At 12 pm Central Time, Google took the stage at GDC, and announced that they would be entering the video game business with Stadia. Stadia is not a console, but a streaming platform that will allow anyone with a screen and a stable internet connection to play the latest games instantly, anyplace, anywhere, anytime.
With this announcement, Google also announced their own Stadia controller, but said that any controller can used to play games on Stadia, as long as they’re able to connect it to the screen they want to play on.
The word “screen” is important here, as Stadia can be run on basically anything that connects to the internet. Google demonstrated Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey running in real time on a laptop, Pixel 3 XL, desktop computer, and a tablet. As long as the internet is stable, games can be played on just about everything.
Stadia will also come with YouTube/Streaming integration. If your favorite streamer or let’s player is playing a game you want to play, then all you have to do is click a button, and the game will boot up instantly. This also people to not only play and try out the same games their favorite content creators are playing, but also be able to go directly to same point in the game. Google also said that you could even jump into the same save file that your favorite content creator is using, and pay from that point on. If you want to play with your favorite streamer in a multiplayer game, then you can use the “Crowd Play” function. This will put you into the exact same multiplayer match as your favorite streamer. This can also be used to instantly join family and friends in whatever game they happen to be playing.
Stadia will also support cross-platform play, or at least will give developers the option to have it. Everything from save files, content, progress, etc. will be available with cross-platform play. Play a game on a console or PC, then pick up exactly where you left off on your phone, laptop, or tablet. Google did not, however, mention if you had to buy the game multiple times or not in order to use this functionality.
As for specs, Google revealed that Stadia’s custom servers would have a 10.7 GPU Teraflops, 16GB of ram, up to 484GB/s transfer speed, 2.7 GHz CPU, AVX 2, HBM2 Memory, and a custom x86 Processor. If these specs are true, that would make a single server more powerful than any console on the market. Even the Xbox One X only has 6 GPU Teraflops. The server will be Linux based, and the GPU is being custom made by AMD. Stadia is also capable of using multiple servers at a time for a single game. This means that developers will be able to push games harder than they ever were before in order to achieve higher graphic fidelity. Stadia servers will be able to play games at resolutions up to 4K at 60 frames per second at launch, with 8K resolution and 120 frames per second coming sometime later.
As for games, Google announced that both Ubisoft and Id Software (presumably Bethesda as well) would be developing games for Stadia, as well as Tequila Works, the developers behind RiME Outside of tech demos, the only full game shown at the press event was Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, though Id Software did announce that Doom Eternal would be coming to Stadia when it launched, but only showed a private demo later in the day. Beisdes 3rd party developers, Google announced that Stadia would have it’s own development team that would create exclusives for this service.
Google failed to give any specifics on pricing. Still unknown what the exact price model will be both for the service itself, and the Stadia controller. At this time, we don’t know if Stadia will be a subscription service with access to a library of games or whether it’s a based on an individual game basis. It’s also unknown what type of internet speeds a person will need in order to get the best of a Stadia, but it’s safe to assume that it will be high.
Stadia will launch sometime in 2019.