March 21, 2019 go down in history. At GDC 2019, Google unveiled its vision for the future of the entertainment industry. His name is Stadia. According to the internet giant, the future lies in streaming. Although he was not the first to think about it. Stadia is designed for gamers from a variety of environments. The cloud-based service works seamlessly with Chromecast Ultra, Chrome Browser, desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones . In addition, it allows you to quickly switch to another device, so you can enjoy the game anywhere, as long as there is an appropriate internet connection there. The new gaming platform is based on Linux and uses Vulkan technology . Stadia will also support the most popular game development engines, including Unreal and Unity . The service is cloud-based, so all the workload required to provide users with the appropriate gaming experience will be shifted to the remote computer. This way of operation means that it does not matter what device the player uses. Only sufficiently fast internet is important. Google says platform users will have access to the power of a custom AMD x86 2.7 GHz processor , 16 GB of RAM with transmission speeds up to 484 GB / sand a graphics processor with a capacity of 10.7 teraflops .
The first steps
Many have tried. Take Gaikai, for example. At GDC 2009, David Perry stated that the future is cloud computing, and the physical distribution of content will die faster than we think. The prediction has not come true to this day. Despite all the assurances that the Internet is already sufficiently developed, the platform did not “take off”: not every developer / publisher was ready to give their brainchild to the cloud, and the delay, even with a good connection quality, left much to be desired. The comfort and simplicity of playing on PC and consoles was beyond the reach of the cloud. However, Gaikai did not disappear into oblivion, but was bought out by Sony and became the basis for PlayStation Now, which continues to this day. Unfortunately, not in Russia.
David Parry is the person in charge of Earthworm Jim, Matrix: Path of Neo and the first working cloud gaming service
But let’s go back to the past. In 2009, along with Gaikai, OnLive was announced at the same GDC. In addition to the service itself, the developers also offered a miniature set-top box, thanks to which, in principle, there was no need for a PC. The platform’s fate is similar to that of Gaikai – it was bought by Sony. But if the latter was reborn in Playstation Now, then OnLive just quietly closed. Looking ahead, I note that some of her ideas have returned to Stadia: picture-in-picture mode or recordings of interesting moments, which can be immediately published. And that’s not to mention smaller contenders, for example, the domestic Playkey. Although here, of course, there is no talk of any revolutionary technologies and worldwide coverage – the scale is not the same. The original vision is offered by the Israeli Playcast, which uses cable TV networks for data transmission. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find any information about her, except that she is alive. At the beginning of the decade, it was OnLive and Gaikai that pushed cloud gaming solutions forward. It was a bumpy road on which pretty promises ran into technical constraints and end-user connectivity. However, the first services did the main thing – they showed that such a thing is generally possible. You just need to wait for the development of the World Wide Web and the larger player.
The future is coming
A bison of the scale of Google has taken up the topic for the first time. And it is thanks to the enormous resources and technical infrastructure that spans the whole world that Stadia can get what its predecessors did not. Thousands of data centers with millions of servers – if Google can’t make cloud gaming a reality, then who? But if she can, then it will certainly change our understanding of how we consume games. First of all, of course, the delivery time of the product to you and me will be further reduced. Modern projects take up a lot of space on the hard disk – you are no longer surprised at the size of fifty gigabytes. You can’t fit your entire library on your drive, but while you download the desired game, it will take several hours. And even if you bought a disc, you can’t get away from the first day patches, which are also by no means small. Stadia solves both problems: saw the game – clicked “Play” – and go. The user always has access to the most current version, there would be an internet connection.
But Google wants to go beyond quick access to the game. First of all, incredible opportunities open up in terms of multiplayer. The cloud is a place where hundreds and thousands of people come together. Agree, an interesting thought for a royal battle. On a scale map of some large MMORPG and with thousands of users, you can arrange unforgettable battles. Now such a scale can only be provided by EVE Online, but the colossal battles of thousands of ships there, due to the high computing load, turn almost into turn-based battles. MAG was an ambitious PS3 shooter that brought together an incredible 128 players in one arena. Stadia could increase this number by an order of magnitude. Therefore, for each user of Stadia on the “other side”, at least one machine with a computing capacity of more than 10 teraflops will be allocated – one and a half times more powerful than the Xbox One X. It is “at least” – for processing complex visual scenes or imitating an advanced physical model. turn on additional stations. Google promises that the technical specifications of custom systems will no longer be a barrier to developers. Stadia pays a lot of attention to creators – both games and related content. One of the tools allows, for example, to apply the selected art style to the created geometry with a couple of clicks . Artificial intelligence based on machine learning will immediately decorate your world based on the uploaded picture. Magic! Amazing opportunities await those who like to stream the game. Stadia will allow you to transfer control to one of the spectators at the touch of a button, connect him to your game or share a “cast” of a game moment, which other users can not just watch, but launch and go through on their own. There are a lot of such “ors”.