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Stadia is a cloud gaming service operated by Google, said to be capable of streaming video games up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second with support for high-dynamic-range, to players via the company's numerous data centers across the globe, provided they are using a sufficiently high-speed Internet connection. It will be accessible through desktop Google Chrome web browser, on smartphones, smart televisions and tablets, or through Chromecast.[2]

Stadia
Logo for Stadia
Wordmark for Stadia
DeveloperGoogle
Launch date
  • November 2019; 3 months' time (2019-11) (Founder's Edition)[1]
  • 2020 (Stadia Pro and Base)
Operating systemCross-platform
Websitestadia.com

The service is integrated with YouTube and its "state share" feature allows viewers of a Stadia stream to launch a game on the service on the same save state as the streamer. This has been used as a selling point for the service. It is compatible with HID class USB controllers, though a proprietary controller manufactured by Google with a direct Wi-Fi link to data centers will be available alongside the service. Stadia is not like Netflix, requiring users to purchase games to stream via Stadia rather than pay for access to a library of games. While the base service will be free, a Pro tier monthly subscription allows users to stream at higher rates for larger resolutions, and the offer to add free games to their library.

Known in development as Project Stream, the service was debuted through a closed beta running Assassin's Creed Odyssey in October 2018, with a public release planned in November 2019 in selected countries. It competes with Sony Interactive Entertainment's PlayStation Now service, Nvidia's GeForce Now, and Microsoft's Xbox Project xCloud.

Contents

FeaturesEdit

Stadia is a cloud gaming service,[3] and requires no additional computer hardware, only requiring the device to have an Internet connection and support for Google Chrome. Stadia works atop YouTube's functionality in streaming media to the user, as game streaming is seen as an extension of watching video game live streams, according to Google's Phil Harrison; the name "Stadia", plural of "stadium", is meant to reflect that it will be a collection of entertainment, which the viewer can choose to sit back and watch, or take an active part in.[4] As Google had built out a large number of data centers across the globe, the company believes that Stadia is in a better position for cloud gaming compared to past endeavours like OnLive, PlayStation Now, and Gaikai, as most players would be geographically close to a data center. Stadia supports the streaming of games in HDR at 60 frames per second with 4K resolution, and anticipates eventually reaching 120 frames per second at 8K resolution.[4] Players can start games without having to download new content to their personal device. Players can opt to record or stream their sessions onto YouTube through Stadia. Viewers of such streams can launch the games directly from the stream with the same save state that they were just watching.[4] While Stadia can use any HID-class USB controller, Google developed its own controller which connects via Wi-Fi directly to the Google data center in which the game is running, to reduce input latency.[4] During its GDC 2019 keynote reveal, Google confirmed that the controller would also feature Google Assistant, which will automatically search YouTube for relevant, helpful videos related to the game they are currently playing at the touch of a key.[5]

Stadia will offer two tiers of service, a free Base level and a monthly subscription Pro level. The Pro tier will be approximately US$10 per month, but allows users to access higher streaming rates, access a library of free games over time, and get discounts on other games offered for Stadia.[1] Harrison stated they are also looking into offering publisher subscriptions and other models in the future;[6] for example, Ubisoft announced its Uplay Plus subscription service will be available to Stadia users.

Internet speed requirementsEdit

Stadia will require at least 10 Mbit/s for 720p 60 FPS Stereo, 20 Mbit/s for 1080p HDR Video 60 FPS 5.1 Surround, and 35 Mbit/s for 4K HDR Video 60 FPS 5.1 Surround.[7][8]

HardwareEdit

Upon launch, Stadia's cloud hardware will initially use a custom Intel[9] x86 processor clocked at 2.7 GHz, with AVX2 and 9.5 megabytes of L2+L3 cache.[10] It will also use a custom AMD GPU with HBM2 memory, 56 compute units, and 10.7 teraFLOPS.[10] The service will also have solid-state drive storage, and 16GB of RAM (supporting up to 484GB/s bandwidth) shared between the GPU and the CPU.[10]

Google developed the controller for Stadia. The controller includes two thumbsticks, a directional pad, four main face buttons, two sets of shoulder buttons, and five additional controller face buttons. The controller has the capability of connection over a wireless network, rather than through the device that the user is playing on, as to reduce the latency of controller communication with Stadia services. The controller will be available in a variation of four colors at its launch.[1]

Stadia will be initially launched in November 2019 with a Founder's Pack, which includes a Chromecast Ultra, a Stadia controller, three months of Pro service, and an additional three months of pro service to gift to a friend. This will be sold at an MSRP of US$129.[1]

SoftwareEdit

Google Stadia is built on Linux servers and Vulkan is their graphics API.[11][12]

"This [Google Stadia] starts with our platform foundations of Linux and Vulkan and shows in our selection of GPUs that have open-source drivers and tools. We’re integrating LLVM and DirectX Shader Compiler to ensure you get great features and performance from our compilers and debuggers."[11]

— Dov Zimring, Stadia Developer Platform Lead

DevelopmentEdit

 
Google Stadia booth at the 2019 Game Developers Conference.

Project Stream was Google's first announced sign of interest in video gaming products. The company had previously been rumored as working on a service called Project Yeti since at least 2016. Google had also hired gaming industry executive Phil Harrison and was seen recruiting developers during industry events in 2018.[13] Project Stream's main differentiator from past services, such as OnLive, GeForce Now, and PlayStation Now, is its ability to run in any desktop Chrome browser, so no additional software need to be installed.[14] The service uses AMD Radeon graphics hardware.[15] Google announced the service in October 2018[16] and soon after, opened invitations to beta testers with access to Assassin's Creed Odyssey. Players could apply for access and those who met an Internet speed minimum could run the game in their Chrome browsers.[17] Those who participated received a free copy of the game when the beta expired.[18] Stadia was formally announced during Google's keynote address at the 2019 Game Developers Conference in March 2019.[19] To support Stadia, Google also announced the formation of Stadia Games and Entertainment, with Jade Raymond as its lead. Besides developing their own games, Stadia Games and Entertainment will help support the transition of third-party titles to the Stadia service.[20]

Stadia will launch in November 2019 in fourteen countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States, and at that time, limited to the Pro tier users. By 2020, Google plans to expand Stadia to more countries and bring free Base service online.

GamesEdit

Stadia will require users to purchase games to use over the service, though it does also plan to offer a library of free games over time for Pro tier subscribers, as well as offering the first two years of Destiny 2 content for free for those who purchased the Founder's Pack.[1] At the time of the platforms full reveal in June 2019, Google announced Gylt by Tequila Works and Get Packed by Moonshine Studios would be exclusive to Stadia.[21]

List of games on Stadia
Title Genre(s) Developer(s) Publisher(s) Release date[a]
Assassin's Creed Odyssey Action role-playing Ubisoft Quebec Ubisoft 5 October 2018
Marvel's Avengers Action-adventure Crystal Dynamics Square Enix 15 May 2020
Baldur's Gate III Action role-playing Larian Studios Wizards of the Coast TBA
Borderlands 3 First-person shooter Gearbox Software 2K Games 13 September 2019
The Crew 2 Racing Ivory Tower Ubisoft 29 June 2018
Cyberpunk 2077 Role-playing CD Projekt Red CD Projekt 16 April 2020
Darksiders Genesis Action role-playing Airship Syndicate THQ Nordic TBA
Destiny 2 First-person shooter Bungie Bungie 6 September 2017
Tom Clancy's The Division 2 Tactical shooter Massive Entertainment Ubisoft 15 March 2019
Doom First-person shooter id Software Bethesda Softworks 13 May 2016
Doom Eternal First-person shooter id Software Bethesda Softworks 22 November 2019
Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 Fighting Dimps Bandai Namco Entertainment 25 October 2016
The Elder Scrolls Online MMORPG ZeniMax Online Studios Bethesda Softworks 4 April 2014
Farming Simulator 19 Simulation Giants Software Focus Home Interactive 20 November 2018
Final Fantasy XV Action role-playing Square Enix Square Enix 29 November 2016
Football Manager 2020 Business simulation Sports Interactive Sega TBA
Get Packed TBA Moonshine Studios Coatsink TBA
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint Tactical shooter Ubisoft Paris Ubisoft 4 October 2019
Gods and Monsters[22] Action-adventure Ubisoft Quebec Ubisoft 25 February 2020
Grid Racing Codemasters Codemasters 11 October 2019
Gylt TBA Tequila Works TBA TBA
Just Dance 2020 Rhythm Ubisoft Paris Ubisoft 5 November 2019
Metro Exodus First-person shooter 4A Games Deep Silver 15 February 2019
Mortal Kombat 11 Fighting NetherRealm Studios Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment 23 April 2019
NBA 2K20 Sports Visual Concepts 2K Sports 6 September 2019
Orcs Must Die 3 Tower Defense Robot Entertainment Robot Entertainment TBA
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid Fighting nWay Games Lionsgate Games 26 March 2019
Rage 2 First-person shooter Avalanche Studios, id Software Bethesda Softworks 14 May 2019
Rise of the Tomb Raider Action-adventure Crystal Dynamics Square Enix 15 November 2015
Samurai Shodown Fighting SNK Athlon Games 25 June 2019
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Action-adventure Eidos Montréal Square Enix 14 September 2018
Thumper Rhythm Drool Drool 10 October 2016
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition Action-adventure Crystal Dynamics Square Enix 14 January 2014
Trials Rising Racing RedLynx, Ubisoft Kiev Ubisoft 26 February 2019
Untitled Q-Games game[23] TBA Q-Games TBA TBA
Watch Dogs: Legion[24] Action-adventure Ubisoft Toronto Ubisoft 6 March 2020
Wolfenstein: Youngblood[25] First-person shooter MachineGames, Arkane Studios Bethesda Softworks 26 July 2019
    Exclusive game for Stadia.

ReceptionEdit

Pre-releaseEdit

During its beta, the service received positive initial impressions from reviewers, who felt it exceeded expectations[17][16][14] and made game streaming appear as a viable alternative to PC gaming,[17][16] however some minor discrepancies and technical issues were nonetheless noted. Reviewers reported that the streaming service had low latency and felt as if the game was being played locally.[17][16] Despite this, depending on Wi-Fi speeds, the game sometimes compressed its screen resolution or lagged.[17] A test by The Verge found no lag issues over a wired ethernet connection, and occasional stuttering on a shared Wi-Fi connection.[17] However, even on a wired connection, the stream did not output at 4K resolution and occasionally went fuzzy with compression artifacting. The reviewer reported the best experience on Google's Chromebook Pixel.[17] Polygon found the service's audio compression noticeable.[16] Ars Technica remarked that Project Stream's login sequence was far simpler than that of other services.[14] Digital Foundry performed a hands-on with Assassin's Creed Odyssey on a Pixelbook on the service in Beta, and found that on the testing environment, latency seemed acceptable, but there was a noticeable visual hit. They also remarked that Assassin's Creed Odyssey was not the best example for testing, as it was already a natively laggy game.[26][b]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

Notes

  1. ^ Date of first completed public release, regardless of platform or region.
  2. ^ Assassin's Creed Odyssey was originally designed for gameplay at 30 frames per second.[original research?]

Citations

  1. ^ a b c d e Hollister, Sean (June 6, 2019). "Google's Stadia game service is officially coming November: Everything you need to know". The Verge. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  2. ^ "Stadia FAQ". Stadia Help. Google. June 20, 2019. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  3. ^ Techno, Highly. "Google's Stadia Gaming Platform". HighlyTechno. Shubham. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d Leadbetter, Richard (March 19, 2019). "The big interview: Phil Harrison and Majd Bakar on Google Stadia". Eurogamer. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  5. ^ Bowers, Quintlyn (March 19, 2019). "Stadia's Wi-Fi Controller Looks Familiar, But Features Google Assistant". GameSkinny. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  6. ^ Castle, Katherine (June 9, 2019). "Google Stadia's getting publisher subscriptions on top of Stadia Pro". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  7. ^ "Stadia Founder's Edition". Google Store. Archived from the original on June 26, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  8. ^ "Speedtest". Project Stream. Archived from the original on June 26, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  9. ^ Hruska, Joel (March 25, 2019). "Google Stadia is powered by Intel, not AMD". ExtremeTech. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c Lilly, Paul (March 19, 2019). "Google Stadia's specs and latency revealed". PC Gamer. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Welcome to Stadia". Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  12. ^ "Stadia Is Google's Cloud Gaming Service Using Linux, Vulkan & A Custom AMD GPU". phoronix.com. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  13. ^ Amadeo, Ron (October 1, 2018). "Google announces 'Project Stream'—a 'test' of game streaming in Chrome". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on December 25, 2018. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  14. ^ a b c Machkovech, Sam (October 9, 2018). "Google's Project Stream: That's really a full Assassin's Creed in my browser". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on October 11, 2018. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  15. ^ Takahashi, Dean (January 9, 2019). "Google's Project Stream cloud gaming will use AMD Radeon Graphics". VentureBeat. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  16. ^ a b c d e Goslin, Austen (October 8, 2018). "Streaming Assassin's Creed Odyssey in Google Chrome is surprisingly great". Polygon. Archived from the original on December 17, 2018. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g Etienne, Stefan (October 8, 2018). "Google's Project Stream is a working preview of the future of game streaming". The Verge. Archived from the original on December 26, 2018. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  18. ^ Good, Owen S. (December 15, 2018). "Get free Assassin's Creed Odyssey on PC for testing Google's Project Stream". Polygon. Archived from the original on December 23, 2018. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  19. ^ Wilde, Tyler (March 19, 2019). "Google announces Stadia, a game streaming service 'for everyone'". PC Gamer. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  20. ^ Chalk, Andy (March 19, 2019). "Jade Raymond is heading Google's first-party game studio". PC Gamer. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  21. ^ Warren, Tom (June 6, 2019). "Here are all the games coming to Google's Stadia cloud streaming service". The Verge. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  22. ^ @GoogleStadia (June 12, 2019). "#GodsandMonsters, the new adventure game from the creators of Assassin's Creed Odyssey, is coming to Stadia! #UbiE3" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. ^ Thier, David (March 20, 2019). "All 3 Games Confirmed For Google Stadia". Forbes. Archived from the original on March 21, 2019. Retrieved March 21, 2019. Assassin's Creed Odyssey was the test case for Project Stream, and people have already played a remote version of this game in a web browser. [...] Google confirmed that Dylan Cuthbert's Q-Games would be building a game around the "state share" feature that will allow you to instantly start playing a game at the same moment as a Youtube video or a live Youtube stream. [...] it's hired AAA gaming industry very Jade Raymond to head up a studio called Stadia Games and Entertainment.
  24. ^ Harrison, Phil [@MrPhilHarrison] (June 10, 2019). "Watchdogs Legion coming to #Stadia thanks to @Ubisoft in March 2020" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  25. ^ Techno, Highly. "Google's Stadia Gaming Platform". store.google.com. Mayur. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  26. ^ "Google Stadia hands-on: streaming analysis and controller impressions". Eurogamer. March 19, 2019. Retrieved March 24, 2019. Assassin's Creed Odyssey is perhaps not the best example for testing, as it's natively a fairly laggy game, so it will be interesting to test faster 60fps titles (...) Stadia is perfectly playable and presentable here, but it's clear that there is a noticeable visual hit when the encoder is presented with more a more detail-rich, fast-moving scene process.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit