. Indeed, it looks like the Stadia controller will be incredibly easy to hold and use—but it is easy to see where the confusion regarding the controller’s originality lies.

For one, the Stadia controller features the noticeably elongated handles of the Playstation controller, and this begs the question of, did Google copy the Playstation controller for their Stadia controller? Further fuelling this line of thought, the controller’s rounded and gentle grips and gently curved thumb grips do admittedly seem to suggest that a large amount of inspiration was taken from the Xbox controller.

The Surprising Inspiration Behind the Google Stadia Controller

There is no doubt that some inspiration will have been taken during the designing process for the Google Stadia controller, but the sources of this information may come as something of a surprise. Indeed, instead of taking inspiration for their controller from their rivals’ controllers, Google designed their unique Stadia controller based on—tools.

Yeah, you read that right. Tools. Like chef’s kitchen knives and hammers.

Right now, you’re probably thinking about checking the calendar to see how many months you missed, because surely this is some lame April Fools’ Day joke—right?


Indeed, it seems to be the case that Google genuinely took inspiration for their controller’s design from household and trade tools, and actually, this does make quite a large degree of sense. According to Google, their unique Google Stadia controller should be used “like a tool”, and in this case, it makes great sense to thusly base its design on the most effective tools in many different industries.

By analyzing these tools, Google were supposedly able to come up with a design for their Stadia controller that combined the practicality and comfort of the best trade tools with the style needed for a quality gaming controller.

The Design Process

The design process for the Google Stadia controller was a long and tedious one, and involved thousands of hours of data and video footage to be analyzed in order for the team behind the Stadia controller to come up with the perfect design for the controller.

As part of this process, the Google Stadia team carefully analyzed how, exactly, gamers held their controllers and used this information in order to design a controller that would meet the needs of gamers, no matter how they play. The team even went as far as to offer out sculpting clay for the participants in the study to use and mold in order to give the team an idea of how to design the controller—but, of course, some of the designs made by this method were simply not suitable for large scale use.

But why is this so important? Why did the Stadia team spend so much time looking so thoroughly into the way in which a person holds a controller when they could have saved vast amounts of money by simply taking inspiration from the designs used by the other gaming console providers.

The answer here is simple: the other controllers don’t offer an experience that the design of the Stadia controller can. In fact, the Stadia controller is designed to be able to adapt to any different style of play; some people might place more pressure, slightly, on one particular hand, for example—and the current design of the Stadia controller should help to ensure that any of these subtle differences won’t impact on the overall quality of the gaming experience when using the Stadia controller.

Google Stadia Controller Examined
The Google Stadia controller will come in four different colors (white, black, wasabi, and night blue—although the night blue variety is now a sold out, limited edition color). It uses a number of different features to enhance the comfort of using the controller itself.

The Finishing Details

By the time that the team had decided on a final design for their Stadia controller, they had gone through thousands of hours of work to create the perfect Google Stadia controller—but they hadn’t finished then! Until the team knew that the design for their controller was flawless in every way, they simply were not satisfied.

As such, the team set out to have their very own prototype Google Stadia controller made up—but this controller would not be in one of the currently available controller colors (black, white, wasabi, and night blue). Instead, their prototype controller was a one of a kind model that was made from fully polished aluminium, thereby allowing the designers to see even the most slight of faults with their unique controller design.

Final Thoughts

This level of care and attention to detail is truly astounding; the fact that the Google Stadia team put so much time and attention to detail into the design process for their Stadia controller truly goes to prove that we can expect great things!

The Stadia controller should be incredibly easy and comfortable for gamers to use, as well as offering a number of unique Stadia-only features (you can learn more about them by reading up on our Google Stadia controller article and review here). The unique design should make it possible for gamers to have a good grip on their controller, enhancing the overall gaming experience.

But what about you? Do you buy the new information about the Stadia controller being based on trade tools, or do you think that the primary inspiration for the Stadia controller design still came from rival gaming controllers? Let us know below!

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