Look out, PlayStation, XBox and Nintendo. At the big Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Google announced that some time this year it will launch its own gaming platform, called Stadia, that can be used seamlessly and interchangeably on laptops, desktops, tablet and TV via Chromecast.
It won’t need a special console player like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo game systems do, though Google also introduced a controller that has some extras players might want.
And when it launches, it will support 4K, 60-frame-per-second video performance — and later, even 8K.
Near the end of its presentation, Google dropped this nugget: It’s moving into the business of producing games, with an offshoot called Stadia Games and Entertainment.
But one big undisclosed detail could tell a lot: How much will Stadia cost? Google did not immediately respond to a Marketing Daily inquiry.
Phil Harrison, Google vice president and general manager, said Stadia will launch first in the U.S., U.K., Canada and parts of Europe. Though he gave no more exact timetable, he mentioned a later update this summer when Google would be able to announce more details.
As Harrison pointed out in his portion of the presentation, there are two billion game players, making it the “single biggest form of entertainment on the planet.”
It’s just not the number of players that fascinates Google, but the worldwide fan base. Ryan Wyatt, global head of gaming partnerships at Google and head of gaming at YouTube, said 200 million watch gamers play on YouTube every day. Altogether, he said, they watched an astonishing 50 billion hours of of gaming content on YouTube in 2018 alone.
A procession of Google executives appeared on stage, some to give technical data and others detailing information about how game makers, players and fans would see a superior product.
Google’s cloud capacity and worldwide network, executives said, will let Stadia
become a new entry point for game developers, just as YouTube created a legion of videographers and personalities. The company also promises its technology will make Stadia twice as fast as
PlayStation 4 and XBox One combined.
And players can join in as easily as clicking on a game, which can be on the screen in five seconds, without a patch, with no
download and no updating.
Google CEO Sundar Pinchai told the crowd of developers that Google had been working on what’s been called “Project Stream” for
the last two years. “We wanted a game platform for everyone. And we mean everyone.”
And that could change everything.
If Stadia does all that executives said it can do — from making access to games easier and creating a pipeline for new game-makers to get into the business, to creating a new graphics template that makes those designs easier — it seemingly would be on its way to redefining what is now a $180 billion game business.