Google Stadia Is The Next Big Thing
Gaming industry is about to level up with Google Stadia streaming platform. Continue with the read to learn more about its features, pricing and tech specs!
It looks like we on the verge of gaming revolution and are about to witness Google making big changes to the gaming industry. The event that grabbed the most attention at the 2019 Game Developers Conference was Google hour-long announcement of their ambitious intentions to enter the video game market with new streaming technology. The company has been evolving in this direction for quite some time and is reported to be a few months away from launching its breakthrough service. Ladies and gentlemen welcome a new cloud-based gaming platform Stadia!
What Is Stadia And How It Works?
Stadia is a game streaming platform available to global users over the internet that has been built to change the way the games are played, purchased and shared. Accessible on any device such as a tablet, a phone, computer or TV, the technology eliminates the need for downloads or special hardware. Players will be able to access a giant online library of games, choose titles they like, enjoy the gameplay, share the progress instantly and pick up the game where they left off from any platform as long as they can access the Internet. There are no requirements on what to play the games with, whether you prefer a keyboard or USB controller or a Google brand controller, you are welcome to do it.
|AMD GPU||Intel CPU||Memory|
|10.7 teraflops||Custom x86 processor||16GB RAM|
|56 compute units||2.7GHz||Up to 484GB/s transfer|
|HBM2 memory||Hyperthreaded||L2 + L3 cache of 9.5MB|
If Google announcements about Stadia capabilities hold true, its release will become a landmark in the video games history that will divide the industry into before and after. An idea of immediate access to game action right without wasting time on its installation or downloading, platform independence, no more split-screen plays, gaming progress advanced sharing ability - all this sounds beautiful. But what about Stadia technical specifications and how well such premium gaming experience is supported by Google technology? Are they ready to deliver a lag free, uninterrupted streaming considering how heavily the service depends on the Internet quality?
As IGN summed up in their online read released after GDC, Stadia will be more powerful than PS4 and Xbox One put together with its 10.7 teraflop AMD GPU (4.2 GPU teraflops and 6.0 GPU teraflops for the console's capabilities respectively); a custom 2.7GHz x86 processor with 16GB RAM. Streaming power at launch is claimed to feature 4K resolution, HDR and 60fps, with these digits to be doubled later on. The impressive specs require Google to significantly upgrade the data center, its hardware, and software to be able to deliver a smooth performance to the end user.
One of the main challenges for Stadia developers team is to offer a reliable and steady streaming service that will allow players to enjoy, share and save game progress in case of poor or dropped internet connection.
Google advised 25 -30 megabytes per second to be the minimum internet requirements for Stadia to perform efficiently at 4K/60 frames per second streaming and added that 1080p quality will need fewer megabytes than this. Google VP Phil Harrison emphasized they are working hard on reducing bandwidth requirements.
So what makes Stadia unique? Why do we think it is going to be special and have features built with both players and developers in mind? The most exclusive option that makes Stadia stand out from the competition is its State Share option. The video abstract from Google presentation via an official tweet from Stadia account highlights the feature’s key functionality.
Players will be able to pick out the point in the game and share it with other users over the Internet allowing to start the experience from the same exact gaming moment. Any items carried, the position of the player and overall gaming progress will be recreated exactly the way it was at the moment the game was left off. The progress can be shared with a friend or specific users or thousands of YouTubers instantly via messaging, apps, Youtube, email - you name it! Another cool option for Youtube is Crowd Play allowing viewers to get into the line in the lobby to play with the streamers of their choice live.
Polygon mentioned Stadia upgrades for the multiplayer experience that will get new advantages and offer an ability to increase the number of players in battle royale genres up to thousands as opposed to a hundred. Any events in the game such as the destruction of the building, for example, will automatically be reflected in the gaming surroundings for other players real-time. Co-op or online play experiences will offer a split-screen option with great graphics and lag free.
Google Assistant has become a familiar option for all brand devices and Stadia is no exception. By pressing on a dedicated button on the Stadia controller and letting it know about the issue you are having, you can get instant help from Youtube via relevant videos automatically selected for you.
With so much offered to streamers and YouTubers, Google brings some on the table for developers too. An ability to try out new art styles and images in the game and customize them how they wish will surely be appreciated by programmers and people in the industry.
Google Stadia Controller
No hardware is required to become a part of an immersive Stadia world, however, having a brand exclusive controller won’t hurt. The official gamepad was announced at the conference unveiling its ability to connect to any games running in the cloud plus any streaming platforms via Wi-Fi; a special Capture button for instant game progress sharing to YouTube and a dedicated Google Assistant button allowing as ask for help via a built-in microphone:
The unit resembles an Xbox controller and is offered in 3 color schemes as of now.
Google Stadia Games
Google execs didn’t really bring much light to Stadia games subject, they just mentioned they have partnered up with over a hundred gaming developing companies. Some of the key players such as Havok, Unity and Unreal are engaged in the works. Ubisoft and Star Fox Development have confirmed its far-reaching business plans with Google as well.
Release Date and Price
No exact release dates have been confirmed so far, only the fact it will become available sometime in 2019. Stadia will first launch in the US, Canada, UK, and Europe with other countries to follow down the road.
Subscription fees for the streaming service, the price on Stadia controller and pre-order information also remain unclear at this point. We can only guess that Google will stick with a traditional subscription plan like Netflix, or offer a Steam-like model pricing. Either way, besides fulfilling the corporation’s ambitious plans on taking the video games industry to the unseen heights, Google will be interested in returning the money invested in the project which already totals to thirteen billion dollars.
The Bottom Line
With much uncertainty about Stadia business model, games availability and even technical capabilities for delivering a perfect experience at announced streaming quality, we can only keep debating whether it will be a hit or miss for Google. We have seen other companies attempting to accomplish what Google is trying to do now and those ventures failed. However, services like OnLive didn’t have the resources and technology that the technology monster has. The launch of Stadia, if happens to be successful, will break our stereotypes on what gaming should be like by taking the console factor out of the picture completely and bringing the focus to the quality of Internet connection instead.
Another important factor is the response from the competition. It’s not only Microsoft and PlayStation that can feel stimulated to optimize their already existing download and play services, Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus, respectively; there may come a major risk from other big players in the technology industry. Amazon and Apple are rumored to have worked on a game streaming service in development.
At the end of the day gamers don’t care if this will become a game of ambitions for tech giants, all we are interested in is having hassle-free access to our favorite games, steady gameplay with no interruptions and an ability to connect with other players, and, affordable costs, of course. Will this be Google Stadia or another product that delivers the above - we are ready to embrace it entirely.