Eli Ridder | Report
Google on Tuesday announced a video game streaming service called Stadia, its response to a $140 billion gaming industry dominated by Sony and Microsoft.
Stadia does not need a console. All of the work to render games is done in the cloud and will allow those interested to play them without waiting on long download times or purchase hardware such as a Playstation or Xbox.
“Our platform vision for Stadia is to reduce the friction between getting excited about a game and playing a game,” Google’s speaker said on stage at the 2019 Game Developers Conference — a much awaited announcement.
Google explained one scenario where if people were watching a video about a game on its video service YouTube, a digital button would allow them to quickly load and hop into the featured game.
The service will work on the Chrome browser on desktop, mobile and tablet operating systems as well as on TVs and Chromecast. Gamers can tap in with their keyboard and mouse or a Stadia controller sold by Google.
It is clear that a strong Internet connection will one of the only requirements.
The controller looks similar to those of other gaming companies such as Playstation and its Dualshock 4 for the PS4 and the controllers for the Microsoft Xbox One, who also profits off of PC gaming.
Stadia, however, includes the a Google Assistant button so users can access the voice assistant that runs on Android and Chrome products. The gaming platform will support 4K games at 60fps with HDR, and 8K in the future.
It will also change the way that gaming is captured. Users will be able to easily press the capture button found to the right of the Google Assistant icon on the controller and send their gameplay to YouTube.
In this, Google also challenges Twitch, which has risen up in recent years to be a dominant place for gamers to live stream and upload gaming.
Gamers can bring their own controllers via USB, Google said.
The biggest struggle for Google now will be to entice studios to build games for Stadia and bring triple A titles to the service. The gaming industry has been largely focused on Playstation, Xbox and PC for the last nearly 20 years.
While Stadia is new for now, Microsoft will soon be launching a streaming video game services. Analysts say that it is “better poised” to offer such a service as it has the ties to major studios and a large fan base.
Microsoft will call the service xCloud.
“I’d favor Microsoft’s chances given it too has the scale and technology but has been successfully engaged in the gaming industry via Windows and XBox for over 30 years,” Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy told CNBC.
Playstation has not announced a competing service at this time, but both it and Microsoft are reportedly planning to launch the next generation of gaming consoles in the form of “PS5” and “Xbox Two” by 2019 or 2020.
Image of Stadia from Google.