Google revealed its gaming streaming service called Stadia for Android smartphones, tablets, computers, and TVs yesterday during the Game Developers Conference (GDC) and Eurogamer's Richard Leadbetter recently sat down with the company's VPs Phil Harrison and Majd Bakar to uncover more details about the search giant's latest venture.
Talking about YouTube integration, Harrison said that Google's gaming service engages deeply with the YouTube technology so that people cannot only participate in games but also sit back and enjoy watching other people play. Essentially, this would allow Google to maintain its stronghold on gaming videos in the long run. The first generation platform will support hardware with up to 4K, 60fps and HDR with surround sound and it will be scaled according to infrastructure that consumers have. Meanwhile, a stream would simultaneously be sent to YouTube. However, it would be up to the players whether they want their gaming session to be logged or not. If a gamer decides to stream his game, it would give other players the opportunity to join that game.
Moving on, Google also explained how the Stadia controller would work with Chromecast when playing games on TV. The controller would connect to the game instance and handle the input, while Chromecast will take care of video, audio, and networking. Also, any USB controller which support the HID standard can be used to play games on the computer. However, Google says its Stadia controller with built-in WiFi will allow it to directly connect to the data center and this will give users more flexibility. The controller will also have a microphone and the Google Assistant technology will also be embedded into it. This will allow users to set up multiplayer games quickly.
For now, Google says that for smart TVs, it's only focusing on Chromecast but from a technical viewpoint, Stadia can work wherever YouTube works. However, the details are a little murky right now and at launch, devices with Chromecast built-in might not support Stadia.
All you need to play games on Stadia is your Google account and at least a 15Mbps internet connection and you are good to go. No matter which device you decide to play games on, Google says it will take less than five seconds to load and your gaming experience will not be constrained by your hardware. Unfortunately for gamers, it would not be possible to transfer games from other platforms to Stadia, which means you will have to buy all your titles anew, even if you own them on other services.
The cloud will be doing all the heavy lifting which means that when playing games on your phone, you would essentially be playing a video which means even heavy games will not take a toll on the battery. While on the topic of smartphones, it's also worth mentioning that Stadia could remain Pixel exclusive for some time.
Google plans to launch Stadia this year in the U.S., Canada, UK, and Western Europe and the pricing details will be revealed in summer. Additionally, Google has also announced that it's starting its own gaming studio, called Stadia Games and Entertainment. Needless to say, the search giant seems pretty serious about its gaming ambitions and seems prepared to take rivals head-on.