29 February 2020
Google has finally made its much-rumored game streaming service official and it is being called Stadia. It was announced at GDC 2019, a new Google event dedicated to gaming. Stadia is essentially a public version of Project Stream which Google started testing with a few select users last year.
The goal of Stadia is simple which is to make it possible for anyone to play their favorite games from anywhere and anytime. It wants to eliminate the need of having efficient hardware with the player all the time. It will be doing so by playing the desired game on Google data centers and then streaming the same on the user's device with almost next to no latency and lag. The core approach is similar to how TV shows, movies, and music streaming services work.
At launch, Stadia will support devices like PC/laptop running Chrome browser, smartphones, tablets, and TVs via Chromecast Ultra dongle. If a user has access to multiple devices, he can choose to start playing on one device and resume on any other device anytime he wishes. The game will start at the same point where it was stopped the last time. The game stream will have support for up to 4K resolution at 60fps with HDR and surround sound. The team is also working on bringing 8K support in the future.
In terms of technical specifications, Stadia boasts 10.7 teraflops of power, 56 compute units, and HBM2 memory which makes it more powerful than Sony PlayStation 4 Pro and Microsoft Xbox One X combined. It has custom 2.7GHz AMD x86 processor paired with 16GB of RAM and transfer speed of up to 484GBps.
Google announced partnerships with a number of big names in the gaming industry like Unreal Engine, Unity, and AMD to show that its service is well supported. It said that over 100 studios are already working on bringing games to Stadia with Assassin's Creed Odyssey by Ubisoft and Doom Eternal by iD Software being two of the major titles.
The event also saw Google unveiling its own Stadia game controller with an appearance like any other console gaming controller. It has two extra buttons dedicated to triggering Google Assistant and capturing the gameplay for direct YouTube sharing. Assistant can be used for accessing game walkthroughs instantly without having to leave the game and manually searching for them on the internet. It was showcased in three color variants but there are no details regarding pricing or availability yet. Additionally, there will be support for other controllers as well.
Google Stadia will be making its debut in 2019 itself with the first release in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe. The team did not offer any information about the pricing.