‘Control’ is now playable on mobile devices for free if you’re an AT&T customer

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If you’re on an AT&T postpaid mobile plan, you get a huge benefit starting today. You can play the excellent Control from Remedy Entertainment at no additional cost via the cloud. It’s powered by Immersive Stream for Games, a version of Stadia game streaming technology that Google licenses to third parties.

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

There is a big difference this time around. Arkham Knight was only available to play on desktop browsers. You can access Control the Ultimate Edition also on smartphones and tablets (Arkham Knight is now also supported on mobile devices).

One of the primary purposes of this experiment is to demonstrate the low latency capabilities of AT&T’s 5G network. It will also showcase Google’s awesome cloud gaming technology.

You won’t need to download anything or buy any game hardware to try it out. You can play on devices you already have in your pocket or bag or on your desk, as long as you have a strong internet connection.

“As the first collaborator of Immersive Stream for Games, AT&T’s continued investment in delivering games directly to its customers underscores our ability to offer advanced streaming technology, the right tools to easily transfer games, powerful discovery features and analytics needed to optimize a direct-to-consumer enterprise,” said Dov Zimring, product manager at Immersive Stream for Games, in a statement.

“AT&T Launch Control the Ultimate Edition from 505 Games is proof of that capability, with Immersive Stream for Games allowing AT&T customers to click and play the full game on new devices at home or on the go, without downloading or installing.”

After visiting the AT&T landing page, you will need to enter your cell phone number and zip code. You will need to agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy before selecting the game you wish to play.

AT&T provided me with quick access to its Control the Ultimate Edition cloud streaming experience. It went very well for me. I didn’t notice any significant performance difference compared to other games I’ve tried on Stadia, although I couldn’t perform technical tests.

I tried Control (which I already beat on PS5) on my computer and my phone – it worked fine over Wi-Fi on both platforms. Unfortunately, I can’t comment on 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 worked like a dream with nearly imperceptible latency. So I imagine it should work fine on 5G as well.

Note the data usage for the different quality settings on mobile. Gaming at up to 1080p can consume up to 12.6 GB of data per hour. Go for the setting that maxes out the resolution at 720p, and Control can use up to 4.5 GB per hour. There’s also a mobile-optimized 720p setting, which can capture 2.7GB of data for every hour of playback.

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 grab a clip that holds the controller and your phone in place for a few bucks.

The touch controls work well. For example, when you hold down RB (for protagonist Jesse to telekinetically hold an object in the air), you can move that same finger to rotate the camera, just like you would the right stick on a controller. Jesse can then find an enemy to throw the item at. That said, I recommend enabling aim assist in the settings if you’re using touch controls.

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

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

Control doesn’t quite have the same level of cultural cachet as Batman. However, it’s a brilliant and weird game that received several awards and Game of the Year honors from IGN in 2019. The Ultimate Edition includes both expansions, which are also worth checking out.

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

I hope those with an eligible AT&T plan will try this. Not only because Control is wonderful, but so they can see what game streaming 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 supplier’s website. They will both be available for a limited time.

During this time, I asked the folks at AT&T, Immersive Stream for Games and Control publisher 505 Games on launch. You can read what they had to say, including some intriguing insights into the future of cloud gaming and immersive streaming for games, here:

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