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On March 19th 2019, Google unveiled its new game streaming service “Google Stadia” at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.  

The new service offers users the ability to stream modern games at 4K resolution, 60 frames per second with HDR and surround sound to google platforms such as the chrome browser or via chromecast.

This means that users can theoretically play modern triple-A titles anywhere in the world as long as they have a good enough internet connection, without any traditional gaming hardware. Games can even be streamed and played at very high settings on a smartphone, because the games are actually being run on Google’s servers in a datacenter. At launch, the service will be available in the US, Canada, UK and Europe and users will be able to stream games to Chrome browser, Chromecast and Pixel devices.  

This is not the first cloud game streaming service available to consumers however. Cloud gaming services already exist in the form of Sony’s Playstation Now and Nvidia’s GeForce Now and have been around for a couple of years. The emergence of new competition in the market suggests that providing cloud gaming solutions is quickly becoming more commercially viable, which is no surprise given the improvements in network speed and bandwidth as well as the power of servers.  

See a blog about Playstation's Now performance here

Another common problem with cloud gaming services is the latency of the connection to server.  If the server that is running your game is physically located too far from the end user, then they may experience noticeable lag between input and the game reacting due to latency over large distances.  To counter this effect, Google plans to set up Stadia servers at over 7,500 locations across the globe, coupled with ever-improving networking infrastructure, latency issues should be minimized. 

Of course, the specification of the servers is a huge factor when trying to make the service as affordable as possible without compromising performance.  To achieve this price and performance balance, Google have partnered with AMD to create a custom GPU for Stadia servers which is capable of 10.7 teraflops of power.  To put this into perspective, a PS4 PRO manages 4.2 teraflops and the Xbox One X, the most powerful games console is capable of about 6 teraflops. With 16GB of RAM and a 2.7GHz hyperthreaded x86 based CPU, Stadia servers are running off hardware which resembles a high end gaming PC much more than a games console.  

There has been no hint of what Google plans to charge for this service but if each player requires their own dedicated server to play games, customers may find themselves paying a lot for this service to cover the ownership costs of the servers.  In the future, Google plans to upgrade the service so that users can stream games in 8K resolution at 120 fpsalthough there was no indication of when this will be implemented.

This will pose further problems for pricing of the service as each user may need multiple dedicated servers to reach this level of performance, a cost which the end user will most likely have to cover.  

Hopefully, Google’s partnership with AMD to create a custom GPU has resulted in a cost-effective solution for the Stadia servers, allowing Google to charge an attractive price that will tempt gamers to subscribe instead of opting for traditional gaming hardware.

If you have any questions about the dardware used or any firther questions about the Servers and solutions we offer please contact our sales team with the information below.

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