Here's How Google's New Potential Console Killer, Google Stadia, Actually Works
Google's 'Future of Gaming' event didn't throw up a whole lot of surprises, but it did lay down a pretty significant benchmark for the future of high-powered gaming services.
A development that promises to revolutionise a multi-billion dollar industry based almost entirely around physical hardware, Google's newly-unveiled gaming service, called Stadia, is finally going all-in on the cloud-based technology that their competitors at Microsoft and Sony have been tinkering with for some time now.
Google Stadia is, effectively, a one-stop shop to make pretty much all gaming hardware obsolete. But how does it work, and how likely is it to draw you away from your Playstation?
In case you hadn't gathered by now, Google Stadia utilises the power of cloud-based computing and streaming software to deliver a gaming experience onto a device that far exceeds what its hardware would otherwise make it capable of.
Instead of using your PC, Tablet or Phone's software to run a game, it instead relies on one of Google's many servers to render the game in as high-resolution, after which your device streams what's being rendered, just as it would a live Twitch or Youtube feed.
Because Google's tech is so advanced, this is done without any noticeable delay, and any inputs you make to the game seem as if they're being made on a console, just like normal. All you need on your end, however, is a computer with a Full HD screen and a decent internet connection.
Importantly, it's cross platform, as well, meaning you're not just limited to playing against other Stadia users, and multi-device. Perhaps most notably, through the use of a Chromecast, you can also play on your TV.
The benefits of this are pretty much universal. Because everything is cloud-based, it gives you access to an endless suite of games, with the games you can play only really restricted to what developers choose to port onto the platform.
Six major publishers have already committed to bringing their biggest titles to the device, with Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Odyssey highlighted by Google as being readily available when the system launches.
The quality of gaming, Google says, will exceed that of most high-end PCs, and dwarf even that of an expensive console. A new GPU Google have developed with AMD for the server promises to deliver more than 10.7 teraflops of Graphics power, which is well beyond the GPU output of both the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro.
This means if you have a screen capable and internet connection capable of supporting it, you'll easily be able to play in 4K at 60fps, with surround sound and HDR. To cope with this, Google recommends a 35mbps internet hookup, which means a mid-range NBN plan could theoretically run it. If you have standard broadband, it should be able to run a 1080P gaming experience.
Access to games will be made available on a subscription basis, and users will have the option to either play the game through a dedicated portal on YouTube or Stadia's own platform. Google will also launch their own controller to go with the platform, however players can use whatever third-party controller they like to play.
So, how much is all of this going to cost? Google says that at its base level, Google stadia will set you back $9.99 USD, however the more in-demand games to launch on the platform will have to be purchased individually. In keeping with this, Google are launching a founding bundles, for $130 USD, which comes with a stadia controller (worth about $70), access to Destiny 2, and three months of access.
Games like Ubisoft‘s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Ghost Recon: Breakout will be available at launch.
Google's announcement could prove to be an absolute hammer blow for Apple and gaming graphics company Nvidia, who are both in the process of putting together their own cloud-based gaming services. It'll almost certainly also have the big console makers at Microsoft and Sony peering over their shoulders nervously. But will it deliver the power to kill off the console? Only time will tell.
Google Stadia will complete its rollout in 2020, with an initial launch planned for November this year.