Google's cloud gaming service Stadia (opens in new tab) officially goes dark tomorrow, January 18, but those of you with a Stadia controller will be able to continue using it long into the future (hopefully) thanks to a final firmware update (opens in new tab) that converts it into a standard Bluetooth device.
By all appearances, the process (explained in this Stadia support page (opens in new tab)) is a simple one: Press and hold the Stadia button on the controller until the status light comes on, plug the controller into your PC via a standard USB cable, go to stadia.google.com/controller (opens in new tab) (you'll need to use Google's Chrome browser—I tried it with Firefox and it won't load the required page), and then follow the on-screen instructions. Once that's finished, you'll have a swanky new(ish) Bluetooth controller on your hands that you can use with any Bluetooth-capable device.
Heads up: this update will permanently disable Wi-Fi connectivity, so please wait to update your controller if you want to use it to play wirelessly on Stadia tomorrow. Update tool: https://t.co/o0iU2x0NsVJanuary 17, 2023
After the conversion, you can pair the controller with compatible devices by holding the Stadia button until it turns off, then pressing and holding it again until the status light pulses orange. That'll put it into pairing mode; go to whatever you're aiming to connect it to and you should see it appear in the list of connectible devices as "Stadia." You may need to approve the Stadia controller in the device's Bluetooth menu if it doesn't connect, or you might have to just switch everything off and then back on, and try again—Bluetooth can be very finicky sometimes.
A couple of points to note: Enabling Bluetooth mode on the controller will permanently and irreversibly disable its Wi-Fi capabilities, so if you want to continue using that on the final day of Stadia, hold off until after January 18. Headphones plugged into the controller will no longer work after the update is applied, nor will the Assistant and Capture buttons, although that's not because of the Bluetooth conversion but simply because Stadia will no longer exist.
And for some reason, you only have until December 31, 2023 to complete the update—you snooze, you lose, although it will continue to function as a standard wired controller.