Google has entered the gaming market with an announcement at GDC for its Stadia service, which is promising to be the Netflix of video games and will allow players to stream the most hardware intensive games on the market to any device... or so it claims. Google promised a lot in its Stadia announcement, but it remains to be seen whether its claims will hold up to scrutiny.
The Google Stadia service is promising to allow games such as Assassin's Creed Odyssey to run on the weakest devices, as its data centers will be doing all of the work that would normally be done by hardware. The Stadia service will also allow players to instantly switch the device they are playing on, as well as offer new and exciting ways to interact with YouTube.
It was during the initial announcement for the Stadia that Majd Bakar, the head of engineering for the service, made a bold claim about the power that the Stadia offered. Bakar stated that each Stadia server will be capable of 10.7 GPU teraflops of performance, which is more than what the PlayStation Pro and Xbox One X are capable of combined, as the Pro can only manage 4.2 and the X can only manage 6.0.
Google offered up some impressive numbers during the Stadia press conference, but there are downsides to relying solely on the Internet for gaming, such as an outage preventing you from being able to play games. The kind of Internet connection that is available to consumers will vary greatly across the world, which means that the Stadia service may not be as functional in every city or country.
These numbers are also only impressive in comparison to the last generation of consoles, as the PlayStation 5 and the successor to the Xbox One have yet to be revealed and it's likely that their hardware specs will be updated. There are also some high-end PCs with more impressive specifications than what Stadia is offering and they don't rely on Internet access in order to work.
If Google is able to follow up on the promises it made during the Stadia announcement, then it may have redefined the world of gaming as we know it. However, the important word there is "if," as it remains to be seen whether the Stadia service will be as impressive in practice as it is on paper.
Google Stadia is due to launch later this year.