Google just unveiled Stadia, its ambitious attempt to upend the video game industry and take on Xbox and PlayStation. Here's everything we know (GOOG, GOOGL)

Google Stadia controller

  • Google just announced a huge new gaming initiative: A Netflix-like video game streaming platform named Stadia.
  • The service is intended to run high-resolution, blockbuster games on any device that runs Google’s Chrome — from smartphones to computers to TVs and tablets.
  • Alongside the announcement of Stadia itself, Google unveiled a new controller and a new game development studio.

After years of rumors and speculation, Google officially detailed its plans to enter the video game business on Tuesday. 

Those plans start with a new service named Stadia (pronounced “STAY-dee-uh”), which Google CEO Sundar Pichai says will offer blockbuster games on any device that can run the Chrome web browser — everything from smartphones to tablets to laptops and TVs.

The pitch is simple: If you’ve got a Chromecast, or an iPhone, or whatever device you’re reading this on, you could potentially run Stadia. 

What Netflix-like services did for TV and film, Stadia promises for video games.

Google GDC 2019

It’s an ambitious concept that pits Google against the likes of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, and it could potentially upend the way people buy and play video games.

Here’s what we learned from Google’s big debut of Stadia:

SEE ALSO: Google just unveiled its Netflix-like video game platform named ‘Stadia’

1. Stadia is a cloud-based video game streaming service. You don’t need to buy a game console.

Unlike Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Switch, Google is promising no additional hardware required with Stadia.

“At launch, we’ll support being able to play games across desktops, laptops, TV, tablets, and phones. This new generation of gaming is not a box,” Google vice president Phil Harrison said on Tuesday. 

Instead, processing is handled “in the cloud” — by Google’s hardware in a data center — which is then streamed to you instantly. Your inputs are then instantly beamed back to the computer elsewhere.

This is an oversimplification of what is assuredly a deeply complicated process, but it’s similar to how Netflix works: Instead of having to run physical media, it’s simply streamed to wherever you’re watching it.

2. Stadia promises a single ecosystem for gaming across all devices.

Google is aiming high with Stadia — the ability to take your games and your game saves with you to any device. Regardless of where you access the service, you’ll have access to the same games with the same controller (more on that in a moment). 

The very concept of stream-based gaming is an ambitious challenge to the current blockbuster video game market, which is dominated by physical game consoles and games sold piecemeal. 

Instead, Google is offering a service-based video game platform that goes where you are — like the music industry, the film industry, and the TV industry have already done.

3. There’s a Stadia gamepad that’s built by Google.

In many ways, the Stadia controller looks an awful lot like a hybrid of Xbox One gamepad (in shape and design) and the PlayStation 4 gamepad (in thumbstick layout).

Functionally, it more or less is exactly that. But there’s one major aspect of the gamepad that sets it apart: It’s got WiFi. 

This may sound strange, but it connects the controller’s inputs directly to the data center running the game. It’s a simple solution, and enables the controller to be easily swapped between devices.

There are two other buttons on the Stadia controller that stand out: The capture button, which captures gameplay directly to YouTube, and the Google Assistant button, which activates Google Assistant. Perhaps you want help with a specific part of a game? Or need to suddenly know the weather in Tokyo? Solved! 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider