Google has officially announced a new gaming platform at GDC 2019 that looks to bring gamers, developers, and streamers together in one platform. It's called Stadia and it's designed to give gamers a seamless experience for jumping into a game no matter what device you want to play on. Built off tests from its not-so-secret Project Stream, Google is aiming to create top-end streaming experience for AAA gaming titles across PCs, tablets, smartphones, Chromecast Ultra or even just into a Chrome browser on your computer. We're talking being able to play games at up to 4K quality running at 60fps without needing a physical console or high-end gaming PC, and no downloads, updates, patches, or installs required.
"Our vision for Stadia is simple — one place for all the ways we play. It's focused on gamers, inspired by gamers and amplified by YouTube creators" said Google VP Phil Harrison.
Along with announcing the new platform, Google announced partnerships with some developers, including ID Games who showed off Doom: Eternal which will be available to stream through Stadia at top specs all through the cloud. They also used Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed: Odyssey as an example of how Stadia can connect games to other , Google showcased how a "play now" buttons could be imbedded into a YouTube video that can let any gamer jump into the full game in five seconds.
Google has developed Stadia to use Linux operating system and open graphics API Vulkan, and has partnered with Unreal and Unity to provide full support for the two most popular game development platforms, so Stadia as much a community and platform for game developers as it is for gamers. Stadia will also support cross-platform multiplayer play along with transferring game saves across multiple platforms as well.
One of the cooler developer tools shown off was Style Transfer ML, which lets game developers use machine learning technology to apply different art styles in real time, letting developers completely change the the graphical look and feel of their game in an instant. It's not clear how this will be implemented by game developers but it's some downright cool tech that would make for some pretty incredible artistic game mods if nothing else. Check out Stadia.dev for more developer-specific information about the platform
Beyond gamers and game developers, Stadia is also designed to help YouTube creators connect and engage with audiences using features like Crowd Play which lets the audience jump right into the game with their favorite streamers, and State Share which lets streamers create in-game challenges for viewers eager to jump into the game. Along with the ability to share content on YouTube and social media with a single click, this could be a total game changer for the entire gaming industry — although time will tell. Stadia will launch first in the US, Canada, UK, and Europe sometime later in 2019.
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