Stadia’s “Low Change Porting” Helps Bring Windows Games

Google unveiled its latest efforts to make it easier for businesses, including Steel Wool Studios, the developers of Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach – to port Windows games to Stadia.

Three years after Stadia first showed off at GDC 2019, Google has once again returned to the conference to outline its ambitions for the game streaming service.

One of the major known limitations of Stadia from the start is that instead of being Windows-based, where many PC games install today, Google based the system on Linux. Gaming on Linux has been a booming market for years – as highlighted by the recent launch of Valve’s Steam Deck – but Windows has the lion’s share of games and gamers.

At last year’s GDC, Google spoke at length about its efforts to make it as easy as possible for game developers who use the Unity and Unreal engines to bring their titles to Stadia. This was coupled with mentions of a work in progress “Stadia Porting Toolkit”, which aimed to “translate” games from Windows to Linux for Stadia’s sake.

For the Google for Games Developer Summit at GDC 2022, the Stadia team shared the progress of this toolkit, now called “Low Change Porting”. The biggest change is that more than 10 partner studios are actively testing its potential to port their Windows games to Stadia. In fact, at least one previously announced game – Cities Skylines, which is slated to come to Stadia in the spring – has been brought to the platform using these tools.

Later this year, the Low Change Porting Toolkit will be more widely available to developers. A list of some of the current partners includes Steel Wool Studios, the company behind the most recent Five nights at Freddy’s games, and Team17, the studio responsible for Overcooked franchise.

  • Practical games
  • Legacy Games
  • Milestone Srl
  • Nacon
  • Interactive Paradox
  • Interactive Saber
  • Steel Wool Studios
  • Team17
  • Wired Productions

Stadia offers a clean API and good documentation. Google provides a platform that we can easily work with. Massive Miniteam and HandyGames are happy to bring more titles for the future.

— Tim Schroeder, CEO of Massive Miniteam with HandyGames

From this speech and Low Change Porting’s efforts, it’s clear that Google has the ambition to continue to incentivize studios to bring games to its streaming platform, both for Stadia’s sake and for the white label service “Immersive Stream for Games”, now officially unveiled.

On a related note, one of the other Googlers talks at today’s summit is titled “How to Write a Windows Emulator for Linux from Scratch?” While the techniques demonstrated in the talk – quite similar to those of Valve’s Proton software – will certainly be beneficial in bringing Windows games to Linux and therefore Stadia, it’s not Stadia announcing immediate support for Windows games. Instead, think of it as one of many potential tools in Stadia’s low-change porting toolkit for game studios.

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