Google has hinted at having its own solution for running Windows games on Stadia. It is said that Google are planning to detail its Windows ”emulator” for Linux next week at the Google for Games Developer Summit which is on March 15th. Some Reddit users have seen a session at the summit that will detail “how to write a Windows emulator for Linux from scratch.”
This session will be hosted by Marcin Undak, on Google’s Stadia porting platform team, and plans to show a ”detailed overview of the technology behind Google’s solution for running unmodified Windows games on Stadia.” It is said that Google has created its own Windows emulator for Linux in order to help developers port games to the service without the need to modify the titles.
Having the emulator run live on Stadia instead of just testing environments could lead to a lot more games coming to Stadia in the future with more opportunities for developers. When Stadia was first announced 3 years ago, the server hardware powering it all ran on Linux meaning all developers had to port their games to Stadia. Google even partnered with other companies such as Unreal and Havok, but developers still needed to put some work in in order to get their games on Stadia.
Google now seems to have made a solution to remove that work and allow Windows games to run unmodified. They have mentioned an emulator, but it will more likely be a compatibility later that is capable of running Windows applications without the need to emulate them, resulting in less 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 goes to show that it is definitely possible.
It’s not clear what Google’s plans are for the platform right now, but we are certain to learn more next week at the Google for Games Developer Summit next week.