Google made waves today at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco with a gaming announcement of its own: Stadia, a streaming game service. Stadia will launch in 2019 in the U.S., Canada, UK and Europe. Google did not share pricing information.
Stadia’s architecture uses Google’s data center network, which consists of fiber optic links and under-sea cables that have supported Google searches for years with 7,500 edge nodes. At launch, Stadia will support resolutions up to 4K at 60 frames per second (fps) with surround sound. In the future, Google is promising 8K up to 120 fps. It will allow for cross play between systems, run on a data center with custom GPUs and work with a controller that Google is making for the service.
Google’s Phil Harrison, formerly of Xbox, took to stage to detail the service.
Gaming and Streaming on Almost Any Platform
“Our vision is to bring those worlds closer together,” Harrison said of gamers, streamers and people who make games. But the ambition of the platform goes beyond streaming Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, as the Project Stream test did.Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and clicked a play button in the trailer to get the game running immediately in the browser. All you have to do is click on the link to instantly start a game. He also took a dig at games installing slowly on hard drives.
More than 100 development kits have been sent to studios around the world. Additionally, Google is forming its own first-party game studio, Stadia Games and Entertainment, headed up by Jade Raymond, formerly of EA and Ubisoft. That arm of the company will also partner with third-party studios on games and tech, Raymond said on stage.
Google also announced an initiative to bring split screen to Stadia, each screen powered by separate Stadia instances. This could also be used to pull up the views of your teammates in squad-based games.
YouTube’s head of gaming, Ryan Wyatt, detailed how streamers can use the service. Taking on Twitch, he said “YouTube is where people come to watch gaming.”
The Stadia Controller
You can use your current fpUSB controller, but Google will have its own: The Stadia Controller. It looks like a mix between a PS4 and Xbox One controller. But it connects through Wi-Fi to the game in the Google data center to ensure the best performance. It also has a share button to stream via YouTube and a Google Assistant Button to use the controller’s microphones to get help with features built by developers.
Id Software took to the stage to show off Doom Eternal on Stadia. The game will run at 4K with HDR at 60 fps. Harrison showed how multiple GPUs are more flexible and powerful using the 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark.Project Stream, which was a test of Google’s ability to stream games at high fidelity and low latency. Games will be on Chrome, Chromebooks, Chromecast and even other browsers in time. Want to comment on this story? Let us know what you think in the Tom’s Hardware Forums.
Image Credits: Google
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