Google execs took to the stage today GDC to announce their new venture: Stadia.
Stadia is Google’s forthcoming game streaming service. Think OnLive, but bigger and powered by Google and their money.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai says that the goal of Stadia is to bring the best games to everyone in the world and “When we say for everyone, we really mean it. It’s one of our most cherished values at the company.”
Stadia will be powered by a Google data center network that covers 19 regions, 58 zones, and 200+ countries and territories. They claim Stadia will bring 4K, 60-fps games to 2 billion people via any device that uses the Chrome browser; desktops, laptops, phones, tablets, and televisions. As seen in the image above, this means you’d be able to play a game like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey anywhere and pick up where you left off.
Google says Stadia will, in the future, be able to support 8K resolutions and 120-fps.
The data centers powering Stadia run at 10.7 GPU teraflops. For comparison, the PS4 runs at 4.2 and the Xbox One X runs at 6.0.
The image above is Google’s custom Stadia controller. As you can see, it’s like a mixture of a PS4 and Xbox controller.
Google says Stadia will work with your existing USB controllers, and also with a mouse and keyboard. This custom Stadia controller though “connects through WiFi directly to the game that is running in the Google data center to ensure the highest possible performance.”
The custom controller features a Share button, called the Capture button, that will allow gamers to share their gameplay at 4K with 60fps. It also features the Assistant button, that will allow players to use a built-in microphone to get game help from the AI assistant.
As this is a Google product, Stadia will be fully integrated with YouTube. Players will be able to watch a game stream on YouTube and click a play now button, and that will allow them to be playing the game “within five seconds.”
There’s also a Crowd Play feature that will allow content creators on YouTube to stream directly through Stadia and will drop viewers right into their multiplayer session or queues.
Stadia also has a State Share feature, which will allow developers and streams to share game states. With this, a gamer can be dropped directly into a moment or challenge for any game on the platform.
Google VP Phil Harrison said that Stadia will support cross-platform play, and that it can migrates saves from pre-existing platforms. The consoles or services that are supported however were not named.
Google says that theire are hundreds of publishers and studios working with them to migrate their games to Stadia. These include the likes of Bethesda, Ubisoft, Take-Two, and others. Important to note that while no exclusives were announced, for Ubisoft (and EA) exec Jade Raymond is heading up Stadia Games and Entertainment division that will be creating games specifically, but not necessarily exclusively, for Stadia.
Stadia is expected to launch sometime later this year in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. At this time, no price as has been announced, but it is expected that Stadia will be a Netflix style subscription service and not a marketplace.