According to the news report by CNN, Alphabet Inc.’s Google is now launching a video game streaming service that will work on any Chromebook, computers using a Chrome browser, Google Pixel devices and televisions. Now, users do not need to download games to their devices, they can play them on any Wi-Fi connection.
This new product is called Stadia and is expected to be launched later in 2019. This new streaming service will offer big name games such as Assassin’s Creed Odessey, besides special YouTube features.
Despite not introducing a new gaming console, this new product could help Google challenge gaming industry giants such as Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. The announcement about Stadia was made during the Game Developers Conference that was held in San Francisco on Tuesday.
Prior to the conference, the head of gaming for Google, Phil Harrison talked about this project, which had been codenamed Yeti before its launch was announced this week. He stated that there had been tremendous speculation about whether the company was creating a new gaming console.
Harrison also said that it had actually been a part of their original strategy not to create a console and to keep the product screen agnostic. He said they did not want players to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to create a gaming setup in their homes.
While Spotify, Apple Music, Hulu and Netflix had more or less taken over the music, TV and movies industries, the gaming industry was still holding on to traditional consoles due to the large amounts of internet bandwidth as well as processing power that was required. Serious players are intolerant of even a minute pause for buffering as it affects their gameplay.
While Steam, the gaming service, has been able to offer its users some streaming options, gamers usually have to download the games to their devices before they can play online.
Now, Stadia will offer players game streaming in 4K at the rate of 60 frames/second in HDR and surround sound on a 25 MBPS internet connection. At this point, Google says that this product works only on Wi-Fi, but is working towards making this service available over 5G networks later. Users will not need any special hardware, and they will not need to download the game. All they will need is a $35 Chromecast subscription to play their games on a normal TV.
According to Harrison, the biggest challenge Google faced when developing the product was figuring out how to stream such large games without losing quality. The solution, he said, was to move most of the work to the cloud. He said the processing would no longer take place on local devices but in data centers across the world.
Harrison said that Google was aware that streaming was the next big frontier for the gaming industry, and that others had also thought about this concept. However, he said that their company was very confident that they had created a product with unique abilities and capabilities.
Having said that, Google is creating one special piece of hardware for this new product. This is the Stadia Wi-Fi game controller. It looks just like any other game controller, but has two special buttons – one to capture the game’s highlights to share on YouTube and the other to use Google Assistant’s game version. The game version of Google Assistant can help users beat a game.
Stadia has been designed to target both gamers as well as those who watch video gameplay. Despite the fact that Google is not (so far) a gaming company, its YouTube has more than 50 billion hours of gaming videos on its platform – in 2018 alone.