Google hints at running Windows games via Stadia

Stadia could soon become the home for unmodified PC games, as it looks like Google has created its own solution to run Windows games via Stadia.

The search giant plans to provide details about a Windows emulator for Linux next week at its Game Developer Summit on March 15.

Reddit users discovered the session at the summit detailing how to write a Windows emulator for Linux.

The session included for the event is called “How to Write a Windows Emulator for Linux from Scratch”. It is meant to shed light on how the company has been able to do so.

The session is led by Marcin Ondak, from the Game Portal team at Stadia, and promises to provide a detailed overview of the technology behind Google’s solution for playing unmodified Windows games via Stadia.

The search giant appears to have built its own Windows emulator for Linux to help developers port games to the service without having to modify Linux games.

And if the emulator is run directly within Stadia rather than just testing environments, this could open the door to more games making their way to Stadia in the future.

When Google first unveiled Stadia three years ago, the servers running the service were all powered by Linux.

This meant that game developers had to port their games to Stadia. The search giant has partnered with Unreal, Unity and even intermediaries like Havok. But there is still some difficulty for developers to bring games to Stadia.

It now appears that the company has created a solution to remove this difficulty and allow Windows games to run without modification.

Google mentions an emulator here. But it is likely that the company has instead created a compatibility layer that is able to run Windows applications without having to emulate them directly and experiencing performance issues.

Google might use something like Proton

Valve has created its own Proton compatibility layer that allows Windows games to be played across Linux using a modified version of Wine.

Proton is now helping power the Steam Deck experience by porting Microsoft’s Direct3D graphics APIs to Vulkan.

It also includes Google’s deep dive into technical details about its technology and how programmers can create their own emulator.

Google is not the only company that wants to bring unmodified Windows games to the game streaming service. Amazon’s Luna game streaming service is currently powered by Windows. But the company is trying to hire experienced developers to work with Proton.

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