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Could Google be testing a Windows emulator for Stadia?

stadia controller
(Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The Google for Games Developer Summit begins on March 15, 2022. 
  • According to the description of one of the sessions, Google is working on running Windows games on Stadia. 
  • This could mean that Google is developing an emulator for Windows PC games, instead of getting distinct ports for Stadia. 

Google may be testing out Windows emulation on Stadia, though to exactly what extent remains unclear. 

As spotted on Reddit (via The Verge), Google will be hosting a Games Developer Summit session on "Google's solution for running unmodified Windows games on Stadia." Right now, Stadia requires developers to build separate versions of games, resulting in Google signing expensive ports for titles like Rockstar Games' Red Dead Redemption 2 and Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Odyssey. 

Google isn't the first company to try emulating Windows PC games on Linux, with Valve's Steam Deck handheld device using the Proton compatibility layer to bring games over without any work being required by the developers. The process for Proton isn't perfect however, resulting in some games not performing or running as well as others, though Valve is continuing to work on verifying additional games. 

This could indicate a shift in strategy for Google moving forward, working to bring PC games to Stadia instead of paying companies for ports. We should learn more about Google's endeavors with emulation soon, as the Google Games Developer Summit is set to begin on March 15, 2022. 

Stadia is a service for third-party games only right now, as Google announced the closure of Stadia Games and Entertainment, its first-party division, back in February 2021. Some of the developers have worked to open new studios, while Stadia Games and Entertainment head Jade Raymond went on to found Haven, an independent games studio. Haven is currently working with PlayStation Studios to develop a PS5 console exclusive title. 

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on PlayStation on Android Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert