google stadia
google stadia

Google made an announcement to let the world know that they are getting into game streaming. Does this surprise you though? On one hand, I’m really starting to see more companies offering these kinds of services in addition to the work that we all know and love them for. But on the other hand, does game streaming make sense as a next step for Google? Let’s explore these ideas. Known as Stadia, the intent is to make digital, on-demand video games reliable and viable. Stadia will be available this year in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe. Essentially this streaming service is a “Netflix for games”, and will allow folks to play any game on any connected device.

So that’s an interesting concept and one that I’ve talked about before. How do we eliminate the “platform” aspect, and make it about the content? In this case, the platform is the gaming system (Xbox, PlayStation etc.). What’s interesting about this particular announcement, is that Google is one of the players into the idea of “open source”, but it’s other companies like Apple, for example, who tend to operate within their own ecosystem. Is the Apple model a bad one?

More specifically, with Stadia, you could play Devil May Cry 5 on your iPhone, or Apex Legends on your smart TV. Stadia will be able to stream games in 4K, 60FPS and HDR color at launch, but eventually it’ll support up to 8K. But really the driver behind Stadia is to allow developers to sell their games in new ways – including directly through YouTube and Twitch live streams. For example, you could watch a trailer for any game, and at the end of the trailer, you will see a “Play” button. If you click the “Play” button you will load the game and be able to play it within your Chrome browser. It’s that simple! Another neat feature about this is that it allows people to jump into a live stream, if they’re watching a game being played on YouTube.

The question I asked earlier is whether or not this is a good next step for Google? Well, they certainly think so and have been preparing for their launch into video games for years by hiring a handful of high-profile executives. Of those hires include former Sony studios and Xbox head Phil Harrison and Assassin’s Creed visionary Jade Raymond. In fact, Raymond has become the head of Stadia Games and Entertainment, which is setting them up for success.

As I said, this doesn’t seem all that surprising, because of the growing number of tech companies that are getting into the streaming business. In fact, Microsoft is thinking about things in this direction. They already have their Xbox Game Pass subscription service, but they’re reportedly also building a streaming-focused console. Or what about PlayStation Now? The difference between Google and Microsoft or Sony is that Google has an advantage. More specifically, they have an extremely robust cloud network that includes more than 7,500 nodes positioned around the world. This kind of network is bringing folks like Unreal and Unity, or Doom to partner with Google on Stadia. All in all, this could be a really great service for the gaming industry.

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