Google’s Stadia game-streaming platform kills huge downloads

Onstage at GDC, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the company’s latest big initiative, taking on the entire gaming industry with a live-streaming service called Stadia.

The service will let gamers leave their hefty GPUs and expensive systems behind. Pichai says that the service can be used on devices with a chrome browser and an internet connection. To Google that means Stadia will launch on desktops, laptops, TVs, tablets and phones.

Google working on new gaming efforts here isn’t exactly a surprise. Last fall, the company launched a pilot program of sorts with Project Stream, allowing gamers to stream gameplay of Assassins Creed Odyssey in their internet browser at 1080p in 60fps.

At launch Stadia will support 4K at 60fps with surround sound and HDR. They say they are also working on 8K 120fps support in “the future.”

The company will work across platforms so you won’t just be competing with other Stadia users.

Google is an underdog here, though the company obviously has a massive mobile gaming platform with Android, when it comes to desktop gaming, the tech giant doesn’t have a ton of background aside from their sporadic efforts on PC virtual reality. One would imagine that Microsoft or Valve are the best positioned here, but Google has some pretty heavy mindshare with YouTube Gaming and some pretty heavy infrastructure with Google Cloud.

Viewers will be able to move from YouTube directly into gameplay without any downloads. Google says this can be done in as little as 5 seconds.

Google certainly has ample reason to want gamers to move away from Windows PCs to systems with more lightweight onboard compute. The idea of running something heavier than minesweeper-equivalents on a Chromebook can be pretty powerful.

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