A new player has entered the game industry, and that player just so happens to be the tech giant Google with its all-new streaming platform, Stadia. While many players were expecting a brand new box to adorn their TV stands following some rumors, Google has other plans in mind.
Stadia will be Google's attempt at making gaming more accessible to everyone by utilizing streaming and cross-integration that will allow users to play any game on the platform instantly. Players will be able to use nearly any Chrome-enabled screen to play games, including smartphones, regardless of how powerful the actual hardware is. This means that players won't need an additional box to actually use Stadia, as they likely already have a compatible device, or devices, inside their homes that they can use.
Players will be able to use their existing controllers and keyboards on laptops and desktops, or the all-new Stadia controller, which leaked some time ago. Google seems to be putting a heavy emphasis a giving players multiple options to actually play games, which will likely be appreciated by established gamers with large amounts of hardware.
At launch, Stadia will support game streaming in 4K 60 FPS with HDR enabled, something even high-end desktops struggle to attain with current hardware. However, games at this resolution will almost certainly take a heavy toll on user's networks, and will likely require incredibly beefy internet connections to stream without issues.
As far as games go, Assassin's Creed Odyssey has been confirmed for the platform for quite some time, as it was used in the initial test for the platform. Doom Eternal is also confirmed and will support 4K 60 FPS when it launches. Establishing a compelling content library will be crucial to the platform, but Google is already off to a great start. Google has shipped development hardware to more than 100 studios around the world, meaning that thousands of people are currently working on bringing their games to the platform.
Players will be able to launch games from just about anywhere. For instance, while watching a stream about FIFA, players can simply press a button to instantly launch the game from that stream, or even queue up to join a streamers lobby. Games will also be integrated with the Google Assistant, which will be able to help walk players through difficult levels and stages simply by pressing a button.
While Google certainly announced many details about Stadia, there are still some questions left to be answered. The biggest is simply how well current internet connection speeds will handle streaming games, especially considering the lackluster connection speeds in many areas of the world. There's also the issue of pricing. Google didn't specify whether this would be a Netflix-style subscription, like what Microsoft hopes to be in the future, or simply purchasing desired titles, though it's probably safe to assume the latter or even a mix of both approaches.
In the past, gamers haven't been fond of the idea of a near-constant internet connection being required to play their games, as seen with the Xbox One before launch, but times have changed, and there's a chance Google may be able to woo users with a hardwareless platform - especially one as ambitious as Stadia.
Stadia is scheduled to launch in 2019.