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Google claims Stadia will be more responsive than physical hardware

Published: 12:50, 10 October 2019
picture showing gaming controller
Google Stadia controller

Google made quite the statement with Stadia, pitting a console-less console against the well-entrenched competition, but their claims may get them in trouble come benchmarking time as they claimed latency will be better than in hardware.

In an interview from the latest edition of Edge magazine, Google's vice president of engineering Madj Bakar said that the goal is to outpace the current hardware capabilities in only a couple of years, which sounds like quite a tall order. 

"Ultimately, we think in a year or two we'll have games that are running faster and feel more responsive in the cloud than they do locally, regardless of how powerful the local machine is", he said. 

Much like in local hardware, where seemingly negligible latencies of individual components add up to produce the latency worked around by developers, Stadia's connection quality constraints mean there will be a minimum latency bar. 

It doesn't take an expert to figure out that such latencies are highly unlikely to ever exceed the capabilities of local hardware, but Bakar said that it's not the telecom operators they're counting on, but rather in-house solutions. 

Namely, Google will use so-called negative latency, which relies on a buffer of predicted latency specific to Stadia and/or given user. In this window, Stadia will run lag mitigation, be it by increasing the FPS rapidly or other methods. 

Perhaps the most notable possibility in lag reduction, however, stems from Stadia's processing capabilities, which make user input prediction an actual thing. 

We're talking about Google's infrastructure, which can technically power through a bunch of calculations of different paths player may take. In theory, this would greatly decrease the perceived latency.

Google artwork showing stadia controller on abstract background Google Stadia

Of course, such methods are likely to take a while to perfect, which is why Google isn't making any promises for but instead saving them for a few years down the line. 

Google Stadia launches in one month's time, and we can't wait to see how the company fares when real-world tests are in.

Google chart showing required internet speed for google stadia Google Stadia - required internet speed

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