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Google Unveils Game Streaming Platform Called STADIA

Google unveiled a new gaming streaming service called Stadia on Tuesday morning, looking to shake up the video game world by leveraging its experience in cloud technology, and posing a new threat to fellow tech giants that operate the dominant gaming platforms.

The search giant’s announcement promises to accelerate the industry’s evolution away from high-end hardware in the living room and toward streaming technology in the cloud. The move will be closely watched by existing game platform providers such as Nintendo, Microsoft, Valve, Sony and Apple, some of whom are operating or planning their own streaming services.

Google is unveiling its plans this morning at GDC, the Game Developers Conference, starting at 10 a.m. Watch the live stream above and stay tuned for updates.

The company also unveiled a Stadia controller with a dedicated button for sharing and saving gameplay on YouTube, and another button to get help from Google Assistant, using a built-in microphone. The connection to Google’s dominant video platform illustrates the potential threat to Amazon’s Twitch.

The search giant previewed its gaming ambitions with Project Stream, a test that allowed gamers to play a streamed version of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in Chrome web browsers, with the game streamed from a Google data center rather than running on the user’s hardware.

“Internally, we were actually testing our ability to stream high fidelity graphics over a low latency network,” said Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, in his opening remarks at the event this morning. “We learned that we could bring a Triple-A game to any device with a Chrome browser and an Internet connection, using the best of Google to create a powerful game platform.”

Phil Harrison, the former Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation executive who now leads Google’s gaming initiatives, said the company was able to stream games at 1080p and 60 frames per second in that test.

“We will be handing that extraordinary power of the data center to you, the game developers.”

Previewing the features of the Stadia service, Harrison showed the ability to jump directly into a game from a YouTube trailer, without any download required.

“This new generation of gaming is not a box,” he said. “With Stadia, the data center is your platform. There is no console that limits the developer’s creative ideas, and no console that limits where gamers can play.”

Features include a capability called “Stream Connect,” unifying multiple streams for multiplayer and cooperative gaming. The service will work across PCs, TVs, tablets, smartphones and other devices, including the ability for cross-platform play.

As the operator of a large-scale cloud platform, Google is in a unique position to launch a streaming service. Kotaku reports, “It’s not a new technology, but past stabs at it have fizzled mostly because of latency issues, a problem that Google’s decision-makers think they can solve thanks to the data centers they’ve got all around the world.” source geekwire

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