With Google Stadia, the internet giant is looking to spearhead a new way of thinking about gaming, with streaming at its heart. That means, in Google's eyes, the physical console is going the way of the dodo, at least when it comes to its Stadia service.
Google Stadia boss has stressed that, though Stadia will have a controller, it will never have a console. Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz (opens in new tab), Harrison stated that:
“We are absolutely firm that we are not, will not, and will never release a console. [Stadia is] a new generation platform, rather than a next generation platform.
"I think that’s a really exciting moment for the industry. The whole world isn’t going to shift to that new model overnight, and it will take time for us to realize every aspect of the promise. But it’s a fundamental and, I passionately believe, an inevitable and one-way direction that the industry is moving.”
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Without fixed hardware driving the experience, it'll all come down to your broadband connection to ensure gameplay is fun. Harrison has said that his team have made great advances in the streaming space to ensure that even the holy grail of gaming – play at a 4K resolution with a 60 frames per second refresh rate – is available on a relatively modest 30mbps connection.
“For our [Stadia] launch this year, we have made some very significant improvements in our streamer, our codecs, our hardware and software services, which means we can get to 4K 60fps at around 30mbps. 30mbps doesn’t exclude a huge segment of the population. We think we can reach a very significant part of the world with that kind of performance. It’s not a gigabyte downstream.”
What level of compression is needed to hit that target remains to be seen. But Google's confident talk around the service does point to a promising future.