A lack of real gaming options is easily among the most common complaints to circulate around Google's Chrome OS but it now seems as if the solution to that has been incoming for years, arriving today under Google's Stadia branding. The new streaming service, built on Linux, Vulkan, and Google's Cloud platform, will not only work on Chromecast and in the Chrome browser — as well as any number of other gadgets such as smart TVs and more moving forward. It will also play nicely with Chromebooks once it launches.
Summarily, that means Chrome OS users will be able to link up their dedicated Wi-Fi Stadia controller or their PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo controller and play some of the best console and PC games around.
Get your triple-A game on … sort of
Google's Chrome OS, and by extension Chromebooks, are already capable of accomplishing quite a lot of tasks. That includes everything from work-related document editing, gaming via Android Apps, photo editing, and more. They can even be used to write programs themselves if a powerful enough machine is used and the user has the requisite knowledge to step through the workarounds associated with that.
One of the chief sticking points holding the OS back, consequently, has been its almost complete lack of gaming capabilities and compatibility. That all changes with the introduction of Google Stadia. To begin with, the need for traditional overpowered hardware is basically tossed out the window.
A custom-built cloud of servers will take care of the heavy lifting with Stadia, operating at 10.7 teraflops and offering streamed content at as much as 60 frames-per-second. The resolution will initially be limited to 4K with plans to support 8K later on but for a still-undisclosed sum of money, users will be able to play the latest top PC or console titles over the web.
With a strong network connection, the Stadia experience should be seamless and that's made all the better by Stadia's ability to jump from hardware platform to platform mid-game.
None of that is to say there aren't relatively big caveats though and one of those is going to be the extremely limited number of titles currently known to be available at launch. Although a small launch library is not unheard of — and is generally even expected — Stadia will launch with only two, as of this writing.
The first of those will be an older but still popular title developed by Ubisoft; Assassin's Creed: Oddysey. The second is the brand new Bethesda game Doom Eternal. While each of those games will undoubtedly be stunning in its own right, if played on a good network with a decent screen, the problem remains that there are only two launch titles expected for Stadia.
With any luck, Google's new dedicated Stadia gaming studio will help to offset that imbalance.
You can't please everybody all the time
The launch of Stadia may also bring about yet another complaint that's already commonly put forward with regard to Chrome OS itself. Namely, despite that Chromebooks are essentially designed for use in conjunction with a good internet connection and Google's efforts to make the gadgets less reliant on that, the internet requirement for gaming will likely be a sticking point for some.
Finding a solid enough internet connection to allow top-tier streamed games is not always going to be easy and there's no guarantee a wide assortment of games to start. So, at least in the beginning, Google Stadia may not solve Chrome OS's dedicated gaming problem. Regardless, the platform does show that Google is ready to take an enormous step in that direction, which should bode well for the company's alternative laptop OS when it launches later this year.