Google announce Stadia, a new video game streaming platform – here’s everything we know

 

Google have announced they are building “a game platform for everyone” which will be “instantly accessible” by anyone on any screen, and it’s called Stadia. Phil Harrison explained that watching and playing games will converge, connecting developers, players, and YouTubers.

Stadia is launching in 2019 in US, Canada, UK and Europe, but there’s no word on the launch beyond that. Google will clarify launch games, pricing and more this summer.

The idea is that if you see a trailer for a game on YouTube you can click the “Play now” button, launch Stadia in the Chrome browser and get in the game within five seconds, running at up to 4k at 60fps with HDR and surround sound. At the same time it will able to stream and save a video to YouTube at 4K60, regardless of what you’re playing at.

At launch Stadia will support desktops, laptops, phones, Chromcast and TVs, and you can stop playing the game on device and pick up the game instantly on another, so you could play the game on your PC at home and then carry on playing on the bus on your phone.

Stadia will support existing controllers but will also have it’s own controller. This will connect through wifi directly to the Stadia servers and features two buttons, one to capture directly to YouTube and another which access the Google Assistant via the microphone. You can stream directly to YouTube at 4K, even if you are playing at a lower resolution, and Google say they aim to support 8K in the future.

Stadia has 10.7 teraflops of GPU processing power, more than both the PS4 Pro (4.2TFLOPS) and Xbox One X (6.0TFLOPS) put together. Google have partnered with Unreal and Unity to bring the two most popular engines to the platform, and developers can create in their own clouds, the Google cloud, or privately in their own space. Over 100 dev units have already been shipped to developers

Due the sheer amount of computing power and the fact everything will be running on Google hardware, Battle Royale titles could support thousands of players, and there is no way for anyone to cheat or hack games.

Google will also support cross-platform play, which is a bit of a surprise, but beyond that developers can also go as far to allow for cross-platform saves.

Looking at some gameplay demos, Google showed off split screen multiplayer, where each person has an individual Stadia instance streaming the game to their corner of the screen, meaning developers won’t have to compromise visuals or frame rate to support it.

Google threw a bit of shade Microsoft’s way by showing a demo called Destruction, in which multiple players could fly around and demolish a fully destructible environment.

Developer creativity will be enhanced through a framework called Style Transfer ML, allowing you to fee Google’s AI with art or colour palettes and then have it automatically map colours and textures into the game.

Another technology is State Share, allowing you to play and then create a snapshot of your game, sharing it with other people, whether that’s streamers, friends or whoever. Dylan Cuthbert of Q-Games was on stage to announce that he was developing a game specifically around this concept.

Turning that on its head, Google Assistant (which is a button press away on the controller) can help you quickly find a YouTube video of somewhere that you’re stuck in a game.

Similarly seamless is a new lobby system of sorts for multiplayer called Crowd Play. This allows you to watch a streamer on YouTube, and simply click on the button to place yourself in the queue for the next match online.

Developing story…

Written by
News Editor, very inappropriate, probs fancies your dad.

20 Comments

  1. I think that the kind of internet connection required will not be the kind of internet connection available to my home.

    Shame, as it seems a cool idea

  2. It definitely sounds like a cool idea, but with all things Google, how well will it be supported? I don’t quite get the angle that Alphabet/Google are trying to take, they can throw as much hardware and power at it as they want, but they’re always going to be limited by how good peoples’ internet connections are.

  3. I have 300mbps Internet at home…. Probably won’t be enough for what they have planned lol

    • Apparently, if you can stream 1080p youtube videos, it will work at 1080p (And if you can stream 4k videos, you can game at 4k). I’m on 100mbps, so I’d love to know if 4k gaming truly works. It would save me spending £400 on a new GPU!

  4. I think people’s Internet speeds will hamper this too much. I can get 40mbps and that wasn’t quick enough for psnow, so no way it will work for me. Google certainly have the reach but I don’t think enough gamers are interested in streaming everything.

  5. I was able to try this out when they had Project Stream, and I gotta say I had no problems playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, even on a shitty connection.

    • Can you define what a shitty connection is? :P Just curious, thanks!

  6. Impressive if they can make all that convergence happen but they still need the culture to develop great games, something it has taken Sony and Nintendo decades to achieve. Hiring prolific names of the industry will not just make it happen overnight. Also: always being logged on to Googles universe repels me – I really doubt that you can settle for Google PSN since Youtube is heavily involved.

  7. Internet speed shouldn’t be an issue for 1080p. A Blu-ray disc can do it fine with a read speed of 36Mbps. At 60fps.

    Netflix takes up to about 5 or 6Mbps for 1080p, but that’s at 25 or 30fps.

    1080p60 should be easy to do at around 10-12Mbps. So well below the average internet speed. I guess you might want to allow a bit more room for having to compress the video in real time without introducing lag.

    2160p60 should just about work on the more common 36 to 40Mpbs fibre connections (what’s it being sold as these days?).

    Obviously it depends on your ISP, and not just the speed. No good having 60fps and 4K if the latency makes it unplayable.

    Didn’t Sony recommend about 5Mbps for PS Now? But that might have been for 720p30. So that means you just need 22.5Mbps for 1080p60, or 90Mbps for 2160p60.

    I guess Sony’s compression is a bit rubbish compared to something like Netflix, presumably due to having to do it in real time. Whatever the reason, they at least showed it’s perfectly possible. (PS Now works well, if your ISP isn’t a bit crap)

    The only other question is, how much are they going to charge? And what will be available using it?

    At least they put the sticks in the right place on their controller though ;)

  8. I have Sky Fibre Max 80Mbps connection and 5Ghz wifi but I still have long waits when Dirt Rally 2 tries to connect to RaceNet at certain times of the day. The issue with RaceNet is at Codies end of the line (a lot of folk are having problems) but it goes to show that it doesn’t matter how wide your pipes are, it can take just one small problem to derail the system.
    I’ll be saving my pennies for PS5.

  9. To be honest, even if I had an internet connection that could run this I would still be sceptical about input lag. Even if it’s just a split second you can notice it while gaming. I am not the least bit excited about streaming games…

    • There’s an article about that on another, less reputable website. Their method seems slightly dodgy, just pressing a button and seeing how long it takes to react (so results might well be different in the middle of some action, not just standing around and pressing a button). Using AC Odyssey.

      They’re claiming 166ms. Which seems like a lot. And is a lot, compared to running it natively on a PC. There it’s 100 or 133ms (for 60 or 30fps). But seems to be exactly the same result as testing it on an XBoneX.

      I’d assume the input lag may be lower locally for certain types of games that need a faster response. Fighting games or music games. But for anything else and for someone who doesn’t spend hours a day for months just playing 1 game to be the best, it looks like it’s up to the job. Which isn’t surprising, as Sony have been doing it for a while already.

  10. Quite a half-baked presentation for evil Google. With all their money behind this, I’d think they’d do much better and be ready when they announce their entry in the gaming market. No info about pricing, nothing about your own gaming library (whatever ‘own’ might mean here), not many games shown, the demo only ran in ideal network conditions, no controller present at the demo stations. How do they want to win over a PlayStation crowd who love their exclusives?

    As much as I dislike evil Google, I think it’s not only my personal view that this was rather lame.

    • It was at the Game Developers Conference they announced it. They don’t need to win over gamers yet, just the developers. Whenever it launches is the time to convince the gamers.

      • It is irrelevant had they announced it under a bridge in Belgium, it was their first communication of their entry in the games market, and it was covered by almost all media channels there are on this planet.
        You only got one chance to make a first impression, and it should’ve been a better one.

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