Google is partnering with Ubisoft to bring a new video game streaming service to Chrome browsers, and testers will get to play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for free.
Streaming video is easy; most developed nations have broadband internet connections that are more than capable of downloading 1080p video feeds on the fly. Most people don’t mind if there’s a few seconds of buffering at the start, but those same people will flip their lids if they have to wait a few seconds midway through for the stream to reconnect.
Neither of those possibilities is acceptable when it comes to a game. Which makes one wonder if Google has maybe bit off a little more than they can chew.
The tech giant calls their latest foray into the gaming world “Project Stream”, and its aim is quite simple: allow someone to play a blockbuster game on the Chrome web browser without them ever downloading the game in the first place. The player inputs their commands, sends them to a central server running the game, and then the server spits back a video feed so fast that the player can’t even tell they’re not running the game on their home machine.
Why is this so difficult? Because streaming video doesn’t need a particularly fast internet connection, just one with a lot of bandwidth. Online gamers are all aware of the concept of “ping” that determines how long it takes for info from your machine to reach the server and then back again. This determines how quickly you as a player can take action in a game. A low ping is necessary for any kind of online gaming, but not necessary to watch a video.
There have been previous game-streaming services, but they all eventually failed. They just couldn’t provide the lighting-quick ping necessary for gamers to not feel like they’re always a half second behind the action.
But Google is the undisputed king of the internet. If anyone can do it, it’s them.
Now the deets: testing of Project Stream begins October 5th with gamers gaining access to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey as the test game. The number of participants is limited, and you must be in the United States to become a participant.
Google’s test footage gives you a good idea of the experience you’re in for. It does seem to play at 1080p and 60 fps, but it should become obvious to anyone who’s seen the Odyssey trailers that the textures and graphics seem a little basic in comparison to the console versions. And there’s definitely no option to play at 4K. So if you want the full visual experience, you’re still better off buying the game yourself when it releases on October 5th.