Google Stadia might be incredibly light on exclusive games in its launch line up, but that doesn’t mean Google can’t flex the might of their cloud gaming infrastructure. Codemasters have revealed that their recently released racing series revival GRID has a Google Stadia exclusive 40 car multiplayer mode that’s not available on other platforms. In fact, not only is it not available, it’s apparently not even possible.
Speaking to WCCFTech, Grid development director Mark Green spoke about the differences in developing for traditional consoles and PCs and Stadia:
Perhaps the area with the biggest difference was the streaming, but also the ability of Stadia to talk to other Stadia so quickly transforms some ideas around multiplayer – for example developing a whole new mode for GRID Stadia which has 40 cars on track at the same time, something that just isn’t possible with other hardware.
With our 40-car mode, we’ve probably only just scratched the surface of what Stadia is capable of and I’d love to have more time with the Designers and Programmers looking at just how they can utilise the extra power.
It does highlight some of the benefits that cloud-based gaming can offer, though I’m sure many people will doubt his assertion that it’s not possible. Having all of the gaming hardware in a single location helps to practically eliminate the latency between systems, even moreso than with a traditional dedicated server set up. At the same time, they can more dynamically allocate resources to each instance of the game’s multiplayer, bumping up the player count as needed.
Of course, we have plenty examples out there of games with 100 players at a time, such as the recent spate of battle royales, but these are often plagued with latency and compromises to get there, not to mention the much more open spaces where you only encounter a few other players at a time after the opening moments. While more challenging on current consoles, the added power of PCs ought to also enable the game to perform well while hosting 40 cars. The challenge of doing that but with networked players is the hurdle that Codemasters are overcoming.
We reviewed Grid back in October, saying “GRID is an enjoyable racing game for those who want to enjoy some close racing without worrying about camber angles. The market needs games like this to provide light and shade. I was hoping this new GRID would be a fresh start, but it’s last night’s takeaway re-heated. I enjoy leftovers – cold pizza is one of life’s great pleasures – but that doesn’t make the perfect racing game when the rest of the world has moved on.”