Tech giant, Google has revealed plans to launch its Stadia cloud gaming service. According to the Verge, the revelation was made yesterday at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco by Google CEO Sundar Pichai and seen as a platform for everyone Pichai discussed Google’s plans to stream games to all devices. The service will be launched this year for Western markets and will stream games from the cloud to Chrome browser, Chromecast, and Pixel devices.
During the event, Phil Harrison, a former Microsoft exec joined Pichai onstage to talk more about his role at Google in relation with Stadia. Harrison claims that Google will expand this new platform via YouTube and the individuals behind the game clips on the service. Earlier, Google tested the service under Project Stream thus allowing devices with Chrome the ability to stream games in their browser. With this in mind, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was the first and only to be tested publicly on Google’s platform. The tests ended in January.
As expected, Google won’t offer just a single game title on Stadia. Furthermore, Google will demonstrate a new YouTube feature which allows users to view game clips from a creator and click “play now” to stream the game. Harrison says “Stadia offers instant access to play” without installing the games on your device. During the release, the titles will be streamable across various devices such as PCs, handhelds and TVs.
Google showed participants the ease of moving gameplay from a smartphone to a tablet and a smart TV with Google-powered devices. While current USB joysticks will work on PCs, the tech company plans on releasing a new Stadia Controller specifically for the game streaming service. Looking like an Xbox /PS4 controller combo, the Stadia joystick will work via a WiFi connection to link it to a game session in the cloud. This will reduce lag and move a game among devices. Also, you can use the controller to screengrab clips and share on YouTube. Besides, you can use another button to use Google Assistant. At this point, we want to say that this game does not have a console.
Google will use its global network of data centres to ensure the servers are close to Stadia’s users. This will happen with the aim of powering cloud streaming. Coming as an essential feature of Stadia, the lower latency assures high quality steaming across the internet. Google says it expects to handle up to 4k at 60 fps at release over a connection of 30Mbps of bandwidth. As for 8k resolutions and 120fps, the company promises to support both features in the nearest future.
In a partnership with AMD, Google plans to fabricate a custom GPU for its data centres. The company claims the technology will support 10.7 teraflops of power which exceeds the ability of both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. The GPU will work with a custom 2.7GHz x86 processor with 16GB worth of RAM.
Doom Eternal stands as one of the first titles to launch on Google’s Stadia service. This title will support 4K resolution, HDR and 60fps gameplay. There are no details concerning the launch date of the game however it will come in versions for PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One. Stadia will also permit full cross-platform play; thus, developers can offer cross-platform multiplayer, game saves and progression to its users.
Google also has partnerships with Unreal Engine, Unity, and Havok for Stadia support. Numerous third-party game developers and including Ubisoft and id software will bring additional support to the table.
With its sights on developers, Google exposed an exciting way for game developers to integrate their design style to games on the Stadia platform. The idea comes as a machine learning based style transfer tool which enables developers to add an image into the video frame of games and mimic the style completely. Google also plans to leverage an innovative feature known as State Share which allows users to share their favourite moments in a game. Also, Q Games plans on developing a new game with this around this feature.
YouTube plays a critical role in Stadia and Google depends on its support to attract gamers to its cloud services. As of 2018, 50 billion hours of gaming was watched on the popular video platform; thus, Google permits Stadia subscribers to capture and share content on YouTube or even let creators play games with viewers. Stadia has a Crowd Play Feature which supports this feature which has a lobby system that enables you to compete with YouTube content creators.
Also, Google plans on building a game studio especially for games featured on Stadia. Known as Stadia Games and Entertainment, the idea receives large support form Google’s VP Jade Raymond. Interestingly, the top exec has immense experience with Sony, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft. Google claims over 100 studios have dev kits for Stadia and while ovver1000 creatives and engineers have started work on games exclusive to Stadia.
As Google launched Stadia, it does not share details on the exact date the service will be running. It also does not tell us the number of games and the subscription fees involved.
As expected, Google plans on facing competition from rival tech companies. For instance, Microsoft plans on developing its xCloud streaming platform. Other big names such as Amazon, Nvidia, and Sony all have plans to launch Stadia like services. Also, Valve has enabled features which will allow gamers to stream its Steam games from a desktop or laptop via Steam Link hardware or the Steam Link app.
At the time of this report, the Verge pointed out that Google released a statement claiming. Stadia will run on an internet connection of 30Mbps download speeds to reach 4K at 60fps, an upgrade from the 25Mbps connection needed for 1080p resolution witnessed during the Public test. Thus, a stream which has a resolution of 1080p will work with less than 25Mbps. Earlier, Google said a 4k stream would need exactly 25Mbps.