Stadia teases support for “unmodified” Windows games


Stadia has struggled so far, largely related to a lack of compelling games in its library. Now, it looks like Google is ready to remove a hurdle to bringing games to Stadia, with support for “unmodified” Windows titles on the cloud gaming platform.

Next week, on March 15, Google will host the “Google for Games Developer Summit”, a developer-focused event that will talk about Android, Google Play Games for PC, and Stadia. A session within the event caught the attention of many in the Stadia community for good reason – it teases that Google is opening the door to more Windows games running on Stadia.

The description of the session bed:

How to write a Windows emulator for Linux from scratch?

Detailed overview of the technology behind Google’s solution to run unmodified Windows games on Stadia. This is an in-depth technical overview of some of the basic concepts with the aim of enabling curious programmers to better understand these technologies and possibly create their own.

Google hasn’t provided any information beyond that yet, but this blurb alone offers plenty of information on what’s to come. Stadia, if you didn’t already know, runs on a Linux base. That’s not exactly a bad thing, but it does mean there’s a bit more work to bring games to Stadia from a developer perspective, especially if that title doesn’t have an existing Linux port – okay that’s not rare enough, it’s not hard to find games on Steam, for example, that don’t support Linux. Windows, on the other hand, has become the go-to platform for gaming. That’s probably part of the reason Amazon Luna was built on Windows.

Notably, Google previously announced a “Stadia Porting Toolkit” that was intended to make it much easier to modify APIs in a Windows game. According to Google’s description, this is very it’s likely that this porting toolkit is at least related, if not exactly to what the company is announcing next week. Valve also recently put more emphasis on Proton for the Steam Deck, a tool that makes Windows games playable on Linux.

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In theory, removing a sticking point for Stadia to get games from the vast library of Windows-compatible titles would open the door to huge expansion with relative ease for developers. As someone who plays a lot of games on Windows and would love to be able to access those same titles on Stadia’s frictionless cloud platform – as great as GeForce Now works, setup is always a bit of a nightmare – I hope things will work out.

But at the same time, the other, arguably most important sticking point that Google needs to work against is Stadia’s public image. More games would attract more players, but the platform needs more players to really attract developers. It’s a chicken or egg situation, unfortunately.

Learn more about Stadia:

*Update to correct an erroneous statement on Proton

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