Stadia Games and Entertainment is Google’s first-party development studio

March 19 17:22 2019

Similar to services like GeForce Now, Stadia will render games in the cloud and stream the video down to your device. Ideally, it will allow folks to play any game on any connected device – think Devil May Cry 5 on your iPhone, Dead Cells on your smart TV or Apex Legends on a Mac.

Today, Google unveiled its new gaming initiative, Stadia, an ambitious streaming platform that will allow players to stream all types of games across TVs, tablets, phones, and computer.

While streaming game services might nibble at consoles sales, they are more likely to broaden the audience of players to anyone with an internet connection, according to analysts. That’s all it’ll take. All of the game’s information is stored at Google’s data centers, which means there’s no downloading, installing, or patching.

The company was able to do a live test of Stadia at the keynote on a Chromebook, Pixel, desktop, and a Chromecast, so at a minimum, those platforms are supported. Most exciting was the announcement that Doom Eternal will be coming to Stadia. When it launched in late 2018, participants were able to play Ubisoft’s then-brand new Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey in a Chrome tab.

Google “has one key weakness – first party and exclusive content”, Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games for research firm IHS Markit, said in a note on Tuesday.

It looks like a traditional console controller but the Stadia version has a button for capturing and sharing gaming directly to YouTube. It’ll launch later this year in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, and most of Europe. Google want to bring Stadia to nearly every single “screen”. As such, Stadia will be capable of offering more raw power than both Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. It also connects through WiFi directly to the game, and knows what device you’re playing on.

Some proofs of concept shown for Stadia include things like allowing couch co-up through streaming that doesn’t tax the performance of a game, the ability for multiple people to view the same game world from a range of perspectives, again without a hit on performance.

Google is launching its own game studio for Stadio too, called Stadia Games and Entertainment, led by video game producer Jade Raymond. Another life-saver for studios may be found in the Style Transfer Machine Learning tool, which can take a series of illustrations, textures or artworks and apply them intelligently as an art style across a game with no palette – potentially saving tons of time in curating an art style across all of the game’s environments and characters.

Looking at some gameplay demos, Google showed off split screen multiplayer, where each person has an individual Stadia instance streaming the game to their corner of the screen, meaning developers won’t have to compromise visuals or frame rate to support it.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like we’re finally going to see the results of Google’s long-rumoured streaming project.

Justin Sullivan  Getty Images Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Stadia Games and Entertainment is Google’s first-party development studio
 
 
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