In its presentation from GDC 2019 this afternoon, Google announced Google Stadia: It’s not a console but a platform that will run even the most graphics-intense PC games from Google’s data center to an existing device without much lag time. And yes, the company is plainly competing directly with existing platforms. It will indeed launch this year, though the company didn’t discuss expected fees.
The idea is to “reduce the friction” of gaming by allowing people to play pretty much any game on any device, from phones to browser – in fact, developers showed the easy movement from Android phone to crappy PC to high-end TV, allowing gamers to begin playing almost immediately with “no download, no patch, no update, and no install.”
There’s also a new controller to go along with it, the Stadia Controller, though it’ll be an optional device.
Prior to the event, rumors were flying about a tool that’d allow gamers to, for example, jump into a game with their favorite streamers or pick up where they left off. That tool is a reality, and it’s called Crowdplay.
Stadia will further allow players to use Google Assistant to pull up video walkthroughs for tricky parts of games on the fly.
And finally, Google’s announced Stadia Games and Entertainment, headed up by Jade Raymond. Raymond says she’ll be leading first-party developers as well as partnering with third-party studios on the tech integration.