In mid-March, at a Game Developer Conference 2019 conference held in San Francisco, Google introduced a streaming service called Google Stadia, but it will not broadcast movies and TV shows, but games. Last year, the search giant without any ceremony launched a beta test of the service, however, it was then called Project Stream. Now the time has come for a full-fledged announcement, which has revealed a lot of details about Stadia, and, according to the creators, their brainchild will turn the gaming industry upside down.
What do they promise?
If you thought that Stadia is another clone of Twitch or the recently deceased YouTube Gaming, you are mistaken. Google intends not only to demonstrate the gameplay of famous streamers and bloggers but to supply you with full gameplay without the need to install games on your console or PC. Moreover, to start playing, you don’t need to have a powerful computer or set-top box, the user will not even need to install a separate application, it will be enough to have a device with Chromecast support, that is, a smartphone, tablet, low-power office PC or TV on Android TV – in short, literally everything where there is a screen.
Google has already signed a contract with AMD
Apparently, Google took the issue very seriously, as it hired some of the most experienced people in the gaming industry (in particular, Stadia was led by Phil Harrison, vice president of the company, better known as a man who managed to work at Microsoft and Sony), and 7,500 data centers scattered around the world will be responsible for processing huge flows of information. To provide sufficient computing power, Google has already signed a contract with AMD for the supply of server graphics cards with a performance of 10.7 teraflops each, which is more than the power of the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro combined. Ideal products do not exist, so let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of Google Stadia from the point of view of an ordinary player.
The first and perhaps the most important advantage of streaming games is the lack of the need to invest in expensive hardware, update it and generally worry about the performance of their gaming platforms. Modern gaming computers cost tens and even hundreds of thousands of rubles, it is not surprising that according to Steam, only about 10% of users can play modern games with maximum graphics settings.
Today, PC users have to use emulators to run console games (and even then, most of them are far from the latest projects), but console owners do not have such an opportunity, they are limited only to games created exclusively for a specific platform. If Google allows you to play projects from all existing platforms on the device that you like, the problem will disappear by itself. Is there a smartphone, but a couple of thousand dollars are not enough for a powerful computer? Not a problem, they took the phone and are touched by the beauty of the explosions in the conventional Battlefield V, or you leave the couch and leave for sunset in a sports car from Forza Horizon 4. In a word, no one is holding anyone back, the main thing is that the players are satisfied.
Graphics for every taste
Already during the presentation from the stage, support was announced for all popular game engines, including Unreal Engine, Unity, Havok and CryEngine.
Qualitatively new multiplayer games
Google promises a much more stable gameplay in multi-user projects, as both the client and server will be in one place. In addition to the lack of bugs in multiplayer, a single technical base will allow placing thousands of players on one map in the super popular “royal battles” to realize full-fledged destructibility in the spirit of Crackdown 3, as well as get rid of cheaters and hackers.
In cloud computing, the user does not need to wait for the end of tedious downloads, all transitions from the menu to the gameplay take a maximum of a couple of seconds, and even if such a mini-pause was provided by the developer of a game to preserve the atmosphere.
More free space on your computer
Together with the on-demand business model, there is no need to keep large amounts of game data on your computer in order to run it here and now, at any time. Modern AAA-projects after installation occupy tens of gigabytes, which causes a lot of inconveniences and limits the user in terms of the number of simultaneously installed games.
Another plus follows from this – if earlier you had to regularly update by downloading weighty patches and DLC, then you don’t need to do this with cloud games – the end player doesn’t care what happens somewhere on the server, the main thing is that everything works well.