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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 19 March 2019 at 11:16 pm UTC
subDidn't many people say NVidia will provide some open-source driver (not necessarily opening the current blob) when there is strong demand by the industry - not Joe user like you and me, ofc?

So are we there yet?

That can actually be the breaking point for them indeed. Time will tell.
STiAT 19 March 2019 at 11:23 pm UTC
I'd say it's guaranteed that we'll have even more games. It's built entirely upon the chrome platform on the client side. As long as we've chrome, I bet Stadia will work on Linux.

Not natively, but native games isn't what stadia strives for.

I personally don't see developers going through the hassle natively supporting linux if they can utilize Stadia. If it succeeds.

I personally can see me using this platform for gaming. Latency will be the one thing to consider.


Last edited by STiAT at 19 March 2019 at 11:25 pm UTC
Shmerl 19 March 2019 at 11:36 pm UTC
STiATI personally don't see developers going through the hassle natively supporting linux if they can utilize Stadia. If it succeeds.

That's not a good thing. I'm not really interested in browser games limited by bandwidth and latency, that can't even be backed up, when I already have good enough hardware to run them at full performance directly. Let's hope it won't be too difficult for developers to make desktop versions from Stadia ones.


Last edited by Shmerl at 19 March 2019 at 11:36 pm UTC
Vortex_Acherontic 19 March 2019 at 11:40 pm UTC
Hm, sounds promising ... but it's google which makes me a little bit skeptical in terms of privacy and and all that custom ads which might occur like on google Play store based on the games you've played.
Yes Steam dose show ads for games I might enjoy too, but at least they are not google and I have a lot more thrust in them as I have in Google

Also I wonder, if this would take of, if they someday decide to interrupt your game with ads or maybe in game ads like on some mobile games on android.
But if I think a little bit further it might be not that bad, for example, if they offer you a free trial or a "free" license like some free to play android games and than they are showing some ads would be okay if it is not to much.

Gnaaaaaa ... I'm reaaaaaly skeptical about Google in terms of Ad systems, user tracking and privacy
Google Analytics (and a lot others of course too) are constantly on my Scripts Blacklist in Firefox ^^"

Also I'm a little bit displeased with the part where they said it works on Google Chrome ... only?


Last edited by Vortex_Acherontic at 19 March 2019 at 11:42 pm UTC
Aeder 20 March 2019 at 12:13 am UTC
Considering indies need all the cash they can get, this could at the very least get some of the dev teams behind high quality indie games to finally make use of the Linux exporters in Unity and Unreal in addition to the recently added Stadia exporters. After all, if your game gets tested on normal Linux, it'll surely work on Stadia, and you get both revenue streams to justify the porting process. That alone could boost Linux library a lot.

Any big company using AAA custom engines probably has 0 issues porting to Linux other than not having a financial incentive at the moment.
Acrophobic 20 March 2019 at 12:30 am UTC
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I'm a bit torn on this news. It's cool, but as a Linux gamer and user it scares me.

The positive :

1st, now there are two huge company that push gaming on Linux, (i.e Steam and Google), and both of them work from two different angle. Steam, with its Proton aims to make Windows game can be played and distributed easily to Linux, without changing any code in developer side. Meanwhile, Google with its Stadia will brings its own SDK for creating native Linux game. So, Steam is working on compatibility while Google working on native side.

2nd, in Stadia, all games is played real time on Google server [0]. It means, now we don't need a huge beefy PC to play AAA game. In fact, I think what pushed Google to built Stadia is the fact that they have been successfully conquered the cheap laptop space with the Chromebook.

3rd, it's interesting to see what kind of technology that Google will bring for this. It seems Google will support up to 4K at 60 fps at launch, and it’s planning to support up to 8K resolutions and 120 fps in the future [1]. Streaming the video with that resolution is easy with Google, since YouTube already supported that. What interesting is how Google will do it while maintaining low latency from around the world.

The negative :

1st, it's Google. Excluding the privacy issue aside, Google IMHO is not really good at preserving data. For example, with Google+ gone, there are many post and article there that will be gone as well. However, since Google+ is mostly text and video, users can download the data, and Internet Archive is able to archive it. Now, with Stadia, since all game is exist in Google server, there are almost no way for us the user to preserving the game. Sure, it's the same with all DRM game, however DRM eventually can be cracked in future, while Stadia's game might be not, since it's not even exist in our PC.

2nd, it's Google. If you ever publish your app in Play Store, you might know that Google can suspend your account without notice, and there are almost zero chance to contest the decision. Forget human, even the bot might not answer your question. I wonder how it will go with Stadia.

3rd, how the payment method will be. Since the game is stored in Google's server, whether played or not, it will take resources to save. Therefore, one time payment might be not sustainable for this. So, there is possibility that the payment method will be subscription based, or there might be advertisement, or both. No matter which, I hate it.

4th, another new game store with its exclusive title. When Epic Store released, we thought the competition will make gaming world better. We thought Steam will increase portion for developer, cheaper game price, better client, etc. What happened, the new store is hoarding exclusive titles, while the old store doesn't improve at all. I believe this will happen with Stadia as well.

Conclusion

In the end, only time will tell, but I'm pessimistic about Stadia. I'm sure I wont use it though, considering I have small internet bandwidth

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19434267
[1] https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/19/18271702/google-stadia-cloud-gaming-service-announcement-gdc-2019


Last edited by Acrophobic at 20 March 2019 at 12:31 am UTC
Mordrag 20 March 2019 at 12:38 am UTC
Best Case Scenario:
Nearly no extra work required to port to Linux Desktop.

Worst Case Scenario:
Still not more native Games but more Vulkan Games
-> better performance in wine

And still they are contributing to mesa and the kernel etc.
I dont think that streaming games will takeover the "normal" gaming any time soon.
The input lag will be to bad in non urban areas.
So either way Linux Desktop will benefit from this.
Comandante Ñoñardo 20 March 2019 at 1:32 am UTC
On His twitter account, Agustin Cordes, (Scratches and Asylum) made some interesting observations and I agree with Him.
QuoteThis is a good chance for game journalism to ask hard questions rather than gushing over game announcements:
1) What data is Stadia going to track? Can users opt-out?
2) Has Google analyzed the implications of energy consumption?
3) Is this usable in underdeveloped countries?



https://twitter.com/AgustinCordes/status/1108088157562720257
QuoteWith the increasing energy crisis the world is facing (while we're all comfortably using Twitter, there's still entire countries without access to electricity), is this really the sensible direction to take?
NeptNutz 20 March 2019 at 2:18 am UTC
Does anyone remember when they could link their Steam account to OnLive and play there? Considering the millions of people this service simply won't work for, it's not hard to envision a "Digital + Blu-ray"-type tier here (only "Streaming + Digital" now), where Steam fulfills the download and Google links the Steam version. This is how it works with PS NOW and PlayStation Plus: you can "just" stream, you can "just" load and save locally, or you can combine the two and have your progress connected.

Steam has plenty of fails where Google excels, and Google has plenty of fails where Steam excels. It's a pretty good match really.

Besides, after DOOM (2016) running on Vulkan, NOBODY is going to stream that!
Purple Library Guy 20 March 2019 at 2:21 am UTC
iiariA question for everyone, though: Is anyone else surprised Google has backed off Google Fiber and having its own ISP? I mean, this is going to need gobs of bandwidth for low latency, 4K gaming. The ISP's/cable companies could put a serious crimp into Google's plans in our new non-net-neutral age. I imagined if they had this planned (and I think it could be really big for them $$-wise) they would still be working on being a low cost data provider... Ideas?
Those ISPs wanted non-net-neutrality so they can push content at the same time. If they screw with Google nobody will ever find their shiny new content 'cause it will be buried on page 3 of every search.
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