Imagine a world where you don’t need powerful and expensive hardware to enjoy the latest AAA releases. A world where you just need to open a browser to start playing, without tedious and long downloads. All this can become a reality in the next six months or a year, if the cloud gaming service Stadia turns out to be as promised. This project was announced in March at the GDC 2019 game developers conference in San Francisco. Then, after 3 months of silence, Google gave a 15-minute presentation during the June E3 show, where Google VP Phil Harrison, who leads the Stadia development team, told us about the cost of a subscription to the new service and the connection speed requirements. Google promised that at launch, Stadia will be supported by desktops, Android TVs, laptops, tablets and smartphones – although in the latter case, we are talking only about Pixel line devices. On all compatible platforms, there will be no need to purchase any additional equipment, since data processing will be performed on remote servers, and a rendered image will come to you.
By the way, a few words about computing centers: according to the company, each user will have 10.7 teraflops at their disposal, which is more than the performance of PS4 Pro and Xbox One X combined. What is it? Google’s big leap towards the gaming industry, a kind of ‘Netflix for games’ that can compete on an equal footing with next generation consoles. When? Stadia will launch in select regions in November 2019, including Western and Northern Europe, the United States, Australia, South America and some Asian countries, while English, German, French and Japanese can be selected from the available languages. Russia is not included in the list of countries of the “first wave”.
Question price? $ 9.99 / £ 8.99 per month
How fast is the connection required? 35 Mbps for full 4K with HDR @ 60fps.
How Google Stadia works
Perhaps the best thing about this service is that you only need a fast Internet connection and the latest version of Google Chrome to use it. To start playing, you just need to open a new tab and go to the Stadia.com home page or search YouTube for a video about the game you are interested in. First of all, Google will check the connection speed, latency and data transfer loss between your computer and servers. For normal operation of the service in 720p, a minimum of 10 Mbps is required.
Last October, an unofficial beta test of a service called Project Stream was launched (of course, no one mentioned Stadia at that time, apparently, marketers decided to choose a more euphonious name for this project). With Project Stream, you could play Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey right in the browser tab, and in full screen mode the gameplay was indistinguishable from that on the console or PC, except for the lack of graphics quality settings. In Stadia, everything will be exactly the same – you press buttons, and the information about these clicks is sent to the server.
Speaking of buttons: Stadia will be compatible with both your old input devices and the official $ 89 controller that connects directly to the cloud, thereby reducing latency on low bandwidth; in addition, this accessory will be equipped with a special Google Assistant button that allows you to quickly call a virtual assistant, ready to tell one or another information about the game in which you are.
Stadia will also be compatible with the Google Chromecast Ultra USB Dongle, ready to turn any TV into a powerful gaming solution.
What games will be available on Stadia
The final list of titles for the long-awaited streaming service has not yet been formed, but according to preliminary information, the range at Stadia will be quite impressive. Apparently, Google has had to go to great lengths to lure as many publishers under its wing as the launch lineup is one of the richest in the history of the gaming industry. So far, Google has confirmed the presence of:
Assassin’s creed odyssey
Baldur’s gate 3
The crew 2
Dragon ball xenoverse
The Elder Scrolls Online
Farming Simulator 19
Final fantasy 15
Mortal kombat 11
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Shadow of the tomb raider
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint
Tom clancy’s the division 2
Tomb Raider Definitive Edition
When asked about paid games on the service, Phil Harrison told Eurogamer that even the need to pay for a high-speed internet plan and a Stadia subscription “cannot outweigh the value of being able to play on any device, anywhere. The vice president of Google also added: “In theory, the Stadia version of the game will be the most advanced in terms of game engine capabilities.”
It turns out that Stadia won’t work on all computers. Or not?
It would seem that due to the fact that all calculations take place in the cloud, nothing is needed from the client machine except the Chrome browser and a stable connection to the Network. However, during last year’s beta test, Google released a list of minimum specifications. For 1080p resolution and 60 fps, it looks like this:
Operating system: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (64-bit versions only)
Processor: AMD FX-8350 4.0 GHz, Ryzen 5 – 1400, Intel Core i7-3770 3.5 GHz
Video: AMD Radeon R9 290 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
Memory: 8GB RAM
Built-in memory: 46 GB free hard disk space
DirectX: DirectX June 2010 Redistributable
Audio: Sound card supporting DirectX 9.0c
Those who want to play in super-detailed 4K at 30 fps will have to prepare from 16 GB of RAM and a more powerful processor of the AMD Ryzen 1700x / intel Core i7 7700 level and an AMD Vega 64 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card.Yes, at first glance it all looks Sadly, these were requirements for Project Stream testers – according to third-party developers, Stadia will have a much more modest appetite. For example, Marty Stratton of id Software’s studio, responsible for the upcoming Doom Eternal, said that it took their team only a few weeks to port the new Doom to the Google platform, but even in such a short time they managed to get the game to work at 3840 x 2160 with HDR and 60 fps.
At the same time, the majority of users who have tried Project Stream note that despite the above hardware requirements, the service worked perfectly on both budget PCs and Chromebooks five years ago – so we can safely say that Google compiled this set of specifications with a significant margin for the future, or at that time the Good Corporation was not completely sure about the number and performance of servers for Stadia.
Will nextgen games run on mobile devices?
Yes! Of course, if your smartphone is not in the Pixel lineup, you have to wait a bit. Of course, on the one hand, this is not entirely true for owners of non-Pixel devices, but on the other hand, everything is quite obvious: it is easier and cheaper for Google to optimize software only for its own devices than for the entire fragmented Android market with hundreds of different models. Plus, it could spur sales of Pixel smartphones, the fourth generation of which will go on sale right before the launch of Stadia.
What happens if the connection is dropped?
According to representatives of Google, Stadia, in the event of an unexpected loss of connection, the image of the game will remain active on the server for several minutes, so if you immediately reconnect and restart the desired game, you will return to the place where you left off. If you hesitate and do not have time to open the game, Google will close your game and next time you will continue from the last checkpoint. It also says that if the signal gets worse, Stadia will automatically reduce the resolution and quality of the graphics to prevent disconnection.