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Valve appears to be working on its own Google Stadia cloud-gaming competitor

Just a few words is all it took for Valve to show its cards when it comes to the soon-to-start cloud gaming war. The hint comes by way of a Github release of Valve’s partner site code, as spotted and shared by Steam Database on Twitter.

Within the Github code, there’s mention of cloud gaming, and a specific requirement statin, that “you must agree to the terms in the Steam Cloud Gaming Addendum before continuing.”

It may be a tiny morsel, but it’s a start for a meaty subject. Steam is a massive gaming platform for PC. But recently, major players like Google, Microsoft, and Sony have made serious pushes into cloud gaming with Stadia, Project xCloud, and PlayStation Now, respectively. Since cloud gaming doesn’t require dedicated gaming hardware to play, it has a lower barrier to entry than traditional console or PC gaming, and it could find a large user base.

The conveniences of cloud gaming also extend to things like load times (which can be incredibly fast, especially without the need to boot a computer or apply updates), the ability to play the same game on a wide range of devices wherever you go, and potentially even negative latency through some of Google’s A.I. trickery.

The potential of cloud gaming is clear, and companies that establish themselves early could have a lot to gain. They also could cut Valve out of the picture, since players wouldn’t go through Steam to get install and launch their games.

A move by Valve to introduce Steam Cloud Gaming makes perfect sense, and it’s almost a surprise to see it showing up this late. Steam already gets plenty of loyalty from gamers, with many raging when a game is exclusive to a different game store, and a Steam Cloud Gaming platform could be a smart way for the company to keep its gamers from being lured to other platforms that don’t require dedicated gaming hardware.

Die-hard PC gamers will likely continue to bristle at the notion of cloud gaming, as the video signal will be compressed and the travel time between users and servers will generally create more latency than gaming directly on a powerful computer. But all of the pros of cloud gaming are likely to make it a large platform that Valve can’t ignore.

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Mark Knapp
Google Stadia shutting down in January and users are getting full refunds
Google Stadia controller.

After three years, Google Stadia is coming to an end. The Silicon Valley giant announced that the cloud-streaming platform will be going offline on January 18, 2023.

In a blog post published on Thursday, Phil Harrison, Stadia's vice president and general manager, said the company made the difficult decision to shut down Stadia because the cloud-streaming service hasn't "gained the traction with users" that it expected since its launch in 2019. This is despite the developed technology that allowed players to play demos from YouTube videos on their favorite games and then purchase them later, no console required.

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The Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld sits on a stack of comics.

Although I can be tough on cloud services that have faults, I actually do enjoy cloud gaming on Google Stadia and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate quite a bit, and I’m excited about the technology’s potential for both players and developers. Currently, most of my cloud gaming takes place on my phone, but Logitech and Tencent Games want me to start playing cloud games on a new device. In October, the Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld starts rolling out, and it hopes to become the way to play cloud games.
During a hands-off preview of the device, Logitech certainly delivered on highlighting an Android-powered device with two native cloud gaming apps that players can use to enjoy games with a Wi-Fi connection. At $350, though, it feels like a solution for a niche usage problem that similarly priced devices already solve. I could see myself enjoying this device if I wanted to stream a video game from my bed or a room without my TV and consoles. Unfortunately, it seems outclassed by just the ability to stream games on a midrange-or-better phone, something anyone reading this can likely do already.

What is the Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld?
From a technical perspective, the Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld contains specs that wouldn’t feel out of place on a mid-range mobile device. It features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G octa-core 2.3GHz CPU, as well as 4GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 64GB of internal storage that people can expand with an SD card. The display is a 7-inch IPS multi-touch screen that displays at a 1080p resolution with a 60Hz refresh rate. Players can listen to audio through its stereo speaker, a 3.5mm stereo audio jack, or a Bluetooth 5.1 connection.
What sets it apart is that Logitech built the controllers into the device, giving it a Nintendo Switch-like look. It has the d-pad, analog joysticks, buttons, bumpers, and triggers expected of a modern controller, plus a Home button to bring players to the home screen and a “G button” that will access more system-specific settings. Players will be able to remap the controls however they wish, though. On top of that, players can expect the Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld to have haptics feedback, a gyroscope, a light sensor, and even a built-in stereo microphone with echo canceling and noise suppression support.
These aren’t top-of-the-line specs by any means, but Logitech made this choice because the device is made for gaming natively on the device. It also allowed them to get the device’s weight down to only 463 grams and give it a battery life of around 12 hours (it uses USB-C to charge), which has never been seen on a gaming handheld. Think of the Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld as an Android 11 tablet with built-in controllers, uniquely tailored UI, and access to native Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce Now, and Google Play Store apps.

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