Google’s Stadia looks like an early beta of the future of gaming

"The future of the game is not a box," according to Google, "it's the place." Just as human beings have created stadiums for sports for hundreds of years, I believe it is building a properly named virtual stadium called Stadia. No expensive gaming PCs or dedicated gaming consoles are required. Instead, you'll need to access the Google Chrome browser to play games right on your phone, tablet, PC, or TV. It's a bold vision of where the game is headed. We hope to achieve reality through the Stadia cloud streaming service.

Google may have announced the future of the game at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), but it is a future we know little about the company.

googles stadia looks like an early beta of the future of gaming

Google's Stadia controller
Vjeran Pavic / Photos of The Verge

Google's Stadia cloud streaming service is at the core of YouTube and Chrome. We use YouTube to rely heavily on the popularity of game clips and creators streaming games regularly to millions of people through services like Twitch. Communities and games such as Fortnite have turned into virtual places where children are chatting, playing and watching flags. It is also a big business. Fortnite earned about $ 2.4 billion last year, and one of the most popular flags earns more than $ 500,000 a month.

The Stadia premise is that you can see the clip in the game and start at the same point as the clip you were playing or watching right away. Streamers can create lobbies for fans to join YouTube and play games, and Stadia supports instant clipping of video services. This game console runs in the cloud and is built for the YouTube generation, and here's Google's big momentum.

Chrome plays a big role as Google's dominant web browser. Stadia is only available on Chrome, Chromecast, and Android devices. Google will provide more browsers in the future, but it's not clear when. Google has demonstrated its services only on its own devices and there is no mention of iOS support through dedicated apps or Apple 's Safari mobile browser.

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Google's Project Stream Test

Google has some important hurdles to overcome if you want. Still dominate the next generation of games. The biggest of them is getting the game on the platform. Google showed a new title called Doom Eternal that runs on Stadia and has already committed to have a developer kit in over 100 game studios. Google has released its own Stadia Games and Entertainment studio to produce Stadia exclusive titles, but we have not mentioned any details about the game production.

Google is using Linux as the operating system for the server's hardware. side. In other words, game developers must port their games to Stadia and can not import games they already have, like other cloud gaming services (GeForce Now or Shadow in Nvidia). Google is also partnering with middleware companies like Unreal and Unity, and even Havok, but it's a bit difficult for developers to add games to Stadia. We need to convince large publishers to sign up, but we have not detailed the cost of developing, publishing and running games on Stadia.

We do not know how much the service pays to consumers or when it will be released. It will arrive in any form only in 2019. Will it be subscription-based? Can I own a game in the cloud? These are important questions Google needs to answer, and I passed by yesterday to promise more details in the summer. It felt like Google was in a hurry to pass the GDC deadline to benefit court developers. It seems that only Google could show a few games yesterday.

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Google data center inside.

Economy Google has stealthily avoided major problems related to Internet connectivity, the existing game streaming service. Google uses its own compression technology to stream 1080p or 4K games into the game and reduce game latency by installing the game client and server on the same computer. Still, Stadia requires a stable and active Internet connection, and Google recommends a "about 25Mbps" connection at 1080p resolution at 60fps.

Philipp Harrison in an interview with Kotaku said that "[W] e could reach 4K That is, if you have a fixed broadband connection in the US, currently about 96 Mbps is enough, but you live in a country where no broadband service is available, or if you depend on rural Internet speeds, the Federal Communications Commission The Federal Communications Commission will be waiting to increase the speed of broadband broadband in rural areas is 25 Mbps in standard. You will need a connection without using a broadband cap. If you need to play a lot of games, you will soon have a data limit. We do not yet know the exact bit rate of Stadia, but about 3 GB per hour is used to watch regular HD Netflix streams, which doubles the 4K stream.

Speed ​​does not address latency aspects. This is the core of all game streaming services. Services such as Netflix can download and buffer fixed content that is streaming, but game services capture the movement of controllers and relay them back and forth between playing servers and users in real time. In other words, the closer to the server you are playing, the better the hops through your internet traffic.

Google is an ideal experience if you are not near a metro with Google's data center, which is beneficial because of the cloud infrastructure. Google handles this by connecting the Stadia controller directly to a server running over Wi-Fi, but it does not control how thousands of ISPs and traffic are routed to the data center.

Google's Stadia service is completely cloud-based, so it will not play offline. You can usually sync some Netflix shows with your phone or tablet because you know you have a good LTE connection, but you need a constant connection to Stadia to play games on the go. 5G is certainly helpful, but only partially.

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Google's servers are more powerful than Xbox One X.
Photos from James Bareham / The Verge

Google powered the server with a custom AMD GPU that can power the PS4 Pro 4.2 teraflops and the Xbox One X's 6 teraflops of power, 10.7 teraflops This graphics performance is impressive but not very relevant. The end result of actual gameplay is entirely dependent on the Internet connection to Stadia.

Google compresses images from the server to the client, causing poor image quality. If you do not know the exact bit rate you will use for Stadia, but you've seen the 4K version of Netflix Show, you can see that the image quality is not as good as the Blu-ray copy. The same is true for Stadia, and it depends on your Internet connection and the device you use to access Stadia. The smaller the screen, the less noticeable the quality degradation, and the higher the Internet bandwidth, the higher the bit rate and the better the image quality.

Change game titles to titles. Google did not show enough game variants to actually provide an understanding of how well Stadia would perform. Eurogamer's Digital Foundry was able to test Stadia, but instead of a demanding title like a first person shooter requiring fast player response time or fast response time Assassin's Creed Odyssey An action game in which artifacts move much more clearly

All of this makes Stadia an early beta version to be part of the game's future. We have hired many industry talents for our ambitious projects. Phil Harrison, former Sony and Microsoft executive officer, is head of Stadia and Jade Raymond, who worked at Sony, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft, He is leading the game. Greg Canessa, creator of Xbox Live Arcade, is working with Stadia and former Xbox game partners Nate Ahearn. All of this experience will help Google in the cloud game.

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Sony is already running PlayStation Now.
Image: Sony

Sony already streaming PlayStation games to the console and PC via the PlayStation Now service. Sony has taken over the game streaming service Gaikai to convert to PlayStation Now and has even taken over rival OnLive. Microsoft is planning to stream xCloud games recently, and it is expected that the pilot service will start this year.

Sony and Microsoft's approach is not cloud-based, like Google, and port their games or rebuild for cloud-streaming services. Both companies are using console hardware on their server blades. Sony and Microsoft are benefiting because developers can provide a large library of games without having to change anything. Google's ambitious efforts will require developers to overburden. However, Google has the long-term advantage of being able to easily replace hardware in the future and implement changes that do not affect legacy console hardware.

Amazon seems to be a big contender in competition with Google, and NVIDIA also streams games. Even Valve extends the Steam Link game streaming capability to stream Steam games from your PC via the Steam Link hardware or the Steam Link app.

Sony, Microsoft, Amazon and Google are key. Player of all cloud game war. Sony has games and PlayStation, and Microsoft can use the Azure data center and Xbox Game Pass for xCloud. Amazon can tempt gamers with cloud domination, Prime and popular Twitch services. Google is fiercely competing, but the cloud gaming war has just begun.

March 21, 2019 10:00 AM Eastern Time : This article was originally published on March 20, 2019 and has been updated to include videos.

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