Google's plans for the future of gaming sound wildly ambitious

Lydia FlemingMar 20, 2019

Google has endured mixed results in gaming.

Earlier this afternoon, Google finally unveiled Stadia, their long-rumored game streaming service.

Search giant Google has just lifted the lid on its cloud gaming service, known as Stadia.

Q-Games founder Dylan Cuthbert (of PixelJunk gaming fame) introduced a Stadia concept called "state share", which enables the game to code a particular moment (where the player is, what they have, a specific moment int he game) that can be shared via a link. Gone are the days of needing high-end consoles and PCs, Google says: using Google's powerful datacenter network, Stadia will stream high-fidelity gaming up to 4K 60FPS to devices like laptops, desktops, tablets, TVs via Chromecast, and mobile phones via cloud technology. Google's next big effort is to build a game platform for everyone. Content creator MatPat spoke about how YouTube creators will be able to use the Stadia to not only improve their videos, but also to help connect with their audiences using Crowd Play. A Capture button can immediately put the player's footage on YouTube, and the Google Assistant button can be used to get help from the Assistant, or potentially be used by developers to access other features or mechanics in their games.

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Google's plans for the future of gaming sound wildly ambitious

It will be streamed on YouTube, and you can even watch it live by heading back to this page later this afternoon. At a connection of 15Mbps, you're looking at 720p, which isn't an ideal scenario as you'll start to greatly notice the visual imperfections and artifacts on screen, especially on larger displays. As a cloud-based service, all the heavy lifting is performed by a remote PC. But, at present, we know that Stadia will support Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Doom Eternal, NBA 2K and precious little else. At the moment, the PS4 Pro's GPU runs at 4.2 teraflops and the Xbox One's runs at 6.0 teraflops. And if it is a subscription model, will it hew closer to something relatively affordable, like the Netflix model, or something more premium, the way games are priced compared to films.

In case you didn't notice how much of a threat this poses to both PlayStation and Microsoft, a couple of subtle jabs appeared for both companies. AMD is no stranger to gaming, particularly on consoles, but Google has traditionally leaned on Nvidia's Tesla hardware in the datacenter. Users can launch games directly from YouTube trailers, bringing a new native connectivity to gaming.

If Google Stadia really wants to be gaming's great equalizer, one of its most forward-thinking moves would be to make AAA gaming available to everyone, not just a handful of wealthy regions. How will Google suddenly establish themselves in a crowded environment.

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