A long-awaited Google Stadia feature is finally making its way to the platform this summer. State Share is entering Beta in Summer 2020 alongside the release of Crayta, the Google Stadia exclusive that will let you and your friends create, play, and share multiplayer games of your own design.
State Share was unveiled alongside Google Stadia back in March 2019. It stood out as one of the most unique and potentially transformative features of the streaming platform, and its absence at launch was notable. State Share Beta is an early version of State Share designed to launch alongside Crayta this summer, allowing players to create a unique link to their creation and share it with other players, who can click the link and start playing and collaborating, instantly.
Let's say you're watching a game on Twitch. With State Share Beta, a streamer could generate a link, share it in chat, and the audience would immediately be able to launch into the game and play alongside them. Perhaps you're in the middle of creating a 10vs10 arena shooter in Crayta and wanted friends to help test the weapon balance, they'd be able to do so with the click of a link. It's a fascinating prospect, and it's making its debut in this innovative new game creation tool this summer.
What is Crayta?
Crayta is a collaborative game creation platform that has been in the works for years now. But with its initial release almost in sight, we sat down with developer Unit 2 Games to get a better sense of how the studio is leveraging the unique opportunities presented by Stadia to change the nature of collaborative creation and play.
"One of our goals was to make an accessible game creation platform, but we also had to think about how we can make the games themselves accessible too," Chris Swan tells me, publishing director at Unit 2 Games. "We've been thinking about that process for a while – how do we get the sharing of content to work fluidly and easily."
Crayta is a high-quality game creation tool, designed to let players of all ages and experiences, abilities and backgrounds, make and publish their own multiplayer games. Where it sets itself apart from other creation platforms like Dreams, Minecraft, or Roblox is in its ability to let you and your friends create games together in real-time, seamlessly switching between the development tools and playtesting in an instant.
"We're trying to make game creation and play accessible, and Stadia makes that a million times easier," says Hannah Waddilove, operations director at Unit 2 Games. "From its inception, we've been trying to make the software side – the user-facing side – of Crayta as accessible as possible. Google has really opened all of that up for us."
"Now, any screen in your house can be a way of playing, but also a development platform for massively high-fidelity games. You no longer have to shell out for a massive PC rig that can run a game engine that can run an engine locally – you can just run it all in the cloud on Stadia and share it with your friends. That's just incredibly powerful," Waddilove continues. Of course, the way Crayta is going to let players create is hugely exciting, but it's the collaborative nature of the new platform that should really have you excited.
"We started creating a system where a creator could generate a code, tell somebody to type in that code, and then access the game, and join the player. But we wanted to take it further," says Swan, and that's where Stadia's Share State came into the picture. "By working closely with the Stadia engineering team we were able to take State Share Beta and wrap it around our Share Codes feature to create intelligent, instant-access hyperlinks directly into Crayta games that can be shared and clicked through from anywhere on the web."
Instantly create and play with friends
The studio promises that you'll be able to create and publish a rudimentary multiplayer game in just 15 minutes – without the need for additional toolsets, specialised skills, or any knowledge of coding. Given how many barriers Crayta is attempting to pull down in the game creation process, the studio recognised that it would need to be just as easy to get in and play the creations born out of its communities.
Richard Smithies, CEO at Unit 2 Games, outlined just how effortless State Share can make collaborating with other players and sharing your creations. Without the feature, he says, you'd need to "launch Stadia, then Crayta, then you'd need to find the game itself, and then launch into it. We could have done that, but it is far more inaccessible to people than just click and play. It removes so many points of friction."
Bringing friends into your experiences is as easy as generating a link, sharing it, and waiting for others to join. "You could have a streamer saying, 'Hey, come join me and let's build a game together!' and put the link in a common feed, everyone clicks, and they could just launch straight into the game and start creating alongside them," Swan continues. "We see it as a very powerful tool for virality, of course, but especially for creators who want to promote their own titles. It gives them a platform where they can shout to their friends, 'I've just made a thing; come join me and play.'"
Stadia has long been in need of an exclusive that sets it apart. A title that celebrates the unique aspects of cloud gaming and leverages the technology to deliver something that simply wouldn't be possible on console. Crayta could be that experience. The prospect of building multiplayer games with friends in real-time, switching effortlessly from the editor to playing your creation had certainly caught our attention. Although it's the way Unit 2 is promising to use State Share Beta to open collaboration and play out to communities across the internet that we found to be such an interesting opportunity.
We're going to be sharing more on our talk with Unit 2 Games later in the week, exploring the ways in which the studio has engineered a platform designed to let ambitious entry-level creators build games with no experience in coding, all without sacrificing any depth to its core engine, systems, or mechanics – if you want to get your hands dirty in the code and assets to create something truly unique, you can. Today, we're thinking bigger picture.
We are thinking about how powerful it could be to have high-quality, player-generated experiences with the accessibility of launching an in-browser game. And we are thinking about how empowering it will be to not only share creations with little more than a hyperlink, but to be able to effortlessly invite others into the creative process too. Google always promised that Stadia would change the way that we play, and Crayta could well be a step in the right direction.
Correction: this article has been amended to clarify that Share State is launching in beta alongside Crayta this summer.