Google has hinted that it has its own solution for running Windows games on Stadia. Google is said to be planning to detail its Windows “emulator” for Linux next week at the Google for Games Developer Summit on March 15. Some Reddit users saw a summit session that will detail “how to write a Windows emulator for Linux from scratch”.
This session will be moderated by Marcin Undak, from Google’s Stadia Porting Platform team, and plans to show “a detailed look at the technology behind Google’s solution for running unmodified Windows games on Stadia.” Google is said to have created its own Windows emulator for Linux to help developers port games to the service without having to modify titles.
Running the emulator live on Stadia instead of just testing environments could lead to a lot more games on Stadia in the future with more opportunities for developers. When Stadia was first announced 3 years ago, the server hardware that powered everything ran on Linux, which meant that all developers had to port their games to Stadia. Google even partnered with other companies like Unreal and Havok, but developers still had to work to get their games to Stadia.
Google now seems to have found a solution to remove this work and allow Windows games to run unmodified. They mentioned an emulator, but that will probably later be a compatibility that can run Windows apps without needing to emulate them, which will cause fewer performance issues.
Valve has created its own Proton compatibility layer that allows Windows games to run on Linux with the use of a modified version of Wine. Proton helps the Steam Deck experience by mapping Microsoft’s Direct3D graphics APIs to Vulkan. Which proves that it is quite possible.
Google’s plans for the platform are unclear at this time, but we’re sure to hear more next week at the Google for Games Developer Summit next week.