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Massive New Google Gaming Platform Revealed That Takes On Sony & Microsoft

Google has finally revealed a brand-new gaming platform called Stadia and observers are “impressed” the service could make services from Sony and Microsoft obsolete, the bad news is that Australia is not among the launch Countries at this stage.

The service lets users stream top titles ‘on any device’ eliminating the need to own an Xbox Nintendo or Playstation controller.

The platform also operates entirely in the cloud and lets users ‘instantly’ stream games without having to download, subscribers also get instant upgrades.

For Australian users it’s not known which carriers will be able to deliver the service or how much bandwidth is needed to deliver the service that supports4K resolution with HDR colour at 60 frames per second and could soon support up to 8K resolution at up to 120-plus frames per second.

ChannelNews understands that Samsung and LG have already been shown the platform and that their new 8K TV’s could by the end of the year deliver access to the new platform.

The service is slated to launch later this year in the U.S., U.K. Canada and with more details about available game titles expected to come in the next few months.

Users can play games with their existing laptops, desktops, TVs, tablets or phones, as well as their own keyboard and mouse.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed Stadia at the annual Game Developer Conference in San Francisco overnight.

Set to be hit by the new service are consumer electronics retailers such as EB Games and mass retailers such as JB Hi Fi who currently sell DVD games for consoles.

The search giant also rolled out its first Google-branded Stadia game controller, which is integrated with its AI-powered Google Assistant and is capable of calling up games with a simple command.

The unlock key to the new platform is Google’s Chrome browser which has been reengineered to let users play high-quality games in Google Chrome.

The service is slated to launch later this year, with game titles expected to be announced by at least September.

Pricing for the new service has not been announced nor has Google said whether some of the games will be free.

Stadia started life as ‘Project Stream’ which was an initiative developed in 2017 that let users play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in Google Chrome with their own PlayStation or Xbox controller.

Similarly, Stadia allows users to play high-quality games that are streamed from Google’s cloud.

If users see their favourite YouTuber streaming a game, they can click the ‘play now’ button’ and, within seconds, it will boot up right on their screen.

‘To build Stadia, we’ve thought deeply about what it means to be a gamer and worked to converge two distinct worlds: people who play video games and people who love watching them,’ Phil Harrison, vice president and general manager of Stadia, explained in a blog post.

ChannelNews has been told that both Apple and Amazon are working on a similar platform with Apple believed to have held discussions with games developers.

The service was created with gamers, developers and even YouTubers in mind, according to Google executives.

‘We wanted to build a game platform for everyone,’ Pichai told the audience at GDC.

‘…We want sharing games to be as easy as sharing a link and clicking on it.’

Google has already announced partnerships with id Software for ‘Doom Eternal’ and Ubisoft’s ‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey but very few other developers with the big reveal in San Francisco designed to lure developers to the platform and the global audience that Google is able to deliver.

It’s also not been revealed how Google will deliver advertising and marketing services around the games platform.

Phil Harrison, a former Sony and Microsoft executive, debuted Stadia on stage at the Game Developer Conference he told the audience that the new platform delivers a multiplayer experience and allows for a split-screen play without sacrificing performance quality. He said “it’ doesn’t limit you to half/half splits or even four quarters”.

‘We can keep going, we can keep adding scenes and shape how they’re shown to the player,’ said Erin Hoffman-John during the Google Developer Conference.

Google says this will revive a multiplayer experience that has been lost as games become more demanding.

‘When modern games start to push the boundaries of current hardware, rendering two or more scenes simultaneously becomes too resource intensive, and so split-screen couch co-op has been fading,’ Hoffman-John said.

‘But when all of your clients are in the cloud, couch multiplayer has new life again.’

The wireless controller connects to Stadia through Wi-Fi and has a capture button that lets users share their games instantly to YouTube so others can tune in.

There’s also a Google Assistant button that enables voice-activated controls for in-game features.

Users can press the Assistant button if they’re stuck in a game and it will show overlay a YouTube tutorial on the game screen.

Stadia is built atop Google’s data network, which consists of fibre optic links and subsea cables.

The firm says it has 7,500 edge note locations around the globe, making its data centres closer to players and allowing for low-latency network connectivity.

Low-latency networks are crucial for online gameplay, as it prevents glitches and delays in content playback.

That’s infrastructure that ‘no one else has’ and makes Stadia the ‘most powerful gaming platform’ available, said Majd Bakar, head of engineering at Stadia, on stage at GDC.

Google says this will revive a multiplayer experience that has been lost as games become more demanding.

‘When modern games start to push the boundaries of current hardware, rendering two or more scenes simultaneously becomes too resource intensive, and so split-screen couch co-op has been fading,’ Hoffman-John said.

‘But when all of your clients are in the cloud, couch multiplayer has new life again.’

Another feature, called State Share, enables users to capture a moment from the game and send it to a friend, just like they would share a link.

When someone clicks the link, they’re transported to that exact moment in the game, where they can pick up right where it left off, with the player inventory and other factors perfectly preserved as well.

The firm also partnered with chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices to equip its cloud servers with high-speed processors.

Each Stadia server will be powered by a custom GPU running at 2.7 gigahertz and contains 16gb of RAM.

The GPU is capable of delivering 10.7 teraflops of power, which Google was quick to declare outpaces its rivals.

By comparison, the PS4 Pro delivers 4.2 teraflops of performance, while the Xbox One X provides 6 teraflops of power.

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