One of the most anticipated new announcements made during this year’s Game Developer’s Conference is Google revealing their new gaming streaming platform. Google CEO Sundar Pichai took the stage to officially announce Stadia (pronounced like stadium without the -m). Watch the full announcement stream above.
Stadia promises a purely digital streaming platform – no discs, no downloads, no consoles required. It’s a cloud-based gaming service that runs on any device or TV with Google’s Chrome operating system.
All of the heavy lifting is done on Google’s servers, allowing you to play a game regardless of your PC or tablet’s internal graphical processing. In fact, Stadia has more GPU power than both the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X combined. Stadia supports up to 8K HDR resolution at 60 FPS. With multiple GPUs, Stadia also seamlessly supports split-screen multiplayer.
Because Google owns YouTube, Stadia will be directly integrated into YouTube, including via relevant trailers and streamers.
“Imagine you’re watching games on YouTube and you discover the latest Assassin’s Creed Odyssey trailer,” says Phil Harrison, Vice President, Google. “You’ll notice a Play Now button. By clicking on that button you’re brought directly into the game in as little as five seconds, with no download, no patch, no update, and no install. Stadia offers instant access to play. At launch we’ll support desktops, laptops, TV, tablets, and phones.”
Crowd Play is Stadia’s feature that allows viewers to jump directly into a game with streamers. Creators can then feature that viewers’ stream. State Share lets streamers share their exact game play state for other viewers to experience.
A stage presentation showed the same game of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey seamlessly played between PC, phone, tablet, and a tv with a Google Chromecast. Since all game data is stored on Google’s cloud servers, gameplay can be quickly stopped and started on multiple platforms.
Stadia supports existing controllers, as well as a new controller built specifically for Stadia, which connects to Stadia’s datacenter directly. The Stadia controller also features a Google Assistant button, which calls up the voice-activated helper to quickly ask questions without having to close the game.
Harrison also confirmed that Stadia will feature “comprehensive parental controls.”
Finally, Google is creating their own first party game development studio called Stadia Games and Entertainment. Stadia Games and Entertainment is headed by industry veteran Jade Raymond, and will create games exclusively for Stadia. They will also work with third party developers to unlock more gaming potential for Stadia. “Stadia will be the driving force for games and entertainment,” says Raymond.
As much as the presentation revealed about how Stadia works, we didn’t here anything about pricing. Cloud-based gaming also requires a stable, high speed internet connection, though we didn’t hear about any specific requirements.
Despite these very big questions, Stadia did get a general release date: Summer 2019. Look for more detail and information in the coming months.