Google Stadia now has Click-to-Play trials and new development porting tools
Google has been expanding its Stadia game streaming service recently, with support for more smart TVs and the slow-but-steady rollout of additional games. However, reports about Google’s attention shifting from a games service to a white-label streaming technology for other companies has put a damper on excitement around Stadia. Now there’s somegood news for both Stadia players and game developers, with two new feature announcements.
First, Google is attempting to make supporting Stadia easier for developers, with the introduction of ‘Low Change Porting’ (LCP). While other streaming services like GeForce Now and Amazon Luna are powered by cloud-based Windows virtual machines, Google Stadia uses a custom Linux-based architecture, which improves game responsiveness at the cost of additional work for developers.
LCP is a new set of components and tools, including libraries that automatically translate DirectX calls to Vulkan (presumably similar to/based on Valve’s Vkd3d library), improved Unity and Unreal Engine support, and new tools for playtesting/quality assurance. Low CHange Porting is currently used by Mataboo’s City Legends and Milestone Srl’s MotoGP 21, and Google will roll out the tools to other Stadia partners later this year.
The other improvement coming to Stadia is Click to Play Trials, which allows anyone to immediately play a game for a set amount of time determined by the game developer. Click to Play doesn’t require entering payment details or creating a Stadia account, and game developers don’t have to update any code to activate it. The technology was already being tested with a few games, like Jackbox Party Pack 8, but it will roll out to all partners sometime in 2022.
Google is hoping both LCP and Click to Play will improve Stadia’s game library and player counts. The company says its early tests with Click to Play improved click-through rates by 35% compared to traditional Buy/Claim messages, and increased player engagement by 70% compared to regular advertisements.