Not content to dominate our email and search world, Google has entered the online gaming market with the launching of Google Stadia (‘stadia’ is the plural of ‘stadium’, so basically Google Stadium, only many of them), and the Google Stadia Controller device. (You can also read the full text of the Google Stadia announcement – link below.)
In many ways this makes sense. Google has one of the largest, if not the largest, content delivery networks (CDN) in the world. By aiming at the online, streaming game market, Google can not only leverage that dominance, but also leverage their relationships with the gaming industry – in particular game makers – and with content creators, such as those who are creating content on YouTube (yeah, that’s a spoiler).
Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced Google Stadia and the Google Stadia gaming controller this week at the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. Calling the development and testing of Google Stadia “the worst kept secret in the industry”, Pichai explained that “internally we were actually testing our ability to stream high fidelity graphics over a low latency network. We learned that we could bring a triple-A (AAA) game to any device with the Chrome browser and an Internet connection, using the best of Google to create a powerful game platform,” adding that “And when we say “best of Google” it always starts with our cloud and networking infrastructure, our custom server hardware, and data centers that can bring more computing power to more people on planet Earth than anyone else today.”
At its core, Google Stadia is a way for users to access and stream online Triple A (AAA) video games directly from YouTube and Google Play, as well as via the Chrome browser, Chromebooks, and Chromecast. Said Pichai, to the game developers at GDC, “With Google your games will be immediately discoverable by over 2 billion people on the Chrome browser, Chromebooks, and Chromecast pixel devices, and we have plans to support more browsers and platforms over time. That’s in addition to all the people playing and watching games across YouTube and Google Play.”
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In other words, a whole lot of gamers immediately, and even more in the future.
In addition to being able to access and stream the games via Google Stadia, Pichai announced the Google Stadia Controller device, noting that the Stadia Controller had not yet been approved by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and that, in accordance with Federal law, the Stadia Controller would not be available for sale until the FCC had approved it.
Now, here’s where the marriage of gaming and content creation happens: the idea is that you will be on YouTube, watching a video about a game, or watching others playing the game, and instantly be able to hit a “Play Now” button, which will take you to the game so that you can play it.
Explained Phil Harrison, VP and General Manager of Google, who followed Pichai onstage, “[W]e finally get to share Google’s vision for the future of games, where the worlds of watching and playing games converge into a new generation game platform purpose-built for the 21st century. Powered by the best of Google, our vision for Stadia is simple: one place for all the ways we play. It’s focused on gamers, inspired by developers, and amplified by YouTube creators.”
Harrison went on to say that “There is a universe of people who love playing games, and there’s a universe of people who love watching games – hundreds of millions of people watch gaming content every single day on YouTube – but those two worlds are mostly disconnected, fragmented and often independent of each other. Our vision is to bring those worlds closer together to connect game developers with players and YouTube creators in a way that only Google can.”
While you can’t yet purchase the Google Stadia Controller, you can get information about Google Stadia here, and you can watch the whole hour-long announcement of Google Stadia here. You can also read the entire Google Stadia announcement from Sundar Pichai, et al, here.
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