Google Announces Cross-Platform Gaming Service Stadia at GDC 2019
Today, during its GDC keynote address, Google focused entirely on a single project: a Chrome-based video game streaming service called "Stadia".
Stadia is a large, cloud-based project that will not only allow gamers to play any game on any platform (so long as they have Chrome installed) but one that also integrates with YouTube and Google Assistant.
Some gamers got a brief taste of Stadia last year when Google tested Project Stream. This experiment allowed participants to play Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Odyssey over Chrome without downloading or updating the game.
According to the companies and testers involved, the trial run went rather well. So well, in fact, that Google is now getting into the gaming business.
Reportedly, Stadia will allow users to not only play high-quality, AAA video games while seamlessly switching between multiple platforms, such as PC, tablet, and phone, but to also easily connect with other players, and even their favorite YouTube content creators.
While we don't know exactly how it will work, one feature Google showed off was called "Play Now." Using the feature, players will reportedly be able to watch any YouTube video and then immediately access the game featured in the YouTube video through Stadia.
Stadia is also intended to seamlessly bring players together in games. For example, Stadia will allow for cross-platform play, specifically between companies that allow it. And fans watching their favorite YouTube creators will now be able to join them in game with a simple click, directly from the YouTube stream, rather than queuing.
Of course, creators will have control over how this works on their particular channel. However, the keynote did not address how much control they'll have. In fact, there are a few things of note that weren't addressed during the GDC panel.
Multiple presenters spoke at length about the Stadia's backend, the amount of data the service can handle, and how Google is working with game developers to get the most out of the service by offering 4K, 60fps (and eventually up to 8K, 120fps) game streaming for players.
The company showed off a Wi-Fi controller with a built-in microphone and multiple share buttons, and said that Stadia data centers would use "custom AMD CPUs capable of hitting 10 teraflops", which is four teraflops higher than the Xbox One X, and more than six teraflops higher than the PS4 Pro.
However, Google did not mention the amount of data gamers would actually be pulling when using Stadia; particularly, Google did not address how Stadia will affect users with data caps. Google also omitted if it will be doing anything at all to quell Chrome's appetite for RAM.
However, it seems we will get some more answers soon enough. During the keynote, Google announced the Stadia service will be launching later this year, that the company had formed Stadia Games and Entertainment under the direction of Jade Raymond, and that the company will be rolling out more information during the summer.