A recent interview shines an interesting light on how Google thinks of Stadia in relation to Immersive Stream for Games.

When Google announced that it was winding down its efforts to make first-party and second-party titles through Stadia Games & Entertainment, one of the details that came out was that Google would be bringing Stadia’s streaming tech to other companies. This was first put to use by AT&T last year, when it offered the full version of Batman: Arkham Knight to its customers, and more recently when the company expanded to include Control.

At GDC this year, Google formally announced its work on this, dubbing it “Immersive Stream for Games,” which many thought of as a “white label” or business-to-business product of Stadia. However, this isn’t the way that Google sees the relationship between Immersive Stream and Stadia.

In an interview with Forbes, Dov Zimring, Google’s head of product for Immersive Stream and Stadia, says that Stadia was simply “the first platform to use Immersive Stream for Games.” Google put it to us another way, that Stadia is a result of Immersive Stream for Games, not the other way around.

The implication here would be that Google was always intending on the core streaming components of Immersive Stream becoming available to other companies. By comparison, though, when Stadia was first announced in 2019, Google put all of its hype and emphasis on Stadia as a product in and of itself, not as a byproduct of a Google Cloud service.

Before Stadia’s announcement, our only insight into the company’s cloud gaming efforts was 2018’s Project Stream. This “technical test” showcased the work Google had done to solve the problems of high-bandwidth, low-latency streaming on any connected screen. In hindsight, Project Stream was just as much a demo of Immersive Stream for Games as it was for Stadia.

While Stadia was in its earliest days, Google treated it like a new pillar of the hardware division, alongside Nest and Fitbit. Now that Stadia’s potential for near-term success is waning, the emphasis has shifted, as previously reported, to make Immersive Stream the focus of Google’s gaming efforts. Google has even already begun to expand the latter branding, recently unveiling Immersive Stream for XR, which can stream high fidelity 3D models seamlessly into your phone camera’s view.

9to5Google’s Take

So what does this shift in emphasis mean for Stadia going forward? If Stadia is simply a product of Immersive Stream for Games, then Google’s ability to license out and improve on Immersive Stream will allow for improvements that Stadia players should benefit from over time.

In this author’s view, this is actually a far better state of affairs for Stadia, as the service’s fate is no longer tied to its own success.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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