Stadia: the future of gaming?

Google unveiled its new game streaming service: Stadia.

Stadia, which tagline is "gather around", recognized that there are two "disconnected universes": streamers -people who play games for their audience- and viewers, that maybe cannot play the same games or just enjoy looking someone else's performances.

The company tries to combine both worlds by creating a game streaming service that is also integrated in Youtube.

Interesting parts

Other websites already covered the conference: I will write down something I found interesting or exciting.

You can access the platform by just pressing a "Play" button at the end of a videogame Youtube video - if you're using Google Chrome, obviously.

AMD designed a custom GPU, just for Stadia. Judging by its 10.7 teraflops, it is more powerful than the GPUs on current gen consoles. Developers can also use more than one GPU in their games, to make the games even more detailed in a transparent way for the user.

Stadia promises an "up to 4k 60fps" experience for the player, and all plays will be streamed on Youtube. The special "share" button on the custom controller should let creators (or random players) share their play and create a "state share" link, to let other people play the same portion of the creator's gameplay. Creators can also use Crowd Play to let their Youtube viewers join their games and better interact with them.

Every game on Stadia will be playable with existing controllers and every device that the user already owns -they will just interact with a streaming, so they won't need a powerful device to use the service.

This new platform now explains two major features of Google products I never really understood: Youtube's videogame channels (containers that automatically gather and categorize videos about specific games - see Sekiro's automatically generated channel as an example) and the WebUSB standard, that is only implemented by Chrome.

What's missing?

Stadia is not the first game streaming service in the market, and won't be the last. Hopefully it won't fail as hard as OnLive, but there are several issues that should be resolved, or mitigated, before the launch (in US, UK, Canada and most of Europe).

Let's start with the one I find more pressing: PS Now launched a week ago in Italy, with varying results. Dadobax (an Italian videogame youtuber) experienced a very important input lag while testing Bloodborne on a 100Mbps fiber connection. Will Stadia suffer the same problem? During the presentation, the Stadia representative said there will be a direct link between the ISP and the Stadia data centers, but I won't believe that everything works fine until I can try it. Other commenters note that, even if there will be no input lag, there is a risk of seeing video artifacts due to video streaming compression algorithms.

Another issue is the access to the service: We don't know how much it will cost, and which titles will be there. At least we know that Doom Eternal, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, NBA 2K19 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be playable on the platform. We don't know if users must buy titles on the Stadia Store even if they bought it on other stores - such as Odyssey's UPlay store-.

I'm also worried that Youtube is going to fill with a lot of digital waste: no one is interested in my gameplays (I have to admit I'm bad at videogames), so that footage won't be ever seen, but will still take some space on a random hard drive in the cloud. I hope the service won't store every gameplay ever played on Stadia.

Did you like the conference? Are you hyped? Are you critical? Let me know on Twitter !