Google unveils Stadia service to stream games on any device along with Assistant-equipped controller

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Google has taken the wraps off of its new gaming service. 

Dubbed ‘Stadia,’ the gaming platform operates entirely on the cloud and lets users ‘instantly’ stream games on any device, without the need for pesky downloading. 


The service is slated to launch later this year in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, with more details about available game titles expected to come in the next few months.  

Stadia ditches the traditional console; instead, users can play games with their existing laptops, desktops, TVs, tablets or phones, as well as their own keyboard and mouse. 

‘Play instantly. No updates, no downloads,’ Google said. ‘Jump right into the game.’ 

Google CEO Sundar Pichai debuted Stadia at the annual Game Developer Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. 

The search giant also rolled out its first Google-branded Stadia game controller, which is integrated with its AI-powered Google Assistant. 

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Google has taken the wraps off its new gaming service and a new Google-branded controller. Called Stadia, it operates entirely on the cloud and lets users play games from any device

WHAT IS STADIA? 

Stadia builds on Google’s ‘Project Stream’ initiative, which let users play high-quality games in Google Chrome.

The service runs on ‘any screen type,’ ditching the traditional console.

Instead, users can play games with their existing laptops, desktops, TVs, tablets or phones and use their own keyboard or mouse. 

Stadia supports up to 4K resolution with HDR color at 60 frames per second and could soon support up to 8K resolution at up to 120-plus frames per second. 

The service is slated to launch later this year, with game titles expected to be announced this summer. 

Stadia builds upon Google’s ‘Project Stream’ initiative last year, which let users play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in Google Chrome with their own PlayStation or Xbox controller.  

Similarly, Stadia allows users to play high-quality games that are streamed from Google’s cloud.  

If users see their favorite YouTuber streaming a game, they can click the ‘play now’ button’ and, within seconds, it will boot up right on their screen.

‘To build Stadia, we’ve thought deeply about what it means to be a gamer and worked to converge two distinct worlds: people who play video games and people who love watching them,’ Phil Harrison, vice president and general manager of Stadia, explained in a blog post. 

‘Stadia will lift restrictions on the games we create and play—and the communities who enjoy them.’

The service was created with gamers, developers and even YouTubers in mind, according to the firm. 

‘We wanted to build a game platform for everyone,’ Pichai told the audience at GDC.

‘…We want sharing games to be as easy as sharing a link and clicking on it.’ 

Google didn’t have much to say about which games will be available on Stadia, beyond revealing partnerships with id Software for ‘Doom Eternal’ and Ubisoft’s ‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.’ 

Google has taken the wraps off its new gaming service and a new Google-branded controller. Called Stadia, it operates entirely on the cloud and lets users play games from any device

Google has taken the wraps off its new gaming service and a new Google-branded controller. Called Stadia, it operates entirely on the cloud and lets users play games from any device

Phil Harrison, a former Sony and Microsoft executive, debuted Stadia on stage at the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. It supports up to 4k resolution at launch

Phil Harrison, a former Sony and Microsoft executive, debuted Stadia on stage at the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. It supports up to 4k resolution at launch

Stadia ditches the traditional console; instead, users can play games with their existing laptops, desktops, TVs, tablets or phones, as well as their own keyboard and mouse

Stadia ditches the traditional console; instead, users can play games with their existing laptops, desktops, TVs, tablets or phones, as well as their own keyboard and mouse

Stadia games can be streamed on laptops, desktops, TVs, tablets, and phones, making it possible to ‘game where you want, when you want,’ according to the firm.

WHAT IS STREAM CONNECT?

Google has announced a multiplayer experience for its new Stadia gaming service that will allow for split-screen play without sacrificing performance quality.

And, it’ doesn’t limit you to half/half splits or even four quarters.

‘We can keep going, we can keep adding scenes and shape how they’re shown to the player,’ said Erin Hoffman-John during the Google Developer Conference.

Google says this will revive a multiplayer experience that has been lost as games become more demanding.

‘When modern games start to push the boundaries of current hardware, rendering two or more scenes simultaneously becomes too resource intensive, and so split-screen couch co-op has been fading,’ Hoffman-John said.

‘But when all of your clients are in the cloud, couch multiplayer has new life again.’

The service supports up to 4K resolution with HDR color at 60 frames per second and could soon support up to 8K resolution at up to 120-plus frames per second.

‘Enjoy gaming the way you love, with beautiful HDR graphics and smooth frame rates,’ Google said.  

While Stadia users can play with their own mouse or keyboard, Google is also launching its own controller. 

It’s unclear what the Stadia controller is priced at, however. 

The wireless controller connects to Stadia through WiFi and has a capture button that lets users share their games instantly to YouTube so others can tune in. 

There’s also a Google Assistant button that enables voice-activated controls for in-game features.

Users can press the Assistant button if they’re stuck in a game and it will show overlay a YouTube tutorial on the game screen.  

Stadia is built atop Google’s data network, which consists of fiber optic links and subsea cables. 

The firm says it has 7,500 edge note locations around the globe, making its data centers closer to players and allowing for low-latency network connectivity. 

Low-latency networks are crucial for online gameplay, as it prevents glitches and delays in content playback. 

That’s infrastructure that ‘no one else has’ and makes Stadia the ‘most powerful gaming platform’ available, said Majd Bakar, head of engineering at Stadia, on stage at GDC.  

Stadia is also launching with a big focus on the multiplayer experience. 

The platform will enable cross-platform play across any console or system, making it easy for users to play games against their friends no matter what hardware they’re using.

There’s also Stream Connect, which allows for split-screen play without sacrificing performance quality.

And, it’ doesn’t limit you to half/half splits or even four quarters. 

Google CEO Sundar Pichai debuted Stadia at the annual Game Developer Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. Pichai said the firm wanted to 'build a game platform for everyone'

Google CEO Sundar Pichai debuted Stadia at the annual Game Developer Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. Pichai said the firm wanted to ‘build a game platform for everyone’

Stadia lets users play high-quality games that are streamed from Google's cloud. The service was created with gamers, developers and even YouTubers in mind, according to the firm

Stadia lets users play high-quality games that are streamed from Google’s cloud. The service was created with gamers, developers and even YouTubers in mind, according to the firm

Another feature, called State Share, enables users to capture a moment from the game and send it to a friend, just like they would share a link, so they can pick up where the user left off

Another feature, called State Share, enables users to capture a moment from the game and send it to a friend, just like they would share a link, so they can pick up where the user left off

‘We can keep going, we can keep adding scenes and shape how they’re shown to the player,’ said Erin Hoffman-John during the Google Developer Conference.

Google says this will revive a multiplayer experience that has been lost as games become more demanding.

‘When modern games start to push the boundaries of current hardware, rendering two or more scenes simultaneously becomes too resource intensive, and so split-screen couch co-op has been fading,’ Hoffman-John said.

‘But when all of your clients are in the cloud, couch multiplayer has new life again.’

Another feature, called State Share, enables users to capture a moment from the game and send it to a friend, just like they would share a link. 

When someone clicks the link, they’re transported to that exact moment in the game, where they can pick up right where it left off, with the player inventory and other factors perfectly preserved as well. 

The firm also partnered with chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices to equip its cloud servers with high-speed processors. 

Each Stadia server will be powered by a custom GPU running at 2.7 gigahertz and contains 16gb of RAM. 

The GPU is capable of delivering 10.7 teraflops of power, which Google was quick to declare outpaces its rivals. 

By comparison, the PS4 Pro delivers 4.2 teraflops of performance, while the Xbox One X provides 6 teraflops of power. 

The wireless controller connects to Stadia through WiFi and has a capture button that lets users share their games instantly to YouTube so others can tune in. There's also a Google Assistant button that enables voice-activated controls for in-game features

The wireless controller connects to Stadia through WiFi and has a capture button that lets users share their games instantly to YouTube so others can tune in. There’s also a Google Assistant button that enables voice-activated controls for in-game features

Last month, Google sent out invites for a keynote address at GDC, slated to take place on March 19th at 10am (PT), with little information other than the words ‘Gather around’ 

Many had predicted Google would launch something at GDC this week. 

Last month, Google sent out invites for a keynote address at GDC, slated to take place on March 19th at 10am (PT), with little information other than the words ‘Gather around.’

Rumors began circulating in 2018 that Google was making a move into gaming with its secretive ‘Project Yeti.’ 

A report from The Information detailed how the search giant was eyeing the creation of a game streaming service that could work either on its Chromecast or a Google-made console. 

Google reportedly discussed Yeti with game developers, but it is unclear whether any of them will develop a game specifically for Yeti or only make existing streamed games available, the Information reported.

The report also claims the firm has developed several iterations of Yeti so far, as it discusses the project with ‘top-tier gaming developers.’

Aside from Google, Amazon and Apple are also rumored to be mulling their own game streaming services.  



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