Gaming

Google Unveils Stadia, A New Video Game Streaming Platform That Australia Can’t Have

Google Stadia

Today Google unveiled Google Stadia, a new video game streaming platform that aims to deliver playable games with no console, no downloads and no wait. All of which sounds great – if your internet speeds aren’t an international joke.

This week is the 2019 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, a sort of pon farr for video game developers where they huddle, scream, and spawn the seeds of new games. Today at the event, Google took to the stage to announce its newest gaming project: Google Stadia, which I will never stop calling Google Stevia.

Google Stadia is a platform that will allow players to stream games to any screen, including TVs, laptops, tablets and phones. To be clear, this doesn’t mean streaming gameplay, as in watching Twitch streamers such as Ninja play Fortnite. This means games you can instantly play yourself, without having to wait for anything to download.

Google claims that, through Stadia, people to will be able to watch a streamer play a game then click a “play now” button to immediately launch into their own session. It’s the closest thing we have to Willy Wonka’s television technology, only instead of instant chocolate we’re getting instant games.

Well, America’s getting them, anyway. Though pricing has not been revealed, Google Stadia will launch in US, Canada, UK and some of Europe later this year. Unfortunately, as Australian internet leaves something to be desired, Aussies aren’t anticipating its release here any time soon.

Speaking to Kotaku, Google’s Phil Harrison stated that Stadia requires 25mb/s to run at 1080p at 60 fps, and to run at 4K it needs 30mb/s. According to Speedtest, which does a monthly review of average internet speeds around the world, Australia’s current average speed is 34.38mb/s – well below the global average of 55.58mb/s. Some Australians may have connections capable of utilising Stadia, but many would likely struggle.

Though Stadia won’t require players in the Chosen Countries buy a whole new console, they may still need some extra hardware. If players opt to stream to PC, any controller that plugs into a USB port will do. But if they want to stream to TV, Harrison told Kotaku that players will need a Chromecast and a Stadia controller.

Revealed at GDC, Google’s much-rumoured Stadia controller is wireless, and includes a button for instant gameplay capture. The Stadia controller also has a built-in microphone and Google Assistant, so you can scream “Hey Google, why won’t this guy die?”

Speculation had been swirling around Google’s foray into video game streaming services for a while now, with the first hints at the project coming early last year. In October, Google partnered with Ubisoft for Project Stream, a test that enabled people to play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey by streaming it through Google’s Chrome browser. And earlier this month, mock-ups of a game controller were circulated after being discovered in a patent filed by Google.

But all this innovation means absolutely nothing to Australians if our internet can’t keep up.