everything we know about Google’s game streaming service
Imagine that in the future you no longer need expensive equipment for new gaming innovations, but you just need to launch the Chrome browser, select a game and immediately enjoy the gameplay without having to wait for the download or installation of new patches.
This is the idea behind the Google Stadia streaming service. Just five seconds after opening the game tab in the browser, and you can already play in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. According to the developers, the computing power of the cloud service will be equal to a console with a performance of 10.7 teraflops, which exceeds the capabilities of the Xbox One and PS4 Pro combined. This innovation could be a real breakthrough in the gaming industry.
The Stadia service (which was previously announced as Project Stream) will allow using any modern computer, laptop, tablet or even smartphone for video games – all information processing will take place on servers in Google’s data centers.
Table of Contents
- What is it? A large-scale streaming service project like Netflix, but in the gaming world. Stadia will compete with next generation consoles.
- When is the launch? The service is expected to launch in 2019, but so far only in a few countries, including the US, Canada and the UK.
- What is the cost of use? So far, Google representatives do not cover this moment and it is not even known whether it will be necessary to pay a subscription, buy games, or both together.
How Google Stadia works
In order to use the streaming service, you only need to have a stable high-speed Internet connection and the latest version of the Google Chrome browser. Before starting work, it is proposed to undergo testing of the speed and ping of the Internet. Recommended characteristics: speed from 15 Mbps, latency no more than 40 ms and data loss no more than 5%.
The beta version of Stadia offers Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for testing. When launched in a browser, it will run in full screen mode, just as if it were running on the corresponding gaming PC. You can use a keyboard and mouse as a controller, or connect a gamepad.
During the game, data outgoing from the user’s computer is sent to Google’s servers, and from there the processed streaming image and sound are returned. Therefore, it is very important to have a good network response time for normal use of the service. The exact data is still being specified, but Google said that as a result, gamers will have access to games in 8K format with a frequency of 120 frames per second, which is significantly higher than modern standards.
Stadia is much simpler and more convenient than existing similar services that provide players with a virtual desktop. It will support the function of broadcasting games via Google Chromecast, and the developers are also planning to implement a cross-platform multiplayer mode.
For the most comfortable gaming experience, it is recommended to use the branded Stadia gamepad, which connects directly to the cloud service (which is a great advantage in terms of performance) and is equipped with a Google Assistant button that provides access to special in-game features and tips.
What games will be available on Stadia?
The Beta version of the service so far only has Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. But it does give some idea what level of games will be available on Google Stadia. Here is a list of Ubisoft’s recommended system requirements to play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey with high graphics settings in Full HD resolution:
CPU: AMD FX-8350 @ 4.0 GHz, Ryzen 5 – 1400, Intel Core i7-3770 @ 3.5 GHz.
Graphics adapter: AMD Radeon R9 290 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 (4 GB VRAM or more with Shader Model 5.0) or higher
RAM: 8 GB
Free disk space: 46 GB
For those looking to play in 4K, we recommend an AMD Ryzen 1700X or Intel Core i7 7700 processor, an AMD Vega 64 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, and 16GB of RAM.
With Google Stadia, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey or other similar AAA categories can be played even on entry-level devices. For example, Marty Stratton of id Software recently announced that the new Doom Eternal will be available on Stadia, and in 4K resolution with a frame rate of 60 fps.
Multiplayer games, many of which require quick response, are usually not popular on cloud gaming services, as streaming data usually does not come without latency. But the Stadia project, with its powerful infrastructure and direct-connect controller, could well make a difference. Then cloud gaming will reach the next level, with games like Fortnite and Overwatch attracting thousands of players from all over the world.
Google has announced the creation of Stadia Games and Entertainment, a new division dedicated exclusively to game development for the new Stadia platform.
In addition, the service supports cooperative play through Stream Connect and the Crowd Play function, which allows you to connect to streams with a click of a button. For those who like to share their gameplay, there is the ability to send streaming video directly to the YouTube channel, as well as the State Share function, which creates a google link to any saved place in the game.
Project Stream testing impressions
Employees of the Techradar edition tested the beta version of the gaming platform with various equipment and at different Internet speeds. The game was compared over an unstable 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network, a stable 5 GHz Wi-Fi network, and a high-speed Ethernet. The equipment used was a modern desktop PC and two laptops: a 5-year-old Chromebook and a two-year-old Razer Blade.
Overall, they described the service as “quite playable,” even on an outdated computer. If problems with graphics did arise, it was primarily due to a poor Internet connection, since when the speed drops, the resolution decreases.
Provided that only high-speed cable Internet is used, the image quality remains consistently high with a frame rate of 30 to 60. But in especially dynamic scenes and where there is a lot of detail, blur was observed, in particular, it concerns the faces of the characters. However, the developers of Stadia can still fix these problems before the release of the final version.
It is not known whether Stadia will become a serious competitor to traditional console and PC gaming, as stated by company officials. But given that the streaming service allows you to play the most modern games with only a stable Internet connection, it’s safe to say that this concept has great potential.