Google Announces 'Stadia' Digital Gaming Platform

Wyatt Fossett,

March 19, 2019 6:06 PM

The streaming future is very real, and it's coming in 2019. Google reveals new Stadia game streaming system at GDC keynote, and it could change everything.

Riding the wave of their successful demo last fall, Google’s new future of streaming video games is finally revealed. Google’s Stadia aims to bring seamless multiplayer, any platform streaming, and completely digital future to the world of gaming. 

During their playtest last fall, Google partnered with Ubisoft to bring their latest Assassin’s Creed game Odyssey to any browser, on any platform possible. 

The core of Stadia is the desire to remove physical platform specifications from the gaming conversation. During their unveiling, Google held a live demo that saw a user moving seamlessly between a Chromebook, cellphone, gaming pc, tablet, and finally a television, all without the need to own a console, and all picking up exactly where the last left off, without a hiccup. 

Multiplayer

(Google data centers map)
(Google data centers map)

The implications and concerns surrounding multiplayer were quickly squashed, as Google discussed the infrastructure in place that could change the face of both at-home multiplayer, and competitive environments. This includes a connected network at the Google Stadia data-centers that has no ceiling. This means there is an endlessly scale-able multiplayer connection that just exists out there. 

One of the biggest caps on players within game types like battle royale titles is the complicated infrastructure involved in placing up to 100 folks in the same game. With the roof taken off of connection and no burden on personal hardware or internet connections, Google has created an infrastructure that is theoretically infinitely scalable. 

Stadia Games & Controller

Part of the announcement saw the introduction of Jade Raymond (ex Ubisoft, Motive) as the Head of Stadia Games and Entertainment, where the Stadia games team will work to bring you new first-party titles, and the tools for those external partners to use Google Stadia as a platform. 

(Google Stadia controller interface)
(Google Stadia controller interface)

Google also unveiled the new Stadia Controller, and it surprisingly doesn’t look all that bad. The influencers are obvious in design, and they’ve done a great job of adopting some of the things (like the “share” button) that gamers love from another gamepad design. The important fact to note about their controller is that it connects over WiFi directly to the Google data centers, cutting out the middle man, and attempting to dissolve all input lag. 

The Stadia is also instantly connected to other Google services like YouTube, where players can watch a video and instantly launch the game you’re watching by simply pressing a button. This connects content creators and gamers worldwide in a way that has never been done before. Also connected is the widely used Google Assistant, who has the ability to answer your burning strategy questions, or tell you who the best Call of Duty Player in the World is, without ever leaving the game. 

There has been (rightfully so) no update from Google on what the cost of this service or any of the minimal hardware you might need, will be. Or whether or not this is a subscription service, or if it will have a title-by-title store.

All we were afforded during the end of the streamed GDC 2019 press conference was their plan to bring the new Google Stadia to the world “in 2019”. It will have a soft launch -- as most digital products do -- and arrive first in the United States, Canada, the UK, and “most” of Europe.Google also mentioned that more information would be coming this summer.

There are many questions that still need answers as we look forward to more announcements from the Google Stadia team in the near future. 



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