Google Stadia may soon be able to play unmodified Windows PC games

Google Stadia
Google Stadia (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Google may have created a Windows emulator for Linux that will allow more games to be playable on Stadia.
  • A session for the upcoming Google for Games Developer Summit will discuss how the company managed to get unmodified Windows games to run on Stadia.
  • Google's intention may be to allow developers to get unmodified Windows games to run on its Stadia platform.

Google may soon unveil a way for game developers to get unmodified Windows games running on Stadia. According to details of an upcoming session from the Google for Games Developer Summit, the company will share its technical process for getting Windows games to run on Stadia. This could clear the way for developers to replicate the process.

Convincing developers to port titles to the Linux-based Stadia has proven difficult. As a result, some big-name titles are not available on the streaming service. Any move in the direction of allowing developers to use code from the Windows versions of games could help bolster Google's platform.

Below are the details for the session:

How to write a Windows emulator for Linux from scratch?Detailed overview of the technology behind Google's solution for running unmodified Windows games on Stadia. This is a deep technical walkthrough of some of the core concepts with the goal to allow curious programmers to better understand such technologies and potentially to build their own.

The session will run for 25 minutes and will be led by Marcin Undak from Google Stadia's porting platform team.

The description of the session leaves room for speculation. The line "potentially to build their own" could indicate that Google has figured out a way to run unmodified Windows games on Stadia, but that it will require developers to recreate the process for specific titles. This would likely be easier than porting games to Linux.

Google isn't the first company to get Windows games to run on Linux. Valve's Proton is a compatibility layer that lets the best PC games run on Wine. Proton tech is also used by the Steam Deck.

The Google for Games Developer Summit is on March 15, 2022, so we won't have to wait long to see what Google has in store.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

9 Comments
  • I would consider it embarrassing if Stadia is able to deliver Windows games before Xbox Cloud Gaming does.
  • And if they do. People still won't hop on Stadia. They are not even fixing the lack of games and the dead Marketing campaign for Stadia that never even started imo. This move is pretty wack if you ask me. How bad is your platform if people still have to ask what Stadia is.
  • Stadia is still dead no matter what.
  • I remember hearing that they had reached out to Valve about using Proton. Maybe this is related to that.
  • Stadia is Linux-based? What a world?
    I can't understand why they would choose a platform that limits their catalog from the get go. What are the benefits, I wonder?
  • Not having to pay for Windows licensing and being able to strip down the OS as needed.
  • But does it make a difference for servers? I mean, it will save them money, but if it's at the expense of their catalog, like it has been since release, I wouldn't think it's a great idea. Basically a small catalog was one of the big drawbacks of Stadia when it was alive.
  • It matters to them, apparently.
    STADIA as originally envisioned was a platform all its own with its own APIs optimized for cloud-only.
    But it ran into the classic chicken-and-egg quandary: not enough value (read:unique games) to get consumers committed to the platform and not enough committed consumers to get developers committed. Same problem plaguing every other new platform proponent. The original XBOX had the same problem, but to a lesser extent because MS had HALO, PROJECT GOTHAM, MORROWIND, DOA... And still, the majority of the developers were happy to do just PS2 versions. STADIA as a standalone platform is a no-go.
    Stadia as a developer tool enabling individual games to run via cloud has, on paper, some value but not enough to meet google's lofty expectations. And there already are other products doing that.
  • LUNA already does this.
    It hasn't helped.
    Their problem is not the tech: it's the business model.
    MS tying cloud gaming to a games catalog makes it a feature rather than a standalone product.
    That means selling Stadia services to developers, not consumers, for individual games. And that is dubious because developers do fine without it.
    Stadia is a solution in search of a problem.