As far as Google is concerned, "the future of gaming is not a box, it's a place," that place being the cloud. Google is of course talking about Stadia, its upcoming cloud gaming platform that it hopes will revolutionize the industry and, though Google has not come right out and said it plainly, render dedicated game consoles obsolete. There is a lot of distance to cover before Stadia gets to that point (if it ever does), and it will depend in large part on what games are available, how they are distributed (will users own or simply rent them?), and what the actual gameplay will be like.
Google is planning to answer some of those questions during its Stadia Connect event ahead of E3 in a couple of days. The event is scheduled to begin on June 6, 2019, at 9:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET). It appears as though this will be an annual event, as Google describes it as "our first ever Stadia Connect," which insinuates that there will be a second, third, and so forth.
"Stadia Connect is a series that gives you a look at Stadia news, events, new games, bonus features, and more," Google says.
We already know that Assassin's Creed: Odyssey and Doom Eternal will both be available on Stadia, as those games have already been demoed. However, there have not been any other specific game announcements. Stadia Connect promises to deliver "game reveals," along with pricing details, launch information, and more.
It's not clear if those promised launch details will include a launch date, though hopefully it will. We are also interested in learning the pricing structure. It's possible that Google could go the subscription route, with our without unlimited access to games, or sell titles that are playable through Stadia. There could also be a combination of both.
While there are many questions that need answering, we at least know a little bit about the hardware. Here is what Google has already revealed...
- Custom x86 processor running at 2.7GHz w/ Hyper Threading and AVX2 instructions
- Custom GPU built by AMD (56 Compute Units, HBM2 memory, 10.7 TFLOPS of power)
- 16GB of total RAM
- Up to 484 GB/s transfer speed
- 9.5MB of L2+L3 cache
Out of the gate, Google claims it will be possible to play games at up to a 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, which will require a 30Mbps or faster Internet connection for a lag-free experience. To play at 1080p, that requirement drops to 25Mbps.
Google will also offer its own Stadia Controller. It connects directly to the gaming session on Google's servers using Wi-Fi, though other controllers will be supported as well.
Stadia is an ambitious endeavor, even for Google, which has a massive pool of resources to make this work. It's not guaranteed, however, as we have seen several Google projects fail, most recently Google+ (on the consumer side). Stadia at least has a fair shot, though, depending on some of the details that will be revealed this week.
We will have complete coverage of the event, so be sure to check back. In addition, if you want to watch it live, you're in luck—Google will be livestreaming the event on YouTube.