During Google’s GDC 2019 keynote presentation, the company’s vice president and general manager Phil Harrison–a former Microsoft and Sony exec–announced Stadia, its new cloud-based streaming service that allows you to play games across most of your devices. At the end of his portion of the keynote, Harrison also mentioned that most games on Stadia would feature cross-platform support, which could come in multiple forms.
Cross-platform play specifically has been confirmed, allowing you to play with your friends regardless of whether you’re gaming on console, PC, tablet, or mobile device. Whether games will allow play between Stadia versions and those on other dedicated gaming platforms like PS4, Xbox One, and PC remains to be seen (and will likely vary by game), games running on Stadia should work regardless of what hardware you and other players are using.
Harrison also said that Stadia would support cloud saves for game state and save files, so specific titles will also have cross-platform progression. Again, it’s unclear if progression will be shared between Stadia and non-Stadia versions of games, but if you’re playing a Stadia game on multiple devices, your progress will move with you. So, if you were to play a multiplayer-focused game on your PC through Stadia, navigating over to your phone would bring all your unlocked items with you.
Google plans to use Stadia to bring together all aspects of gaming–whether you want to play, spectate, or develop–on to one platform. During the GDC keynote, for example, the company showcased how someone watching a trailer for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on Ubisoft’s YouTube channel can click a link at the end of the video which allows them to begin playing the game through streaming in just a few seconds.
Harrison promises Stadia will be supported across several platforms, including desktops, laptops, TVs, tablets, and phones. At launch, Stadia will support streams in 4K at 60 FPS with surround sound, and Google plans on upping that to 8K resolution in the future. You’ll be able to use existing controllers with Stadia, but Google also announced its own controller specifically built for the service. The controller features most button inputs seen on Xbox One and PS4’s respective controllers, but it will also include one that allows you to ask Google Assistant a question. Stadia is scheduled to launch in 2019.
For more information on cloud gaming, you can read up on how it works as well as which companies other than Google are investing in the technology behind it. We’re collecting all the Google gaming news announced at GDC today as well, including the reveal that Doom Eternal is coming to Stadia.