Google reveals Stadia, a new cloud gaming service

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As many expected and predicted, Google’s big GDC announcement was a brand-new streaming service called Stadia that will launch later this year.

The worst-kept secret in the gaming industry is a secret no more. Google wasted little time at their GDC presentation in revealing their new platform. Now known as Stadia, the new ambitious, cloud-gaming service is set for launch this year after a test period last October. The trailer shown at the conference can be seen below.

So Stadia is about what you’d expect from a cloud service. Google’s goal here is to give the power of gaming to everyone regardless of device specifications and beyond a console. Using their massive amount of data centers, games can be streamed in high fidelity to almost any Google-related device you own.

Whether it be the Chrome browser you’re likely reading this on, Android devices, Chromebooks and even Chromecasts for a living room experience. It also means no downloading, no installs and no patches with games loading in “as little as five seconds,” according to Google. Of course, this is all provided that you have a high-speed connection.

For this to work, Google’s bringing plenty of horsepower to Stadia. A single instance, for example, will include a custom CPU, 16 GB of RAM and a whopping 10.7-teraflop GPU (which more than doubles the PS4 Pro and rivals the Xbox One X.) There will also be support for 4K, 60 frames-per-second gameplay with the potential for 8K, 120 fps in the future.

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They also made it apparent that there would be no console or PC barrier to experience the platform. Controllers you already own will work with the service, but a new piece of hardware was also announced in the form of the Stadia Controller. The device will connect via Wi-Fi, include a Google Assistant and share buttons and come in white, black and light blue color variants. 

The upcoming DOOM Eternal was the first game confirmed for Stadia, and it’s likely that test game Assassin’s Creed Odyssey won’t be far behind. The platform will also have developer support for tools like Unreal Engine and Havok along with AMD and CryEngine listed in the same category.

Google also went over some Stadia features that will look to further bridge the gap between content creators and their audiences, such as the ability to click a link and be thrown into a queue to play with a streamer, for example. Cross-platform multiplayer and saves were also confirmed to be possible for developers.

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More information appears to be coming later this summer, and no pricing was announced for either Stadia, games or the new controller.