Google has officially unveiled Google Stadia, a cloud streaming service that will bring better-than-console quality games to Chrome, Android and smart TVs, which is already being dubbed as 'Netflix for gaming'. The tech giant claims that the gaming platform's cloud computing power rivals that of a console with a performance rating of 10.7 GPU teraflops, more than PS4 Pro and Xbox One X combined.
Stadia will make games available which previously had to be downloaded or bought on discs and will allow users to use whatever digital screen of their choosing for gameplay, without the need for a lengthy download time or high-end hardware. Google will use its own servers to process the latest version of games in high resolution and stream it over to the user in as little as five seconds.
The launch was announced at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco where Google's newly hired head of gaming Phil Harrison explained that the tech giant wanted to "build a game platform for everyone". Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, added that Stadia would be powered by "the best of Google".
The games will be streamed in 4K resolution at a rate of 60 frames per second (fps), which is better than most consoles are able to provide. Google has said Stadia would eventually be able to achieve 8K resolution with a frame rate of 120fps.
Since the service can be used on any platform, there would be no need for customers to purchase a physical console, but Google did unveiled a Stadia controller which looks similar to a PlayStation or an Xbox controller.
The company hopes to leverage the success its subsidiary YouTube enjoys with gamers by bringing "those worlds closer together", according to Harrison. At GDC, Harrison demonstrated how, when viewing a video on YouTube, viewers could press a 'play on Stadia' button and within seconds be streaming the title.
"Using Google's vast experience, reach and decades of investment, we're making Stadia a powerful gaming platform for players, developers and YouTube content creators – of all sizes," said Google in a blog post announcing the release. "We're building a playground for every imagination."
The service is expected to be rolled out later this year and will initially cover the US, Canada and much of Europe including the UK. The cost and pricing structure of the Stadia service has not yet been revealed.