With new support for servers made with Nvidia GPUs, Google Stadia and/or Immersive Stream for Games appear ready to overhaul their graphic hardware.

custom-built GPUs from AMD has been the technology behind Google Stadia and the Immersive Stream for Games service since their 2019 launches. Most researchers concur that AMD’s Radeon Pro V340 technology, or something very similar to it, powers Stadia servers.

It appears Google may have plans for Stadia and Immersive Stream to accommodate extra graphics hardware based on information provided to us by a tipster. The information is derived from Stadia’s patched Linux kernel, which must be an open source project.

We discovered Google has provided a means for their automated builder ( Kokoro ) to incorporate the essential drivers for Nvidia GPUs in an code change from last month.

To create a disk with the UMD/KMD NVIDIA modules and corresponding support files needed for instances that use an NVIDIA GPU, add support to the kokoro job script.

The precise Nvidia graphics card(s) that might be coming to Stadia and Immersive Stream are currently unknown. While AMD has long made open source GPU drivers for Linux devices available, Nvidia has recently started doing the same.

Because of this, Stadia’s newly added Nvidia drivers are not (yet) accessible for review. Even though there are few specifics, the ramifications are quite intriguing.

It’s unlikely that Google will switch its servers to run on Nvidia GPUs because Stadia’s current lineup of games is often geared to work on AMD graphics cards. It’s possible that doing so would interfere with current players’/customers’ ability to enjoy those games.

It seems more likely that developers would have access to this Nvidia technology as an alternate platform for their games. One explanation for this development is that Google may be giving game developers additional alternatives or even making up for the existing chip shortage. In those circumstances, the Nvidia hardware would probably be comparable to what Stadia games currently operate on.

The most interesting option, however, is that Google may be planning to replace Stadia and Immersive Stream’s hardware with newer-generation GPUs to support games with higher graphic demands. Stadia is undoubtedly overdue for an upgrade given the intense competition from other cloud streaming services like GeForce Now’s RTX 3080 tier and Game Pass’s upgrading to Xbox Series X hardware.

But for the time being, we must wait to discover what exactly this Nvidia hardware update involves.
Regards, Sam.
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