The Future is Now: Google Announces Stadia at GDC 2019

Imagine a world where you can jump into a game by clicking a button on a trailer you watched on YouTube. Now, imagine that you can continue the same game on your phone or low spec PC right from where you left off. Finally, imagine you can just join other players’ games right from their stream. That’s the vision Google has for the future of gaming and they’re bringing it to us this year.

Google’s newly announced platform is called Stadia and it aims to completely transform the way games are played, spectated, and developed all in one fell swoop. Leveraging its powerful data centers, Google has created a game streaming network that will allow anyone to play any game at 4k resolution and 60 fps on any device. In Google’s eyes, the future of gaming isn’t in a box but a grand unified platform that will bring players and developers closer than ever before.

Several AAA games were showcased throughout the keynote, including Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Google is partnering with Ubisoft to bring more high-end titles to the platform, as well as a wide array of development engines to help create more experiences that leverage Stadia’s capabilities.

Google also unveiled the Stadia controller with its own unique features built especially for the new platform. The controller connects through WiFi and communicates directly with Google’s servers which hopefully will mean less input lag. Furthermore, the controller has two additional buttons. One is for Google Assistant which can immediately provide players with guides and videos right where they are in their own game. The other is for sharing and streaming directly to YouTube which has its own set of new tricks.

Streamers can allow viewers to join in their game right from YouTube, which Google also playfully explained could be leveraged by developers as a way to enable online lobbies. On top of that, players can use Share State to share exact game states with others, including game elements like health bars and remaining ammo, which adds a whole new way to exchange gaming experiences.

From the developers’ side, Google has several options for building and developing games for Stadia. Companies can acquire their own individual hardware for desktop use, add Stadia modules to their existing cloud system or even connect directly to Google’s cloud to work on games.

It’s clear that Google is aiming to disrupt the industry in a way that up until now has only been seen as a pipe dream. But it’s all real and it’s slated for release this year, in 2019. It’s a lot to take in so be sure to check out the full keynote. For more on Stadia and Google’s foray into gaming, be sure to stay tuned here on The Digital Fix.

Yannis Vatis

Updated: Mar 19, 2019

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