At Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2019, Google officially announced a new gaming platform. This time around, though, it’s not a console, or any hardware for that matter. Rather it’s Stadia, a platform based solely on Google’s servers and running through the cloud.
This is a major move for Google, jumping into the video-game business as well as the streaming media business, something many competitors are still working to perfect.
Up on cloud S
Google’s Stadia will be accessible over an internet connection on a variety of platforms — Chrome browsers, computers, TVs, and mobile devices. In an onstage demonstration of Stadia, Google showed someone playing Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on a Chromebook, picking up the game at the exact same spot on a Google Pixel, and immediately thereafter continuing on a PC. Each instance showed the player continuously playing the same game across the range of platforms — none of which have the hardware requirements to run Odyssey natively.
The cloud-based platform can be accessed directly from a YouTube video, should you like the title that someone happens to be streaming. Stadia can stream games in 60fps with HDR and a 4K resolution. Future updates will bring 8K and frame rates up to 120fps. Google showed AAA games like Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and id Software’s Doom Eternal running on Stadia.
You won’t need specific hardware — just a Stadia Controller. It looks similar to other well-known gaming controllers, with dual analog joysticks, four face buttons, and shoulder buttons. The controller will connect to Google servers via Wi-Fi, and allow players to easily access a game, share live streams on YouTube, and ask Google Assistant for help. Stadia will also be completely compatible with cross-platform gameplay, provided the title was designed with that in mind.
Will SA gamers have access?
The sad part? Stadia will not be available in South Africa at launch in 2019, mostly because the platform is powered by Google’s ‘worldwide’ data centers. During the reveal event, the company mentioned it’ll be using edge-node locations — which essentially piggy-back off other partnered networks and infrastructure.
So, we can’t say for certain if South Africans will have access to the Stadia platform… even if it’s a year after launch — as the system completely relies on Google’s servers and an internet connection. There are no minimum figures available but in order to run a game in 4K at 60fps, users will need at least a 25Mbps connection. Hopefully running a title in HD will require a connection more in reach of the average South African user. We’ll have to wait and see.
Source: The Verge