Google is officially getting into the gaming industry today.
The company just took the wraps off Stadia, it’s game streaming service. Codenamed Yeti, Google has been rumoured to be working on the service for a while now. The naming is inspired by stadiums, and how people started coming around for sports back in the good old days. Google is pitching this as “one place” for anyone to play anything, anyone, anywhere.
Stadia brings together YouTube streamers and watchers together, according to Google. So if you are watching a game’s trailer on YouTube, you will be able to start playing that exact game instantly right from YouTube. You won’t need to download or install anything and start playing whatever game you want. You’ll also be able to stream that exact game live on YouTube at the same time. The YouTube integration here is deep — there’s a feature called Crowd Play that let you join a game with streamers right from YouTube, for example. There’s even a feature called State Share that lets you create different scenarios within games that can be shared with others, letting them go through the same scenarios and compete against you.
All of this works as long as a game is on Stadia, of course.
Google is promising 4K streaming @ 60 FPS with HDR and surround sound on Stadia. The platform also lets you play games across devices on the fly — so you can start playing a game on your phone, and pick up where you left off on your TV instantly.
Satdia will allow users to stream games from their devices, and it will be a cross-platform service that’s available on PC, Macs, phones, tablets, TVs, and more. It is launching its own Stadia controller that you can see below. Google says the Stadia controller gets you the best Stadia experience — it connects via WiFi to the Google data centres so you get the best latency. There’s a capture button that lets you take screenshots or record clips, and there’s an Assistant button that lets you access Google Assistant to get help with games.
You will be able to use your existing controllers from Xbox/PS4, however.
Google is not launching its own console. The company did, however, work with AMD to build a GPU for Stadia computers (“an instance”) that power the game streaming. The GPU has 10.7 teraflops of power, which beats the Xbox One X’s 6.0 teraflops and the PlayStation 4 Pro’s 4.2 teraflops. Each of the Stadia instances come with a GPU with 56 compute units and HBM2 memory, a custom x86 hyperthreaded processor running at a clock speed of 2.7GHz, and 16GB of RAM.
In terms of the games that will be available, Google announced Doom Eternal will be coming to Stadia in 4K @ 60fps with HDR support. Interestingly, however, Google didn’t really have much to talk about in terms of what games will be available on Stadia.
Google demoed a feature called Stream Connect, a multiplayer experience that will allow users to play together and against each other. Google showed off how developers could build their games around this multiplayer experience to allow a better squad-based gaming experience that will allow players in a squad to keep an eye on their squadmates at all times, with each player having their own Stadia instance.
Google is launching its own game studio for Stadio too, called Stadia Games and Entertainment, led by video game producer Jade Raymond. Raymond will work with other game studios and partners to bring games to Stadia while working on the company’s own original games.
Stadia will be launching sometime this year, though Google isn’t saying exactly when. It will launch first in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and “most of” Europe. Pricing details is yet to be revealed.