According to Google the future of gaming is not a box, but rather a place called Stadia. Billed as an all-new gaming platform for AAA video games across all screens in life, anywhere in life.
The official reveal trailer boosts the platform will support 4K HDR 60fps gaming. This feature will be dependent on the players bandwidth. And Google says they are even ready for what comes next.
One feature that stands out is the new way to play through YouTube. The idea is a player can go from watching a video to playing the game they were watching in mere seconds. Even more innovative experiences will come for select games.
Currently there is no timeline for the Stadia launch beyond sometime in 2019.
In addition to the platform comes the Stadia controller. The controller has a direct connection to the data center through Wi-Fi. There is a button for instant capture that saves and shares the gameplay in up to 4K resolution. And there is a Google Assistant button and built-in microphone. The first idea that comes to this writers mind is no more tabbing out to look up where that hidden object is, or where the next map object is located.
The hardware backing the Stadia platform is impressive to say the least. The custom AMD GPU’s feature 10.7 teraflops of power which is more than double that of the PS4 Pro (4.2 GPU teraflops) and slightly less than double the Xbox One X (6.0 GPU teraflops). Each server has a custom unspecified brand x86 processor at a hyperthreaded 2.7 GHz, 16GB of RAM up to 484GB/s transfer speed and L2+L3 cache of 9.5MB. In simple terms these machines are beastly. And even better Google claims the hardware can be “stacked” for more power.
Now it is not fair to compare these to consoles as they are clearly not consoles and have a much different design than the hybrid APU chips for both the PS4 and Xbox. The Stadia servers have a separate GPU and CPU. And it must be noted that today’s top PC gaming video cards can top 10.7 teraflops, but with all this, it is hard to not be impressed by what Google has presented.
Google briefly talked about future plans in today’s reveal that includes up to 8K at 120+ fps. With today’s top gaming PCs struggling to play the latest games at max settings in 4K the future of Stadia is looking very bright if they can pull this all off. One idea is tapping into multiple GPUs. Another idea is game developers can design their games to use distributed GPUs. Of course both these ideas are theoretical.
Most importantly, besides their servers be able to handle top games, Google also addressed the issue of lag and cloud based gaming services. Their plans are to setup Stadia servers at 7,500 different locations around the world.
The writing on the wall has been that cloud gaming is in the future and now the question is have we arrived and is the place Stadia?