Google Stadia starts rolling out Click to Play links on YouTube

Laurent Giret

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Google unveiled some interesting platform updates for its Stadia game streaming service yesterday. During its latest Stadia Connect digital event, the company announced that the YouTube Click to Play feature that was teased ahead of the launch of Stadia last year has now started rolling out, and it’s the beginning of a promising integration between the two cloud-based services.

“You’re a Stadia Pro subscriber, you’re watching your favorite YouTube Creator play PUBG, and you feel like starting your own game with some friends. Just click the link they’ve shared in the description and you’re playing PUBG instantly on Stadia,” explained Meagan Timney, Stadia’s head of UX research in the video below.

Click to Play links will only work for Stadia Pro subscribers, and they will require them to either own the game or having already claimed it through their Pro subscription. These are some important limitations, though it’s a first step in making the transition from YouTube (which has more than 2 billion monthly active users) to Google Stadia as seamless as possible.

It’s interesting to note that after announcing the closure of its own Mixer game streaming platform later this month, Microsoft is now working on synergies between its new Project xCloud game streaming service and Facebook Gaming. “In the future, through the power of Xbox Live and Project xCloud, we see there being just one click between “I’m watching” and “I’m playing,” explained Xbox head Phil Spencer.

Having failed to make Mixer a successful rival to Twitch and YouTube, Microsoft is now showing a real interest in Facebook’s massive gaming audience. “Every month, more than 700 million people play a game, watch a gaming video or interact in a gaming Group on Facebook,” the Mixer team acknowledged last month. It remains to be seen how Project xCloud will really integrate with Facebook Gaming, but Microsoft will be playing catch up to Google Stadia, which recently introduced a free tier to get more cloud gaming enthusiasts on board.