At today’s Game Developers Conference the big news was surrounding Stadia, Google’s new platform designed to stream video games that may ultimately change the way we play games altogether.
Stadia isn’t a game console, it’s a cloud-based streaming service that’s exclusively for video games that will work on any smart TV (or any TV with a Chromecast), computers running a Chrome browser, and Google’s Pixel devices. This means that you won’t have to wait a few hours to download games to your devices, just play them over any Wi-Fi connection instantly.
The Netflix-like product is expected to launch later this year with big-name titles, including “Assassins Creed Odyssey” and special YouTube features. Even without a console, it could help Google take on the major game industry leaders — Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.
The corporate giant also rolled out its first Google-branded Stadia controller, which is integrated with its AI-powered Google Assistant. The wireless gamepad connects through wifi instead of Bluetooth, which will allow for less lag from having to go through the console.
The company announced a number of slick features that could have a big impact on how gamers play.
- The Stream Connect aspect will allow for split-screen co-op. And since both players will be running their own instance of the game, there won’t be any performance hit to the game, which is what happens on consoles since a single system would normally have to support running both players’ views of the world.
- State Share will let you share a moment from your game that you can send to a friend. You can then pick up playing the game from that exact moment.
- If you get stuck on a part of the game, you can pull up the Google Assistant and it will point you in the right direction via a YouTube video laid on top of your game.
- Crowd Play will allow viewers to queue up and play with their favorite streamers.
With these new features YouTube streamers will be able to engage with their audience easier than before and viewers will have easier access to their favourite YouTube personalities.
Head of gaming at YouTube, Ryan Wyatt, showed off the Crowd Play feature, which allows viewers to queue up and play with their favorite streamers.
Wyatt gave an example of viewers watching a streamer play NBA 2K. Players are able to sign up and wait in line to play with the streamer. Acting as a new lobby, the line ticks down until it’s the viewer’s turn to start playing. They can then play a match with or against the streamer they’re watching. When the match is over, another viewer gets the chance to play.
The streaming service will be able to stream in 60fps with HDR and 4K resolution. Google’s Majd Baker went on to explain that in the future, Stadia will eventually be able to stream in 120fps and 8K resolution.
“Stadia will lift restrictions on the games we create and play—and the communities who enjoy them,” said Phil Harrison, vice president, and general manager of Stadia. “’We want sharing games to be as easy as sharing a link and clicking on it.”