Google Chrome users in the U.S. can now launch select video games directly from Google Search results, much like you already could for movies, music, and TV shows.
The games run in your browser via cloud streaming services such as GeForce Now or Microsoft Cloud Streaming, meaning you can play on any computer, smartphone, or tablet that runs Google Chrome. Even weak devices can play games this way — often in 1080p resolution and 60fps with minimal input lag — as long as you have a strong and stable internet connection.
Wait, isn’t this just Google Stadia?
If you’re thinking, “couldn’t Chrome already do this?” you’re correct. Google’s Stadia cloud streaming service also lets you play games through Chrome or the Stadia app on phones and smart TVs. However, Google plans to discontinue Stadia in January 2023. This new feature, though similar, is separate from the Stadia service, though probably not from the underlying technology.
No console 🎮? No problem. Now you can search and launch video games in the cloud instantly with Google. ☁️ Available in the U.S., in English for mobile and desktop. pic.twitter.com/Zpj5DVBCkD
— Google (@Google) December 13, 2022
Replies to Google’s announcement Tweet highlight the confusion, and many users expressed frustration that Google is launching the new Chrome feature just weeks before Stadia shuts down.
But it’s important to remember that Stadia is shutting down due to poor financial performance and lack of interest from users, not because the technology didn’t work. Frankly, Stadia actually worked pretty well, despite its confusing monetisation strategy. Plenty of other streaming service work in web browsers, so the new feature isn’t unexpected, either.
In fact, Google teased the ability to launch games through Google search months before it announced Stadia’s closure, and we can assume Stadia would’ve been included in the list of supported cloud platforms if it wasn’t going away.
Google also said it plans to use the service’s streaming tech for other platforms, like YouTube, Google Play, and Google AR, following Stadia’s shutdown, and says it will share the tech with other companies, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more Stadia-like features crop up in other Google products in the near future.
How to stream games with Google Chrome
- Open Chrome and search for the game you’re interested in playing.
- If the game is playable, the information panel will list streaming services that have the game available. Click “Play” next to your platform of choice to open the game.
- If you already have an account and are signed in to the streaming service you chose, the game should load automatically. If you don’t, you will need to go through the signup and login steps first.
- Some games may also require a gamepad or keyboard and mouse to play, so keep a Bluetooth controller on hand if you’re playing on mobile.