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Google have now finally unveiled their new cloud gaming service named Stadia, offering instant access to play games in Google Chrome.

What they joked was the worst-kept secret in the industry (no kidding), sounds like quite an interesting service. Certainly one that could eventually end up redefining what gaming is. A little hyperbolic maybe? I'm not so sure considering how easy this should be to jump into a game. On top of that, they very clearly talked about how it's built on Linux (Debian specifically) and Vulkan with custom GPUs from AMD.

Something they showed off, was how you could be watching a game trailer with a button to play it on Stadia and (supposedly within a few seconds) you would jump right into it. That's quite en exciting idea, one that would easily pull in quite a lot of people I've no doubt.

As for resolution, they said it will support 1080p and 4K around 60FPS at release with 8K being worked on as well but that sounds further out if anyone even cares about 8K right now.

They also showed off their new controller, with a dedicated Google Assistant button and a button to capture video immediately for YouTube:


While Google are making their own dedicated gamepad, they did say it will be compatible with other devices too.

They also announced partnerships with both Unity and Unreal Engine and Stadia will "embrace full cross-platform play" including "game saves and progression". They also had id Software, talk about how it didn't take long to bring the new Doom Eternal to Stadia, thanks to how they made the previous Doom game with Vulkan.

This means, that development for Linux is suddenly going to become a priority for a lot more developers and publishers. I don't want to overstate how important that is, but it's a very exciting prospect. This doesn't suddenly mean we're going to see a lot more Linux games on the desktop, but it's entirely possible after they go through all the work to get the games working on Linux with Vulkan for Stadia.

Stream Connect is another service they talked about. They mentioned how developers have pushed the boundaries of gaming but often local co-op is left out, as doing it multiple times in top-end games can require really beefy hardware. With Stradia, each instance would be powered by their servers so it wouldn't be such an issue. They also talked about how if you're playing some sort of squad-based game, how you could bring up their screen to see what they're doing which sounds very cool.

Google also announced the formation of their own game studio, Stadia Games and Entertainment, to work on exclusive games for their new service.

As for support from more external game developers, they mentioned how they've shipped "development hardware" to over 100 developers. From what they said, it should be open to smaller developers as well as the usual AAA bunch.

Stadia is confirmed to be launching this year and it will be first available in the US, Canada, UK and "most of Europe". One thing wasn't mentioned at all—price, but they said more details will be available in the summer. The official site is also now up on stadia.com and developers have their own website to look over.

Google also posted up some extra information on their developer blog:

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. We’re investing in open-source technology to create the best platform for developers, in partnership with the people that use it. 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. State-of-the-art graphics tools are critical to game developers, and we’re excited to leverage and contribute to RenderDoc, GAPID and Radeon GPU Profiler — best of breed open-source graphics debugging and profiling tools that are continually improving.

There's probably plenty I missed, you can see their video on YouTube here.

As exciting and flashy as it sounds, it's obviously not Linux "desktop" gaming which is what the majority of our audience is likely interested in. However, things change and if it does become a huge hit we will cover it more often if readers request it. Linux gaming can mean all sorts of things from native games to emulators, Wine and Steam Play and now perhaps some cloud gaming so I don't want to rule it out. However, I can't see this replacing Steam, Humble, GOG, itch.io and so on for me personally.

Obviously there’s still a lot of drawbacks to such a service, especially since you will likely have zero ownership of the actual games so they could get taken away at any time when licensing vanishes. At least with stores like Steam, you still get to access those games because you purchased them. Although, this does depend on what kind of licensing Google do with developers and publishers, it might not be an issue at all but it’s still a concern of mine. Latency and input lag, are also two other major concerns but given Google's power with their vast networks, it might not be so bad.

Also, good luck monitoring your bandwidth use with this, it's likely going to eat up a lot all of it. YouTube and Netflix use up quite a bit just for watching a 30-minute episode of something in good quality, how about a few hours per day gaming across Stadia? Ouch.

That doesn't even address the real elephant in the room, you're going to be giving Google even more of your data if you use this service, a lot more. This is the company that failed to promptly disclose a pretty huge data leak in Google+ after all. I don't want to be some sort of scaremongering crazy-person but it's something to think about.

As always, the comments are open for you to voice your opinion on it. Please remain respectful to those with a different opinion on the matter.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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310 comments
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Shmerl 5 April 2019 at 12:46 am UTC
x_wingSo, you think that game devs doesn't have such tests, don't you?

I said Google can help. I.e. reducing the costs for it. You said that was the concern, not I. I don't think it's a major cost, but if Google can help, it will be even lower.
mirv 5 April 2019 at 7:27 am UTC
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Shmerl
x_wingSo, you think that game devs doesn't have such tests, don't you?

I said Google can help. I.e. reducing the costs for it. You said that was the concern, not I. I don't think it's a major cost, but if Google can help, it will be even lower.

QA costs a lot more than you might think.
Zlopez 5 April 2019 at 8:30 am UTC
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[quote=mirv]
ShmerlQA costs a lot more than you might think.

Yes, QA is very costly. But if the Google could provide some testing machines, that could run your tests, you could at least some QA to your customers. But this depends on Google itself, if it wouldn't want to promote Linux gaming and only support Stadia, this will not be the case.
mirv 5 April 2019 at 10:34 am UTC
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Google won't freely help with desktop QA unless there's something in it for Google. I don't personally see any reason for them to get involved beyond Stadia.
x_wing 5 April 2019 at 12:31 pm UTC
Shmerl
x_wingSo, you think that game devs doesn't have such tests, don't you?

I said Google can help. I.e. reducing the costs for it. You said that was the concern, not I. I don't think it's a major cost, but if Google can help, it will be even lower.

No, you just mentioned unit tests and regression tests, which are test that devs and qa has to implement, setup and maintain. Google can provide a new framework (outside of the many that already exists), but is up to the devs and qa to invest time in order to use them.

As I already mentioned, tests are specific for your software and you have to develop and maintain them for many platforms (in this case). But still, there are many testing that aren't easy to automate (e.g. renderer testing) and you will need a human being that will have to run your test on many pc configurations. And is in this point where Stadia unique setup reduces costs.
Shmerl 5 April 2019 at 3:21 pm UTC
Not impossible to automate. And Google with their resources are exactly in good position to help automating a lot of it. They want to get involved in gaiming, then can bring major benefits for developers to attract them.
const 5 April 2019 at 6:22 pm UTC
I still don't get it. Why in the world should google be forced to create a drm free linux gaming store and help QA testing games for our niche platform? 'Because they could' is not a strong argument at all. They 'could' also pay fair taxes, as could a lot of other corporations.
If they actively worked against us - and we all could name several parties that actively and purposely worked against our goals - we had a reason to be against them, but I don't see them do it, yet.
We still don't know any details about their efforts and from all we know, it could actuallyhelp us by encouraging developers to port games to Vulkan and Linux. But it's still the publishers decision to do the extra work to do QA and publish. Also, google is no game seller outside the android market and did not hint any plans to do so.
With the current skepticism of the EU regarding internet corporations and their spreading into new business niches, they might very well get a lot of push-back if they start to sell (virtual) goods outside android. Also, corporations doing business with a political agenda is seen pretty negative in the EU these days and what you imply would have no other reason.

If there is any party in the position to emphasize on linux publishing, it would be Valve. Selling games is their key business. There is evidence Valve is planning to build up a linux based streaming framework themselves (and they would be wise to do so) and if their runtime environment is even remotely similar to google's, they might decide that the workflow to make a game available for streaming is to publish a game for Linux on their store. That could turn out a profit for everyone. If developers could target linux gaming and Valve streaming with the same build they use for stadia, they might very well be willing to do the extra QA needed.

What might also change the situation would be google actually selling gamer chromebooks. Stadia might make it possible for them to build a compatible gaming platform on top of ChromeOS and use their *dominance in streaming* to help their ChromeBook business. If that ever happens, I'll gladly help you pressure them to give us access to it.
But I don't yet see that happen, as ChromeOS pretty much is about moving applications to the cloud, sad as it is.


Last edited by const at 5 April 2019 at 6:56 pm UTC
Shmerl 5 April 2019 at 7:16 pm UTC
I recommend you to avoid speculating about "why", looking for excuses why they shouldn't do it, and instead voice your support for them doing it. You can do it here:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Stadia/comments/b977ex/proposal_for_google_stadia_provide_drmfree/
const 5 April 2019 at 7:31 pm UTC
ShmerlI recommend you to avoid speculating about "why", looking for excuses why they shouldn't do it, and instead voice your support for them doing it. You can do it here:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Stadia/comments/b977ex/proposal_for_google_stadia_provide_drmfree/
Thanks, but no. I told you the conditions under which I'd raise my voice. Maybe something else will happen, that will change my mind. I wish you best luck, anyway. It's not like I'm against them doing it. ;)
Shmerl 5 April 2019 at 7:41 pm UTC
constThanks, but no. I told you the conditions under which I'd raise my voice. Maybe something else will happen, that will change my mind. I wish you best luck, anyway. It's not like I'm against them doing it. ;)

As I wrote in the other thread, your silence equals approval of the opposite direction in this case. I.e. it's easy for them to look at it and say "since no one said anything, then everyone is OK with what we are doing". So that's disappointing, but up to you of course.


Last edited by Shmerl at 5 April 2019 at 7:41 pm UTC
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