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‘Control’ Is Now Playable On Mobile Devices For Free If You’re An AT&T Customer (B2B stadia version for third parties, plus touch control). (Forbes)



If you’re on a postpaid AT&T mobile plan, there's a great perk available to you starting today. You'll be able to play the excellent Control from Remedy Entertainment at no extra cost via the cloud. It's powered by Immersive Stream for Games, a version of Stadia game streaming tech that Google is licensing to third parties.

This marks the second time that AT&T and Google have teamed up to let the former’s mobile customers play a major game without paying anything extra. Last October, AT&T started offering access to Batman: Arkham Knight.

There's one big difference this time around. Arkham Knight was only available to play on desktop browsers. You'll be able to access Control Ultimate Edition on smartphones and tablets as well (Arkham Knight is now supported on mobile devices too).

A key aim of this experience is to show off the low-latency capabilities of AT&T’s 5G network. It’ll showcase Google's terrific cloud gaming tech too.

You won't need to download anything or buy any gaming hardware to try this out. You can play on devices that you already have in your pocket or bag or on your desk, as long as you have a sturdy internet connection.

“As our first Immersive Stream for Games collaborator, AT&T’s continued investment in delivering games directly to their customers underlines our ability to offer advanced streaming technology, the right tools to port games easily, powerful discovery features, and the analytics necessary to optimize a direct-to-consumer business,” Dov Zimring, Head of Product at Immersive Stream for Games, said in a statement.

“AT&T launching Control Ultimate Edition from 505 Games is proof of that ability, with Immersive Stream for Games enabling AT&T customers to click and play the full game across new devices at home or on the go with no downloads or installs."

After you visit AT&T’s landing page, you'll need to enter your cell phone number and zip code. You'll need to agree to the terms of use and privacy policy before selecting which game you want to play.

AT&T provided me with early access to its Control Ultimate Edition cloud streaming experience. It ran very smoothly for me. I didn’t notice any significant performance differences from any other game I've tried on Stadia, though I wasn’t able to run any kind of technical tests.

I tried Control (which I previously beat on PS5) on my computer and my phone — it worked well on Wi-Fi on both platforms. Unfortunately, I can't speak to how well the game runs on AT&T's 5G network. Still, I tried it with a non-AT&T 4G LTE connection, and it ran like a dream with near-imperceptible latency. So, I imagine it should run smoothly on 5G as well.

It's worth noting the data usage for the various quality settings on mobile. Playing at up to 1080p can eat up 12.6GB of data per hour. Opt for the setting that maxes out the resolution at 720p, and Control can use up to 4.5GB per hour. There's also a 720p setting that's optimized for mobile, which can snarf 2.7GB of data for each hour of playtime.

Players can opt for touch controls or they can use an external controller, such as the Stadia Controller or one for a PlayStation or Xbox console. You can pick up a clip that holds the controller and your phone in place for a few bucks.

The touch controls work well. For instance, when you hold down RB (to make the protagonist Jesse telekinetically keep an object aloft), you can move that same finger to rotate the camera, as you would with the right stick on a controller. Jesse can then find an enemy to hurl the item toward. That said, I'd recommend turning on aim assist in the settings if you use touch controls.

I far prefer using an external controller, though. If you have a compatible one available, I'd suggest using that instead. I find a traditional controller (or one made for mobile devices, like Razer Kishi or Backbone One) far easier to use than a touchscreen. Plus, you’ll be able to see more of the action without your fingers getting in the way.

Your progress will save automatically in the cloud. That means you’ll be able to continue where you left off when you switch between your PC and phone.

Control doesn’t quite have the same level of cultural cachet as Batman. However, it's a brilliant, strange game that received multiple awards and game of the year honors from the likes of IGN in 2019. The Ultimate Edition includes both of the expansions, which are definitely worth checking out too.

While there are some obstacles in the way (including access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet access for many people), I’m bullish on the future of cloud gaming. This is a great chance for people to try a fantastic game on devices that might not have enough power to run it natively — Control is a resource-intensive title.

I hope those on an eligible AT&T plan try this out. Not only because Control is wonderful, but so they can see what streaming games to their phone or tablet looks like in practice.

If you're on an AT&T postpaid mobile plan, you can play Control and Batman: Arkham Knight right now by going to the provider's website. They’ll both be available for a limited time.

Meanwhile, I put some questions to folks from AT&T, Immersive Stream for Games and Control publisher 505 Games about the launch. You can read what they had to say, including some intriguing tidbits on the future of cloud gaming and Immersive Stream for Games, here:
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