Google confirmed a few months ago that it was working on a game streaming service codenamed Project Stream. It has formally announced the service today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Google says that its Stadia cloud game streaming service is a platform meant for everyone and that it will stream games to all kinds of devices.
Stadia isn’t a console or set-top box. It leverages the power of Google’s massive cloud infrastructure to stream games to PCs, smartphones, tablets, and TVs. Stadia will be able to stream games to the Chrome browser, Chromecast, and Pixel smartphones. It will be launched in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and Canada later this year. Google demonstrated the service being used to play a game on a Chromebook and then picking it up on a phone before moving to a PC all in real time.
Stadia is capable of streaming games in 4K resolution with HDR at 60 frames per second. It will support resolutions of up to 8K in the future with frame rates of up to 120 fps. The demonstrations of titles running on this service included Doom Eternal and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
The service will enable players to access and play Stadia games literally in seconds. One demonstration involved a YouTube video of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey with a “Play” button which almost instantly fires up the game for real-time play. It’s that’s quick because players don’t have to download or install anything. The game essentially streams like a YouTube video would, though the underlying tech is much more complex.
It will be possible for players to use current USB controllers to play on a laptop or PC but Google is launching its own Stadia Controller as well. It will work with the service by connecting directly over Wi-Fi to link up with a game session in the cloud. There’s a dedicated button on there for the Assistant and one for capturing and sharing clips directly to YouTube.
The company has also set up its own game studio, Stadia Games and Entertainment, which will develop titles that will be exclusive to the service. The effort will be lead by Jade Raymond, an industry veteran who has previously worked at Ubisoft, Sony, and Electronic Arts.
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