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Stadia Is Google’s New Gaming Platform Launching This Year
Tech giant Google has finally revealed its new gaming platform at a special keynote at Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2019. And it’s called Stadia.
Power Of The Servers
As rumours and leaks suggested, Google’s approach to a gaming platform involves no console whatsoever. Everything is running through a stream where a dedicated Stadia server will render the game.
The Stadia server is no slouch either. Powered by a custom CPU and an AMD-made GPU, it can produce up to 10.7 teraflops- The PS4 Pro only 4.2 teraflops does while the Xbox One X is 6. Stadia can run games at 4K 60fps, with the ability to scale up further to 8K 120fps in the future.
The streaming tech is pretty much proven from the positive feedback of Project Stream. A live demo also showed Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to run on a Pixelbook via the Chrome browser, then a Pixel 3 XL phone, and then on a basic desktop PC, and then a Pixel Slate tablet, using a controller, then removing said controller to connect to a Chromecast plugged to a TV. Each time, the game just continues on from where it was left off.
With Stadia being essentially a server, it also means that developers can scale up using more than 1 GPU if needed so. Multiplayer should also be reliable as everyone will connect straight to Google’s servers. Split-screen multiplayer will not be a performance bottleneck on Stadia too.
Streaming and video archives will be rendered perfectly- rather than competing resources on a console, Stadia just gets another instance of the server to stream for YouTube. Also, this eliminates the need to download and install updates and patches. Everything’s done server side.
The only hardware the Stadia has is a controller. It has the same buttons you expect from a modern console with two extra buttons- a capture button for video recording/streaming to YouTube, and one for Google Assistant, which can pull out game guides and YouTube walkthroughs if you ask it mid-game. The Stadia controller also can connect directly to the servers via Wi-Fi.
The controller’s optional as Stadia can work on any USB controller. Plus, Stadia supports cross-platform play from the get go.
Stadia also has some good developer support, be it on the AAA front (id Software’s upcoming Doom Eternal will be running on Stadia, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider and a version of NBA 2K was shown on the keynote) and indies (Tequila Works, Q-Software). There is already support for most game engines, including Unreal, Unity and the CryEngine as well as middleware like Havok.
Stadia is head by Phil Harrison previously of Sony and Microsoft. It also has its own first-party development team, Stadia Games and Entertainment lead by Jade Raymond, and a publishing arm, Stadia Partners.
Stadia’s last interesting gimmicks are called State Share and Crowd Play. With State Share, developers can create a game state so anyone with the link can hop into Stadia and continue from that state. Examples shown were the end of an official game trailer that will jump players into the game proper, skipping the intro they just saw on the video. Content creators can share around a specific moment or game state as a challenge for the community to try and replicate.
If you ask us, another way to put it, if you ever get mad at YouTubers playing badly, they can enable that you jump in that moment and play the game yourself.
Crowd Play lets you join any ongoing game a streamer is playing straight from the stream. Again, another way to look at it is that Google has simplified stream-sniping.
Stadia Launch Window
Stadia will launch this year in the US, Canada, UK and Europe. No signs of whether or not this will hit Southeast Asia anytime soon. As we previously covered, anything related to Google’s new gaming platform won’t appear if you logged in with an account based here. Even Stadia’s homepage does not even appear.