Months after we predicted that Stadia would soon become a white-label cloud-gaming service, AT&T appears to be taking Google up on the idea. AT&T is offering a free browser-based version of Batman: Arkham Knight exclusively for wireless customers that makes use of Stadia’s technology.
AT&T confirmed that its new game streaming experience runs on Google Stadia’s tech (via 9to5Google). Google announced the shutdown of its internal Stadia game studio in February. While Stadia is still available and supported by Google, the studio shutdown means Google is relying on third parties to provide all the games, and it opens up the potential for Google’s partners to use the tech.
AT&T is apparently the first of those partners — it released a browser-based demo of Batman: Arkham Knight. “This is being powered by the Stadia technology,” an AT&T representative tells The Verge. “For this demo AT&T created a front end experience to enable gamers to play Batman Arkham Knight directly from their own website and the game is playable on virtually any computer or laptop.” Although AT&T calls it a “demo,” there’s no mention of length, as shown in a short walkthrough of the experience.
AT&T also adds that you can stream Arkham Knight at up to 1080p and 60fps, which is the same performance you’ll get if you use Stadia for free. Paid Stadia Pro subscribers have the ability to stream up to 4K at 60fps, for which AT&T doesn’t offer an option. On the Arkham Knight page, AT&T notes that the game will be “available for a limited time.”
We also asked AT&T whether the company would be working on similar Stadia-powered games in the future or if it planned on establishing a game streaming service for customers. AT&T wasn’t able to share any additional details, but its dip into Stadia technology may open the door for other companies to follow suit.
Will other companies want to partner with Stadia? Stadia’s servers may be in need of a hardware upgrade soon, and there’s no word on when that will happen. Currently, the hardware in Stadia’s servers is still the same as when the service first launched in 2019, consisting of a custom 2.7GHz x86 processor, a custom AMD GPU offering up to 10.7 teraflops of processing power, and 16GB of RAM. In theory, this should promise powerful performance, however, that didn’t really pan out in our Stadia review — we discovered that 4K looked closer to 1080p.
Meanwhile, Nvidia just announced that it plans on equipping its GeForce Now servers with hardware equivalent to the RTX 3080 by the end of this year. Microsoft even upgraded its xCloud servers with Xbox Series X hardware in June. Stadia will need a plan to upgrade its own hardware if it wants to keep up.