At GDC 2019’s keynote in March this year, Google introduced its Netflix-of-gaming, Stadia. Stadia, as Google claims, is a cloud streaming service making graphic-intensive games, available to all who have access to Chrome. The motive behind launching Stadia, as proclaimed by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, is to make the fun of gaming readily accessible to anyone.
Stadia – The new generation of gaming
This cloud streaming service, scheduled to launch in November this year, comes with groundbreaking features. Initially, Stadia will be available in select countries only such as the US, Canada, the UK and most of Europe.
Let us have a closer look at this wonder:
You already have the hardware
Albeit a surprise, it’s nothing but true that you already have all the hardware needed for Stadia. You can stream your favorite games on any device you already own thus removing the need for consoles.
Also, Stadia comes with its own wireless controller and is programmed to see all the processes via cloud computing. Thus all you’ll need in addition to the controller is a screen and a compatible and steady internet connection.
Sound and Graphics Quality
Google promises the graphics quality would be as good as 4k resolution running at 60 fps. And the highly anticipated game Doom Eternal would be the first one to feature on Stadia.
Stadia’s head of engineering Majd Bakar claims it [Stadia] is built on an infrastructure no one else has. From the technical viewpoint, Google’s Stadia will render the games on a remote server, send you the video, record your response and send it back to the server to process. Now such a mechanism rightfully rises latency concerns but with high-speed internet connections, this feedback and response lag will be too smooth to be noticed humanly.
Better local-multiplayer display
Stadia also adds to the local multiplayer experience compared to what that was like before. How? Well, it renders both players’ views onto two different Stadia instances rather than the old split screen method that renders two scenes at the same time. Hence, efficiently utilizing the resources.
The Stadia Controller
The Stadia games are perfectly compatible with the existing USB controller, and the good old keyboard-and-mouse combination. However, if you fancy the luxury of the ‘capture’ button for immediate sharing on YouTube (you can opt between live streaming or recording for later), you will find it comes with a Google Assistant button that gives you instant access to Stadia’s microphone and more.
To enjoy these cool features you might, therefore, want to buy a Stadia controller, which automatically connects with the servers via Wi-Fi. And also comes in three different color variants, white, black and mint-green.
Phil Harrison, VP, and General Manager Google gave away a few more specifics too. Among other details, it was mentioned how the Stadia will perform with different kinds of internet connections.
Over a spectrum ranging from 4k resolution to 720p with HDR color and 60 frames per second frame rate, a good internet connection is all you need.
For example, for 720p resolution at 60 fps and stereo sound, the recommended minimum connection bandwidth by Google is 10 Mbps.
Meanwhile, with 20 Mbps internet download speeds, you can enjoy full HD color, with 1080p resolution, 60 frames per second and 5.1 surround sound instead of plain ol’ stereo sound.
Last but [definitely] not the least; you can also have fun with the highest quality of resolution available today. Yes, the 4k resolution with 5.1 surround sound, 60 fps frame rate at internet speeds as good as 35 Mbps.
Fun Fact: if you have the privilege to play at the most enhanced settings, that is the 4k resolution, then the internet data consumed in one session at 35 Mbps will add up to 15.75 GB. In addition, a game time of 65 hours will eat up 1TB of monthly data allotment.
The future of gaming
Harrison highlighted Stadia’s goal is to make gaming available and accessible to everyone – the reason why Stadia supports a range of internet connection speeds from as low as 10 Mbps up to 35 Mbps. Thus once launched, you’ll be able to stream your favorite games anywhere on your TV, phone, desktop, laptop or tablet and enjoy the highest quality gaming at your convenience.
On the announcement event, Harrison also demonstrated how he switched from watching Assassin’s Creed trailer on YouTube to instantly playing the game, while also switching between devices in a matter of seconds. Since Stadia will be rendering the entire thing on a remote server, the only bottleneck would be your internet connection, and the time it consequently takes to load the stream.
Harrison told Fortune the gaming industry is very fragmented these days. People use their tablets, phones, and desktops for gaming. Therefore Google intends to provide a more unified platform for developers to work on and cater to a more diversified audience too – he declared they are ready to take the ‘bold’ path.
With all this said and done, a common gaming enthusiast would still have his/her concerns related to the latency of the service. Hence Harrison did defend Stadia by reiterating it is built on a very strong infrastructure i.e. Google’s subsea cable and fiber optic link network with 7500 edge nodes located around the globe to reach every user effectively. And to support this, AMD hardware powers the Stadia stacks at Google’s Datacenter with as much as 10.7 teraflops of power in each instance.
We will have our fingers crossed until this technology is launched for the public. And only then we will see how high Google manages to hit on the ‘game changer’ scale?