Google shakes the digital world up this week with the announcement of its new video game streaming service, Stadia, which will launch in 2019. Cleverly taking the idea of media giant Netflix and running with it, this service doesn’t require a console to dive in. It doesn’t even require a download for games. The new service will offer gaming options directly on computers, browsers, any Chromecast television, and the Google Pixel devices. All users require is a Wi-Fi connection, and they can instantly start playing games from most devices they own.
While the service doesn’t require the purchase of a console, Google does have a hardware product for Stadia. The service will come with a Wi-Fi-connected controller specifically for Google. One of the interesting aspects of this controller is a special button intended to bring up a video-game-specific version of Google Assistant. Users can ask the controller questions, such as, “OK, Google, I’m horribly lost in this dungeon,” and, “Hey Google, I’m ripping my hair out trying to beat Medusa in Odyssey. Can you give me tips before I reach full mental collapse?” This controller will also connect to Google’s data center instead of making a local connection, allowing for better game performance.
One of the major dilemmas with streaming is broadcasting on large-scale devices without sacrificing quality. Google is directly aiming to conquer this digital issue with Stadia. The service promises to stream video games at 60 frames per second in full 4K quality. Stadia’s developers are confident that this is all thanks to them lending full processing, as previously mentioned, to their data centers as opposed to the user’s devices. A clever move on Google’s part, considering how massive streaming has become in such a short length of time. This means big things for esports tournaments and gaming conventions, as well.
With billions of gaming hours being viewed on YouTube every year — and only increasing at that — Stadia isn’t just for gamers. It’s also for the millions of fans of gaming worldwide. Two hundred million people watch games on YouTube every day, something Stadia looks to capitalize on and streamline. Esports is, after all, a spectator sport. This is promising news for content creators on YouTube, allowing them to connect with audiences in a far more fluid way. In addition, Google states that it’s started its own video game development studio as well. This means that Stadia will release exclusive titles to the service. The studio is called Stadia Games and Entertainment. Further details (including pricing) are not available at the time of this writing, as much of Stadia is still in its early stages. That said, with Google’s resources, it will be exciting to see what content they will release for their new platform.
Stadia will, undoubtedly, change the way we both play and watch esports — and video gaming in general. Will you be subscribing to Stadia when it hits? Let us know!
Programmer. Writer. Digital media specialist. A competitive gamer in the sense that I’m competing with the constant urge to throw the controller across the room.
Check out more of my work at bradballanger.com