#GDC2019 Google Stadia Announced; Boasted to Be Powerful Future of Gaming
As you can imagine, there was a lot of buzz surrounding Google’s gaming event. This was due to a mixture of rumours in regards to a new console and news regarding their prolific new employees. However, the strongest and most accurate of these rumours was the suggestion that their new product would be a streaming platform.
Officially called Stadia, the platform is boasted to be powered by 10.7 GPU teraflops worth of graphical prowess, making it much more powerful than an Xbox One X, which currently sits at a 6.0 rating. Interestingly, the 10.7 figure is only with one GPU, as by using more than one, Google aims to make intensive rendering tasks like water simulation, physics and more, much easier, and more realistic; ultimately allowing you to play games at 4K 60fps.
Games like Doom Eternal were confirmed for the platform, with Ubisoft confirming their commitment to the platform. Not to mention, it comes with Unreal Engine, Crytek and Unity support, which are some of the most popular engines for games out there, pretty much making it a straightforward undertaking for any developers.
Jade Raymond also took the stage to bolster the announcement of Google’s first party game development studio that will create games with Stadia in mind, confirming the rumours that Jade has been hired specifically with making games in mind. They also reaffirmed that the studio will be always there to help partner studios utilise the Google technologies showcased in the keynote, in order to truly help and evolve gaming. Developers interested can sign up for kits at Stadia.dev.
More impressively however, the platform seems to shine best with pick up and play in mind. With a touch of a button, without any updates or downloads, it aims to seamlessly throw you into the game that you want to play. It looks to work just as smoothly as it sounds if the demonstration was any indication, with the host jumping from the PC to mobile and tablet devices, picking up from where they stopped without pausing.
This will of course help the developers as well, since one program will be usable on various platforms without the need for extra code or optimisation. Not to mention, even though it will launch with its own appropriate controller, gamers will be able to use other popular ones or mouse and keyboard if they so wish. Not to mention, even those with weaker hardware will be able to enjoy the latest games.
In fact, Vice President and General Manager of Google, Phil Harrison who was leading the conference, specifically made it a point that they found the least powerful PCs they could for the demonstration, further showing the streaming platform’s prowess. Ultimately, they hope it will deliver the quality as envisioned by devs for players who will not be limited by traditional consoles.
Google also made multiplayer gaming and content streaming a big thing as well, stating that it would support cross-platform play, and that streamers will be able to concurrently share and stream to YouTube at a more real time pace due to how the platform has been setup, even allowing viewers to participate.
In regards to sharing, the most impressive feature is perhaps a “State Share” feature, which means that you will be able to share a state you are in, and players will be able to play exactly at the same spot. This does bring up the possibility of real time viral videos (viral games?).
Not much is known in regards to the launch, internet requirements or price at the moment, and is originally planned for US, Canada, Europe and UK, but we would not expect this to be easily compatible on your average fibre speeds that British ISPs like Sky or BT may provide. So, unless Google can provide decent quality at the same requirement Netflix delivers 4k content at, it is going to be a large uphill battle for Google. The potential is definitely there, which should hopefully open up videogames to a wider market.