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Google unveils Stadia, next-gen game-streaming platform

Published: 19:44, 19 March 2019
Logo for Google's game-streaming platform Stadia
Google Stadia

In their keynote address on this year's Game Developers Conference, Google unveiled their game-streaming platform called Stadia, which is still said to pack a bigger punch than Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro consoles put together.

Mind you, Google Stadia has no hardware as it's not a box, but rather a service that offers quick and hassle-free access to game-streaming, while Google's data centres do the heavy lifting. 

The data centres, however, pack the sort of punch that actually outdoes PS4 Pro and Xbox One's power combined. Stadia is powered by a custom AMD GPU that packs 10.7 teraflops of raw computing power in 56 compute units and sports HBM2 memory.

The CPU behind Stadia is a custom x86 processor at 2.7 GHz with hyperthreading and AVX 2, while the 16GB of memory offers up to 484GB/s transfer speeds and L2+L3 cache of 9.5MB.

Stadia will launch offering 4K and 60 FPS, although that is likely to depend on your connection, with the ultimate plan being as high as 8K, as Google is in no doubt that reaching 8K is inevitable.

Google claim that what they're after is a scalable architecture that will put unprecedented power at your fingertips, whether you're a player or a developer. Stadia's design means that resources will scale up to match the needs of developers, rather than the other way around.

Stadia is based Linux and open graphics API Vulcan, and Google are already announcing full support from Unreal Engine 4 and Unity, two currently leading game development engines around.

Assassin's Creed: Odyssey and Doom Eternal will run on Stadia at 4K and 60 FPS and Google said Stadia will have more than 7,500 edge node locations at launch, although we suspect this number will be going upwards pretty quickly.

Google Stadia's controller connects via WiFi directly to the data-centres, which helps eliminate any unnecessary latency.

The added convenience of Google Stadia is the cross-platform concept it brings, along with unprecedented ease of sharing video content, as there's a separate 4K stream that's intended just for those purposes.

Bethesda Screen capture from gameplay video of DOOM Eternal DOOM Eternal

Google Stadia is currently available in select countries in Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe, so don't be surprised if your country isn't on the list, as we suspect this too will change pretty soon, especially if the service ends up as popular as Google hope it will.

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