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Business Watch - March 21, 2019

Google unveils Cloud Gaming Service Stadia

Speaking at the Game Developers Conference, Google CEO Sundar Pichai introduced Stadia, a gaming platform that aims to combine the experience of playing, watching and building games.

Google Stadia Head of Engineering Majd Baker, speaking to developers, said “the vision is that the processing resources will scale up to match your imagination.”

Google engineers built Stadia on the same data center network it uses to power search. The network consists of fiber-optic links and subsea cables between hundreds of points of presence and more than 7,500 edge node locations worldwide, Baker explained.

Testing the technology privately within Google for years, Baker said in the initial public test with Project Stream the company delivers up to 1080P, 60 frames per second with stereo audio. When Stadia launches, it will support resolution up to 4K at 60 frames per second with HDR and surround sound. The goal is to stream at 8K resolution.

Developers have been limited by the hardware, Baker said. The data center is now the platform. Google worked with AMD to create a chip designed with 10.7 teraflops of power versus 6.0 teraflops for Xbox One X from Microsoft.

Marty Stratton, an executive producer at id Software, joined Baker on stage to say the company has been working with Google to get its games such as Doom Eternal to work on Stadia in 4K resolution.

Google’s promise to accelerate the industry evolution into gaming from the cloud makes gaming faster. Games such as “Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey” can load within five seconds and will play on a smartphone or a PC with little power.

And while Google’s gaming ambitions turned to capitalizing on its computing expertise in the cloud, company executives made no mention of how Stadia would accommodate advertising in games.

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