During this year‘s Game Developers Conference (GDC), the tech giant Google announced a potentially revolutionary way of playing video games called Google Stadia – a cloud-based platform that will allow users to play games directly from the cloud.
The company‘s goal is to radically change the way games are developed, bought, shared, and played, and to bring an end to the hassle of deciding which console to buy on the basis of a list of available and upcoming games.
If successful, the new platform will enable its users to click on any link (including YouTube links) and start playing a video game within about 5 seconds using any desired settings, including the highest of resolutions (including 4K and subsequent standards).
Gaming will be available on laptops, desktops, tablets, TVs, and smarthphones regardless of their hardware capabilities, as available games will run on Google‘s own hardware (offering up to 10 teraflop GPU‘s), also allowing users to jump between devices without losing progress in the game.
The platform is also set to come with an optional – as-yet-unnamed, Wi-Fi-connected – controller which, apart from the standard-fare directional and gamey buttons, will have a special button for streaming and another one for activating in-game hints prepared by developers themselves.
Speaking of streaming, Stadia will be able to support as many as several thousand users in multiplayer mode, which is a massive increase compared to the current limit of less than 100.
During the short-and-sweet presentation (clocking in at almost exactly an hour), Google‘s representatives did not tease any new games, but did mentioned that Stadia‘s development kit has already been sent to hundreds of developers, and the company is currently negotiating with many other industry participants.
When asked about payment options, Google refused to give any clear answers, but considering the nature of the platform, it is likely to be some mix of subscription and pay-to-play, dependent on the specific game.
The company‘s ambition, undoubdetly to require massive investment in both infrastructure and content, is undeniable and has already caused much enthusiasm in the gaming industry, which has been running somewhat stale in recent years.
More information on the platform should drop at this year‘s E3.