Stadia's Direct Touch input system comes to iPhone and iPad — no controller required

Google Stadia
Google Stadia (Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google has announced that Direct Touch support is now available to iOS Stadia users.
  • Gamers can use touch controls in lieu of a controller when playing supported games.

Google has announced that Stadia subscribers can now play at least one game using its fancy new Direct Touch input system. That means that gamers won't need a controller to play anymore.

Right now the only game that supports Direct Touch is Sega's HUMANKIND, but you can expect more games to receive support in the future.

Direct touch is the Stadia input method released in August on Android, allowing you to interact directly with a game using your phone's touchscreen. Now, it's available for Stadia players on iOS. Direct touch allows players to control the game by tapping, sliding, and pinching the screen. Try it now in HUMANKIND where you can create your own civilization using just your fingers.

Stadia Direct Touch

Stadia Direct Touch (Image credit: Stadia)

Anyone wanting to take the new control scheme for a spin can play HUMANKIND on their iOS device right now while not having a Bluetooth controller connected. Stadia will offer to enable Direct Touch and take gamers through the controls on-screen.

As great as Direct Touch could be in a pinch, there's no doubt that playing with a controller is still going to yield the best experience. If you want to upgrade your Stadia gaming experience, check out our list of the best game controllers for mobile gaming.

Not into Stadia? Try out Apple Arcade instead. You don't stream any games, but you do get a ton of games ready to download right from the App Store. They're all ad-free and completely sans in-app purchases, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.