You can seamlessly shift your current gaming experience from a TV to smartphone to a laptop or any other supported device. In fact, streaming can take place on Chromecast and Pixel devices along with the Chrome browser. Gamers will be able to purchase games straight from a YouTube or Twitch live stream (i.e. you could watch a trailer or live stream for a game like Apex Legends, and then click the “Play” button to hop into the action within seconds).
There’s even a Crowd Play feature that will allow anyone watching a YouTube livestream, for example, to press a button and instantly join in the match. This is all wild stuff and we can’t wait to try out in person.
Alongside this game streaming service, Google is also launching the Stadia Controller. The controller connects directly to your current gaming session on Google’s servers via Wi-Fi and controls action on the screen. It features all of the usual buttons and triggers that you’d expect from a modern game controller along two additions: a Google Assistant button and a button to begin instantly streaming your gameplay to YouTube (with a separate 4K60 stream). You can also use a USB game controller if you prefer.
Google is using its global network of servers to empower Stadia (there are currently more than 7,500 Stadia nodes), ensuing that you’re connected to the closest server for lower latencies. Speaking of the servers, Google announced a partnership with AMD, with the latter providing custom GPU hardware for the former’s data centers. According to Google, each Stadia instance provides 10.7 TFLOPs of compute performance compared to 4.2 TFLOPs and 6 TFLOPs for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One X respectively.
While the current service enables gaming at 4K resolution at 60fps in HDR; Google says it scale to 8K at 120fps in the future. At the moment, Google has announced partnerships with some of the top game engines, including Unity and Unreal, along with collaborations with developer id Software. However, Google will have its own game studio – Stadia Games and Entertainment – which will produce exclusive titles.
According to Google, Stadia will launch sometime this year in the United States, Canada, UK and across Europe.