Google has often given talks at the Game Developers Conference, but this year it sent out invites making it clear it had bigger plans in mind. At its special presentation today, the company outlined its plans for a video game streaming service called Stadia, offering games on demand. Stadia is planned for launch this year.
The platform aims to bring together playing, spectating, and developing games onto a single platform. As an example, you could view Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on YouTube and then begin playing it through streaming in “as little as five seconds.”
Google VP Phil Harrison promised the technology will work across desktops, laptops, TV, tablets, and phones. In a demonstration, the same demo was seen working across a Chromebook, smartphone, tablet, and TV, through a Chromecast Ultra HDMI streamer. At launch it will stream in 4K at 60 FPS with surround sound, and in the future Google is planning to support 8K resolution. Harrison also promised that it will embrace cross-platform play.
You’ll be able to use existing controllers on laptops and PCs, and Google will offer its own Stadia controller. The Google Stadia controller links to whichever device you’re playing on, and it sports a dedicated Google Assistant button.
Google also announced it has partnered with Unreal and Unity for development, along with middleware developers like Havok. Developers can create avenues for players to share moments with “State Share,” letting other players like friends or stream viewers pick up right where you left off. Another feature, Crowd Play, will let players watching streams join a queue to jump into the games themselves.
Id Software’s Marty Stratton took the stage to announce that Doom Eternal will be coming to Stadia. Google also announced its starting its own studio called Stadia Games and Entertainment, to be headed up by former Ubisoft and EA studio head Jade Raymond, which will create exclusives for the platform.
Google first hinted at an interest in game streaming last year, when it partnered with Ubisoft for Project Stream. The service allowed testers to play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to completion through its Chrome browser. Since then the rumors of “Project Yeti” only intensified.
For more on cloud gaming, check out how cloud gaming works and the companies investing heavily in cloud technologies. Or check out all of the Google gaming news from today’s event.
This story is developing.