Stadia is Google’s New Gaming Service Powered by Linux & Open-Source Tech

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Stadia, a brand new game streaming service from Google, has been revealed — and it’s powered by open source technology.

Long rumoured, but only formally announced at Games Developer Conference (GDC) 2019, the cloud gaming service promises to let gamers game from pretty much anywhere they want.

There’s no Stadia console; no box you buy and hook up to your TV. Instead, games run from a datacenter and are streamed to you via the internet. Games can be streamed at up to 4k at 60fps, depending on your connection, of course.

So folks, the dream of playing AAA games on Stadia on your crummy downstairs TV; your mid-range Android; or a potato laptop running Linux and Google Chrome, is now real.

A look at the stadia controllerA look at the stadia controller
Image Credit: @Engadget

Google designed a custom controller to accompany the service. The pad has built-in Wi-Fi and microphone, plus dedicated buttons for streaming games to YouTube and opening Google Assistant.

In all, it’s kind of like a more varied and more fancy and more accessible version of Playstation Now (itself based on the short-lived OnLive service).

Google has yet to reveal details on pricing and availability, but has said Stadia will launch this year in the US, Canada, UK and “most of” Europe.

Stadia is Powered by Open Source Software

The world’s first cloud-native gaming service is also a Linux one. It

Google is using an open-source software stack to power Stadia, as it explains in an introductory blog post:

“Google believes that open source is good for everyone. It enables and encourages collaboration and the development of technology, solving real-world problems. This is especially true on Stadia, as we believe the game development community has a strong history of collaboration, innovation and shared gains as techniques and technology continually improve.”

This is more than just lip service, too. The company details what it’s using and how:

“This starts with our platform foundations of Linux and Vulkan and shows in our selection of GPUs that have open-source drivers and tools. We’re integrating LLVM and DirectX Shader Compiler to ensure you get great features and performance from our compilers and debuggers.”

Where things get really exciting (especially for those more comfortable with traditional native gaming) is in the overspill; the attention that Linux gaming and reliant graphics technologies will receive as a by-product of Stadia.

For instance, Google says it’s shipped Stadia “development hardware” to more than 100 games developers and studios. This is to help shore-up support for the service ahead of its launch.

While it doesn’t necessarily follow that a game made for Stadia will be made available on Linux via a distribution store like Steam, the possibility is there. After all, if they’ve already gone to the effort of supporting Stadia (a Linux gaming platform), why not, right?

Learn More about Stadia

Learn a little bit more about Stadia — dubbed “the future of gaming from Google” — by leveraging your ocular inclusions and aural appendages on this lengthy keynote:

The official Stadia website also offers more information, including a sign-up form where you can register interest in the service (and presumably be pummelled with information as a launch date approaches).

We’re also running a poll on Twitter to scope out your thoughts on the service.

Stadia has a few obvious drawbacks, like lack of ownership (in some profound ways), latency and input lag, bandwidth consumption, and (thanks to its multitude of social features and a gamepad with built-in microphone) privacy concerns, too.

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