It seems that Google Stadia and/or Immersive Stream for Games are preparing to revolutionize their graphics hardware with new support for servers built with Nvidia GPUs.
Since its launch in 2019, Google Stadia and the Immersive Stream for Games service underlying – has been fed by custom GPUs from AMD. Researchers have generally agreed that servers for Stadia run on AMD’s Radeon Pro V340 hardware or something very close.
Based on information shared with us by a tipster, it appears that Google may have plans for Stadia and Immersive Stream to support additional graphics hardware. The information comes from Stadia’s modified version of the Linux kernel, which is supposed to be open source.
in a code change As of last month, we discovered that Google has added a form for its automated generator (“kokoro“) to include the necessary drivers for Nvidia GPUs.
Add support to the kokoro job script to generate a disk containing the NVIDIA UMD/KMD modules and corresponding support files required for instances using an NVIDIA GPU.
For now, there are no clues as to which specific Nvidia graphics card(s) may be coming to Stadia and Immersive Stream. While AMD has long offered open source GPU drivers for use with Linux devices, Nvidia has only recently started offering the same.
As such, the recently included Nvidia drivers for Stadia are not (yet) available for inspection. Despite the lack of details, the implications here are quite intriguing.
Since Stadia’s existing slate of games are generally optimized to run on AMD graphics cards, Google isn’t likely to change its servers to run on Nvidia GPUs. Doing so could cause problems in those games, affecting current players/customers.
Instead, it seems more likely that this Nvidia hardware will be available to developers as an alternative platform for their games. One possibility is that this change is just Google providing more options for game developers or potentially offsetting an ongoing chip shortage. In those cases, Nvidia’s hardware would presumably be the same as what Stadia games run on today.
However, the most interesting possibility is that Google could be preparing a hardware update for Stadia and Immersive Stream with new generation GPUs to play more graphics-intensive games. With strong competition coming from other cloud streaming services, including GeForce Now RTX 3080 level and Game Pass streaming upgrade to Xbox Series X hardware – Stadia certainly needs an update.
For now though, we’ll have to be patient to see what this Nvidia hardware change actually entails.
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