Apple’s Safari browser beta adds support for Google’s Stadia controllers

The update comes after Amazon's new Luna service opted to bypass the App Store with a PWA

A preview version of Apple’s Safari browser for Mac computers brought updates to the ‘Gamepad API,’ which includes support for Google’s Stadia controller.

First spotted by StadiaSource, Safari Preview version 113 makes specific mention of Google’s Stadia controller, noting it added a “special HID mapping” for it. Also in the Gamepad API update is a HID mapping for Logitech’s F310 and F710 controllers.

Human Interface Device (HID) maps help establish a low-latency link between devices like mice or game controllers and what they’re connected to. In other words, by adding HID mapping for Stadia controllers to Safari, it suggests Apple and Google are working to bring Stadia support to Apple’s in-house browser.

Although it remains unclear why the Stadia HID mapping is marked as special, 9t05Google points out that Google has yet to officially enable the Stadia controller’s HID functionality. The search giant has promised the Stadia controller would become HID-compliant eventually. Perhaps that is part of what makes Safari’s Stadia HID support ‘special.’

Stadia controller support comes as Amazon’s new Luna service opts for PWA

Arguably the more interesting part of this is the timing of the update. It comes after Amazon announced a new game streaming service called Luna that will arrive on iOS using a Progressive Web App (PWA). While it’s important to remember that desktop and iOS Safari are vastly different, and this change applies to macOS Safari, it could be an indicator of what’s to come.

Amazon reportedly worked with Safari engineers to develop the Luna PWA to ensure it runs correctly in mobile Safari. The likely reason behind Amazon’s decision to go with a PWA: Apple’s stance on game streaming platforms. The iPhone-maker recently launched new App Store guidelines that restrict developers from offering a game streaming service with multiple titles in one app, such as Stadia or Microsoft’s xCloud. Instead, Apple wants each streamable game to have its own individual app in the App Store, and developers can make ‘collection’ apps that point back to the games on the App Store.

Microsoft, unsurprisingly, spoke out against the guidelines and said they make for a “bad experience.” The company also likened the guidelines to Spotify or Netflix, which if subjected to the same guidelines, would need to offer each song or movie as an individual app on the App Store.

Amazon’s use of a PWA for Luna allows the company to dodge Apple’s App Store guidelines, although it may miss out on other benefits of being an official iOS app. The addition of HID mapping for the Stadia controller could indicate Google plans to do something similar with its game streaming service. If successful, we may also see a Microsoft xCloud PWA for iOS sometime in the future.

Source: Safari Technology Preview Release Notes Via: StadiaSource, 9to5Google