Google announces Stadia game streaming platform

Stadia platform will let you play games on Google's servers but beam high-quality video feeds to your own devices.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai announcing Stadia platform at GDC 2019

Image: Livestream screengrab

At the 2019 Game Developers Conference today in San Francisco, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced Stadia, a new game streaming service that the company hopes will revolutionize the way people play games.

According to Pichai, the service will let gamers play top-tier without the need to buy and own expensive computers or dedicated gaming consoles.

All games will run on servers in Google's data centers, and a video feed of the game will be broadcast to the user's device of choice --such as a desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, or smart TV.

To interact with the game and its controls, players can use any keyboards, mice, and third-party controllers they like. However, Google is also launching a dedicated controller --also named Stadia-- tailored explicitly for its platform.

Stadia controller

Image: Livestream screengrab

The Google exec said that at launch, Stadia would support game video feeds of 4K at 60fps, with surround sound and HDR support. The goal is to upgrade gaming streams to 8K at 120fps, Pichai said.

Because Stadia is a cloud-based streaming service, the main advantage is that players can switch between devices within seconds, and without needing to save and close down ongoing games --as Google employees showed live on the GDC stage.

The Stadia announcement wasn't a surprise for industry experts. Last fall, Google partnered with Canadian game maker Ubisoft to run a test that allowed gamers to play Assassin's Creed Odyssey inside their Google Chrome browsers, without the need of dedicated gaming rigs.

Google didn't reveal when Stadia would launch, in either an alpha or final version, nor did it reveal any pricing information. Industry insiders expect Google to make this announcement at the Google I/O 2019 conference at the end of May.

When it will launch, Google's Stadia will be a unique service, without any direct competitor.

Gamers' reaction was overwhelmingly positive, which is normal since a service like Stadia spares users from spending hundreds of dollars on gaming equipment.

A live stream of Pichai's keynote and the subsequent Stadia presentations is available below.

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