Google finally unveiled its game streaming service this week. The big reveal was during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and the new platform is the closest thing to ‘Netflix for Games’ that is available for players around the world. The new service is called Stadia, and Google wants it to be the home of digital, on-demand games with cross-platform play. So far, the service is scheduled to launch in the United States, Canada, the UK and Europe, but more regions are expected to launch at a later date.
Using the service, players can jump into a game anywhere they have a suitable internet connection. You can play AAA titles on anything from a smartphone to a Smart TV, and up to 4K resolution. Right now Google is boasting the capability to run 4K games at 60FPS, with HDR support, but the company hopes to move to 8K in the future. There aren’t too many 8K screens on the market right now, let alone many games that natively support that output, so Google has some time to work on it.
The platform is a terrific answer to a problem that has plagued video game developers since the first game hit the market: the choice of platform and the segmentation of players. With Stadia, games are available to everyone, regardless if they prefer iOS or Android, Mac or PC, PS4 or Xbox One. Devs won’t have to design their games around the most commonly used hardware or the most popular platform, and no one gets left behind or stuck with a bad port. Actually, ports would become a thing of the past with this technology. This allows devs to focus on just one platform, freeing up resources and cutting the cost of development while still maximizing their client base.
Developers can also skip big publishing companies and host Twitch streams or YouTube events to promote their work. These streams would then allow players to jump into the game at a moments notice. Google teased this technology by streaming a game trailer during the conference, then at the end, jumped right into the game from the trailer. The jump from watching a trailer to playing the game was just a few seconds.
Stadia won’t remove the need for publishers outright, but it will cut down on smaller companies needing the exposure and resources. It should also prevent many of the smaller developers from being consumed by the current publishing giants. That leaves more competition and independent studios to create the games that they enjoy.
Google brought on top execs to start the project, including Phil Harrison and Jade Raymond. Raymond took the job of head of Stadia Games and Entertainment, leading the charge into the streaming era.
Google isn’t the only company working on this technology; in fact, NVIDIA has been testing it for years with Geforce Now. While NVIDIA certainly has the GPU hardware to give it an advantage, Google has a cloud network already in place to serve millions of players.
If you missed the GDC announcement this morning, you can watch the video below.
Want another trailer? You can find more Game Trailers to watch.
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