Google has unveiled Stadia, a streaming games service that will launch later this year in select countries including the UK, US, Canada and much of Europe.
The Netflix-like service will deliver instant access to games on mobile, tablet, laptop and TVs, at resolutions of up to 4K and 60 frames per second with HDR (High Dynamic Range) and surround sound. To avoid problems with lag that have plagued other attempts to stream games, Google’s Stadia controller will connect gamers directly to Google’s network of data centres. The controller also includes a button for instant capture, saving and sharing gameplay in up to 4k resolution. It is also equipped with a Google Assistant button and built-in microphone.
Stadia will also tap into Google’s other properties, most notably YouTube. “In a world where there are more than 200m people watching game-related content daily on YouTube, Stadia makes many of those games playable with the press of a button,” wrote Phil Harrison, vice president and GM, Google Stadia in a blog post. “If you watch one of your favorite creators playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, simply click the “play now” button. Seconds later, you’ll be running around ancient Greece in your own game/on your own adventure – no downloads, no updates, no patches and no installs.”
Google has not announced details of prices or of the games available via Stadia, but both are likely to cause major disruption to the major console makers such as Microsoft and Sony, especially as Google is promoting the platform with the tagline: "The future of gaming is not a box".