Cloud Gaming Ramping Up with Google Stadia and Wide-Reaching, Multi-Market Impact

1Q 2019 | IN-5444
Google announced its cloud gaming platform, Stadia, at the 2019 Game Developers Conference (GDC). Building off its Project Stream trial in October 2018 (in which Assassin’s Creed Odyssey from Ubisoft ran on Google’s platform at 1080p and 60fps), Google will launch its service in 2019, initially to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other European markets. Stadia will naturally run on Google Cloud and is powered by GPUs from AMD (AMD’s stock, not surprisingly, received a boost due to the news). The platform will enable up to 4K gaming with HDR at 60 fps, a substantial upgrade from the Project Stream trial and over current generation consoles—Stadia supports up to 10.7 teraflops of processing power, compared to 6 teraflops in the Xbox One X and 4.2 teraflops in the PS4 Pro. Other data center PC specs include custom x86 CPUs, at 2.7 GHz and 16 GB of RAM, running on Linux. Stadia will also benefit from elastic compute power within the cloud (e.g., stacking additional hardware for things like physics calculations, split screen, etc.) and will reportedly allow games to start within five seconds. Google also announced a Stadia controller (using Wi-Fi) that includes a button to access Google Assistant (e.g., if a gamer gets stuck in a particular place within the game, Google Assistant can show video walkthroughs from YouTube) and sharing features (to share in-game achievements to social networks and video).

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