Google Stadia: Practical Impressions with the New GDC 2019 Game Streaming Service

At the announcement of Stadia, the cloud platform that broadcasts games from a remote data center to almost all devices (laptops, phones, tablets, PCs, Macs, Chromebooks and TVs with Chromecast), Google has made waves at GDC 2019. All graphics processing is relegated to off-site hardware, meaning your local hardware is under-utilized; all you need is a strong internet connection. It's a technologically impressive concept that has materialized and we were one of the first to experience what it's like to play games on Stadia. Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Doom (2016) were playable in the GDC's show room and, although they ran and looked great, I could not help but notice a major gap .

Do not forget that my attendance time was at GDC's Google Stations, so your mileage may vary. In addition to the Internet connection, many variables come into play. These are early versions that can be played under unknown conditions. The response time of the display is another factor that we could not take into account during the practical demonstration. This is an important specification to take into account, especially for a similar experience to that of a PC – it was not professional-quality screens in demonstration stations.

The shift off was the worst offender of my time with Doom; it was easy to see by dragging the mouse to aim. The aiming reticle was trailing slightly behind the movements of my mouse, and for a game like Doom – a super-fast first-person shooter that relies on the accuracy of aiming – it can be a deal-breaker. Playing on a controller attenuated the emphasis on speed and accuracy and made the input delay factor a smaller factor, but that did not eliminate the problem. Another thing to note is that Google's staff told me that the particular Doom demo was running in a low-latency mode available on Stadia itself. From the point of view of fidelity, the game was running at a constant pace, using moderately high settings and adequate overall picture quality. artifact (or compression) did not affect the experience. However, it is a bit disappointing that the input lag can prevent this from being the perfect way to play a game as fast as Doom.

I've also had the opportunity to revisit Assassin's Creed Odyssey with Stadia. It was very similar to Google's initial beta for games in the cloud called Project Stream. Of course, Odyssey does not put as much emphasis on speed and accuracy as Doom. The experience has naturally been translated into the cloud-based platform. When watching some settings, the demo was running at 1080p, 60 FPS, with a bitrate of 20 Mbps. The game had a decent visual quality with some discernable artifacts, but we played close on big TVs, which is not a typical setup

At launch, it will be able to deliver a resolution of 4K and 60 FPS thanks to a brand new AMD graphics processor rated at 10.7 TFLOPs that powers the data center hardware – remember, the Xbox One X, the most powerful console currently date, has 6.0 TFLOPs. Stadia will come with a whole list of features in addition to the convenience of playing games on a powerful cloud-based platform.

Google will also be offering its own controller for Stadia, which has integrated Google Assistant, its voice-activated artificial intelligence technology. Developers will be able to incorporate this feature into their games. In addition, Stadia will stream to YouTube with many features that will change the way users can access multiplayer games (Crowd Play) and share specific gaming moments that other players can use. ;state).

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Google is not the only one to claim cloud games. Microsoft's xCloud project, which also streams games from data center hardware to devices over an Internet connection, will also be tested later this year. To learn more about the streaming landscape of games, be sure to read our brief summary of all the gaming companies that are investing in cloud games and their offerings.

If Google could improve some key aspects, namely the apparent issues related to lagging entry, Stadia would be a serious contender in the gaming landscape. Otherwise, the games that would work best on this new platform could be limited. Whatever the case may be, the accessibility offered by Google is unprecedented. Although cloud games are not new in themselves, the combination of accessibility and convenience could help this service get a foothold. We will all be able to see for ourselves the launch of Stadia in 2019.

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