The future of gaming is here… Well, sort of.
Originally under the code name Project Stream, Google has finally announced their new gaming platform called Stadia at GDC. “What’s Stadia?” you ask? Stadia is part of Google’s efforts to create a “game platform for everyone”, doing away with hardware limitations and console barriers in the process.
Google is planning a future where consoles become obsolete.
Gamers around the world will be able to play any title they want on the Stadia platform in 4K Ultra HD, with up to 60 frames per second. Google has already confirmed that they plan to support 8K image quality with up to 120 frames per second in the future.
So, how does it work?
Well, to start you will still need access to a desktop PC, laptop, mobile device or TV. Which devices will be compatible is still to be determined, however, from the keynote it sounds that any device capable of running the Google Chrome browser will be compatible.
In addition to that, the platform isn’t exactly hardware free, as you will still need a Stadia controller. Google has not released any pricing info on the controller at this time.
The controller boasts a wide variety of different features that easily make it the perfect, multi-purpose gaming tool. First, the controller is WiFi connected which will allow it to connect directly to the Google Stadia servers. For games hosted on Google’s servers, users shouldn’t see any impact on the gameplay. However, for a game like Apex Legends, the Stadia controller will first need to send the input to Google servers for it to be forwarded to the games actual servers. This type of input lag could be problematic in games where it’s crucial for nearly real time engagements.
The controller is also set to have a Google Assistant button built in. This means that if you get stuck at any point during your gaming experience, you’re one click away from asking Google Assistant to help you find a game guide or walk through of the level you’re on.
Specs and requirements?
Google Stadia features a custom 2.7 GHz hyperthreaded x86 CPU with AVX 2 SIMD. It also has a custom AMD GPU that’s capable of 10.7 teraflops of power using HBM2 memory and 56 compute units. For memory, it has 16GB of RAM with up to 484GB/s transfer speeds and 9.5MB of L2+L3 cache. On top of all of this, it includes SSD cloud storage.
That all sounds fancy, right? What does that actually mean for the end user experience?
Ultimately, as long as your Internet speeds suffice you’ll be able to stream AAA titles in 4K resolution with minimal lag, and without having to go drop hundreds of dollars on a new graphics card. All of the rendering for the gameplay footage will be handled on the Google servers and simply streamed to your device of choice.
While Google executives have been hesitant to provide a hard line for Internet streaming requirements, they have commented to IGN “that players will need “roughly” 30 megabits per second internet speed for 4K/60 frames per second streaming, while 1080p streaming will require significantly less than that.”
Want to know more? Check out the full Stadia Announcement Presentation from GDC 2019 below.