Google finally unveils its video game platform: Stadia

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during the Google keynote address at the Gaming Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

  • Google officially unveiled its first major video game initiative on Tuesday.
  • It’s called “Stadia,” and it’s a video game streaming service as a platform.
  • Google says its central goal with Stadia is to make gaming accessible for as many people as possible.

Google unveiled a major new gaming initiative on Tuesday, named “Stadia.”

The service is built on Google’s cloud network, and promises to enable Netflix-like streamed video games to be played on various Chrome-powered devices: Chrome web browsers, Chromebooks, and other Chrome devices like Chromecast.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai introduced the service with a video showcasing the company’s gaming ambitions: To create “a game platform for everyone.”

Google GDC 2019

To that end, Google is using cloud technology to power high-end, blockbuster games remotely.

The idea is simple: Instead of having to own an expensive game console, you could play those games on devices you already own.

Google demonstrated Stadia on stage in San Francisco at the Game Developers Conference, with vice president Phil Harrison showing an example game — “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey” from Ubisoft — running across a variety of devices. The game allowed the player to pick up and move from device to device, seamlessly, without having to do anything.

This is a core component of Stadia: Being able to play the same games across all devices.  

Google is also creating a piece of hardware — the Stadia controller:

Google Stadia controller

The controller is a kind of system unto itself, with WiFi and even Google Assistant included. Google says it can be used directly with various Chrome-powered devices as a controller for streamed games.

So, what is the Stadia service capable of? Google says it offers more power through the cloud than any currently sold video game console. 

To that end, Stadia is said to offer games at 4K resolution, with 60 frames-per-second speeds and surround sound. The first game announced for the service is an upcoming “Doom” game, “Doom Eternal” — a game intended to showcase the technological capability of Google’s new streaming platform.

Google is also promising cross-platform support for gaming, so that anything developed for Stadia can be played with players on competing platforms like Xbox and PlayStation.

Google Stadia

One particularly unique feature of Stadia is something called “state share,” which enables specific game moments to be linked, like a website, and shared. For example: A video game streamer could share a link to viewers that could then be clicked, thus allowing viewers to jump directly into the same spot in their own game.

Developing

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