Tag Archives: polygon

4 big questions we still have about Google’s Stadia

Google Stadia, a streaming service that lets players enjoy modern games on low-end devices, is a play for the future of video game entertainment. Imagine a world where your gaming experiences aren’t restricted by your hardware; a world where you can hop straight into a game just by clicking a link. It sounds almost too good to be true, no? Naturally, we’ve got questions.

What will Google Stadia cost?

Everything about Stadia upends the way games are traditionally bought and sold. If you stream what you play, do you own the games or rent them? If you’re not buying any hardware, do pay for a service? Will it be more of a subscription or a one-time fee sort of deal? What’s the price-point for the controller? What happens to Stadia games after developers stop supporting it? We don’t know anything about the economics of Stadia right now. We just know that the streaming service will release later this year.

For comparison sake: Game Pass, a Microsoft subscription that gives you access to dozens of game titles, costs $9.99 a month — though you do need special hardware to enjoy it. Will Stadia’s price point be competitive with services like Game Pass?

What kind of internet connection do you need?

Hardware may not be a question here, but there are still potential logistical problems depending on internet requirements. Will people in rural areas, without speedy internet connections, be able to enjoy Stadia? Will the internet speed requirements be too hefty for the average person? How taxing will Stadia be on our ISPs — will they have reason to throttle performance, for instance? The fact that even the controller is wireless introduces the possibility for lag, which is why Stadia’s promises seem so lofty. All of these unknowns may make or break whether or not Stadia has long-term potential.

stadia platforms

What games will be on the Stadia?

Much of what Google spoke about in its GDC keynote dealt with the possibilities of a service, but in terms of confirmed experiences, we’ve got very little to go on. Obviously, Assassin’s Creed Origins will be a part of the offerings — they’ve already shown that off. Otherwise, the only other games we know about are Doom Eternal, an unannounced title by Q-Games, and possibly something by Tequila Works? It’s also hard to tell what other game developers will allow on the platform, especially given that Stadia may be seen as the competition. Microsoft doesn’t seem precious about where their games end up, but what about Sony and Nintendo? Will it be difficult to port games to Stadia, given all the fancy bells and whistles?

While we know that Google has been investing in its own games division, and will likely be developing exclusive experiences for Stadia, right now there aren’t that many specific things to get excited about.

How will Google handle Stadia’s YouTube integration?

Many of Stadia’s ambitions are tied to YouTube, a platform that routinely receives negative coverage over its bad actors. Stadia will allow viewers more access to their favorite creators, which raises the question: who will be allowed to use it? What sorts of channels will the platform recommend when players look up walkthroughs? Will the platform use YouTube differently if it involves games for younger kids?

Source: Polygon.com

Castle Crashers Remastered coming to Nintendo Switch and PS4

The Behemoth’s Castle Crashers is coming to Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 this summer as Castle Crashers Remastered, the developer announced today.

The Behemoth first released Castle Crashers Remastered on Xbox One in 2015. The remastered version of the beloved beat-’em-up features five times the texture resolution as the original and 60 fps gameplay. All existing DLC and a new mini-game called “Back Off Barbarian” is also included in the remastered version of the game.

In his blog post, The Behemoth developer Dan Paladin revealed that the PlayEveryWare port studio helped create the two new versions of Castle Crashers. The Switch version utilizes HD Rumble, Switch Online, and supports four-player local Joy-Con use. The PS4 version will display the player’s character color in the DualShock 4’s lightbar.

Paladin also addressed why The Behemoth hasn’t made a sequel to Castle Crashers or any of its other games. A sequel to Castle Crashers would need to be “vastly improved” over the original, rather than “more of the same,” according to Paladin

“Another thing to consider is that there would be no Castle Crashers 2 if we started out by making sequels,” said Paladin. “You’d have Alien Hominid 2 instead of Castle Crashers 1. Or, alternatively, there’d be no BattleBlock Theater if we made Castle Crashers 2.”

Paladin also teased that the studio is working on a new title, codenamed “Game 5.” The Behemoth released its most recent game game, Pit People, into early access over two years ago. Paladin said The Behemoth hopes to reveal more information about “Game 5” later in 2019.

Source: Polygon.com

Stadia, Google’s gaming platform, changed the rules of the console wars

Google is finally taking gaming seriously, and a flood of news coming out of the company’s keynote at the 2019 Game Developers Conference is our first, practical look into a future that isn’t focused on hardware.

Google’s gaming platform is called Stadia, but it’s not a console. Google itself will be handling all the processing power that’s required for each game, and will stream that game to your laptop, television, phone, or tablet so you can play anywhere, as long as you have a strong internet connection.

Streaming games from the cloud has been tried before, but Google has shown that it knows how to deliver on the promise during the beta for what was then called Project Stream.

“The first, and most surprising, thing you’ll likely notice when the game loads is that it … works,” Polygon’s Austen Goslin wrote after trying the Project Stream beta. “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey runs about as well from the cloud as if you had just installed the game normally. Movement is responsive, and combat feels fluid. Even dodging enemy attacks was easy, and I never fell victim to the kind of input lag that has often plagued game streaming in the past.”

This could change everything

Google is the first company to try to truly disrupt the gaming business in some time, and Stadia could be a threat to everyone from the companies that create and sell consoles to online storefronts like Steam. It’s hard to wrap your head around all the ways this system could change the way we interact and play our games.

As Google CEO Sundar Pichai pointed out, most content online just … works. You know that a link a YouTube video will work if you send it from your laptop to your phone. But gaming is tethered to the hardware we use to generate the image on the screen, and we have download huge amounts of data before we can begin playing.

Pichai described a world in which you can click on a link after a game trailer and begin playing that game instantly, without worrying if your drivers are up to date or waiting for a large download.

That focus on streaming and content delivery versus the creation and physical sales of a console that sits near your television is what separates Google from the rest of the major players in gaming platforms. Suddenly the hardware on which you play barely matters, and Stadia will in fact be compatible with your existing USB controller or mouse and keyboard along with Google’s new custom controller for the service. The only thing that matters is whether you have a strong, stable online connection.

Pichai stated that Google’s goal was “building a game platform for everyone,” and Stadia will certainly remove some of the friction that comes from traditional gaming, such as the purchase of expensive equipment or the visual limitations that come with the limited processing power of low-cost tablets or phones.

Google wants us to bring the habits we’ve developed from streaming video into gaming, in other words. Hulu and Netflix don’t sell users proprietary hardware to watch their offerings, and Google’s vision is that gaming should operate in the same basic way; games become something you do through a service using a selection of inexpensive hardware to access the connection to Google’s servers.

That control of everything from how the image is processed to where the streaming data goes could also make multiplayer gaming a much simpler, safer affair. “And yes, no cheating, and no hacking,” Google’s Phil Harrison claimed during the keynote.

But it’s the speed at which you can begin playing that could take the longest to get used to, as well as Google’s ability to leverage YouTube directly by letting fans join streamers instantly. Streaming itself will no longer burden your connection or hardware because Google will be generating the image on its own hardware before sending one stream to the player and another stream to YouTube allowing others to spectate a high-quality stream that doesn’t impact the frame rate of the player themselves. Stadia will also let players create and share their own links that will lead other players to their exact location in a game, allowing other players to pick up the game from that moment.

There are many unknowns here, including how the service will be priced and how many developers will be bringing games to Stadia, but Google has introduced the potential for a huge shift in how we think about, and interact with, our games.

Google doesn’t want you to buy another console; it wants to control every aspect of how the games are played on its service while offering players and developers enough features and innovations that they don’t mind the trade-off.

And, of course, you’re going to need to be connected if you want to play. Stadia might be able to run on just about any piece of internet connected hardware you own, but it won’t run on the subway.

Source: Polygon.com

Google announces new first-party game studio, led by Jade Raymond

Google is building its own in-house studio to make original games for its new streaming platform, Stadia. Named Stadia Games and Entertainment, the new studio will be led by Jade Raymond, the former Ubisoft and Electronic Arts executive.

Raymond said that Google’s first party will “reimagine the new generation of games” and “will also be working with external developers to make all of the bleeding-edge Google technology you’ve seen today available to partner studios big and small.”

Stadia Games and Entertainment will be comprised of multiple studios, Raymond said. The team will also work with external developers to bring their games to Stadia. Google’s currently announced game development partners include Ubisoft, id Software, and Q-Games.

Raymond did not announce any specific titles for Stadia, which is slated to be released in certain territories in 2019.

Prior to Google, Raymond previously worked at Ubisoft, where she served as executive producer and co-creator of the publisher’s Assassin’s Creed franchise, and later general manager of Ubisoft Toronto. Raymond then worked at Electronic Arts, where she oversaw EA’s Motive Studio, PopCap Studio, and Star Wars portfolio. She left EA in October 2018.

Raymond announced her move to Google last week. Raymond is part of a growing gaming team at Google, which includes Phil Harrison, formerly of PlayStation and Xbox, and Jack Buser, previously the director of PlayStation Now and PlayStation Home.

Source: Polygon.com

Google Stadia lets streamers play games with their viewers

At this year’s Game Developers Conference on Tuesday, Google announced Stadia, a new platform designed to stream games. As part of Stadia, Google revealed a YouTube feature called Crowd Play. Head of gaming at YouTube Ryan Wyatt showed off the feature, which’ll allow viewers to queue up and play with their favorite streamers.

Wyatt gave an example of viewers watching a streamer play NBA 2K. A new feature in the YouTube UI (pictured above) allows players to sign up and wait in line to play with the streamer. Acting as a new lobby, the line ticks down until it’s the viewer’s turn to start playing. They then play a match with or against the streamer they’re watching. When the match is over, another viewer gets the chance to play.

Google also brought out Matthew “MatPat” Patrick from the Game Theorists channel to explain how this new feature will impact his audience. Combined with the new State Share feature — which lets players share their game state with the world — viewers will have easy access to their favorite YouTube personalities. And YouTube streamers will be able to engage with their audience easier than before.

Google will release Stadia sometime in 2019.

Source: Polygon.com

Google Stadia will help you beat games if you ask Assistant for help

Usually when you get stuck in a game, you need to pause and Google for help. Maybe you’ll find a FAQ, or a guide, or a YouTube walkthrough, where you’ll search and scrub for the bit that you need. The upcoming release of Google Stadia might turn the entire process on its head.

During today’s 2019 Game Developers Conference keynote presentation, Google showed off Stadia, a service that will let players stream modern video games straight to their browsers. But Stadia’s appeal goes beyond breaking down hardware barriers; the service will also allow you to connect to your games in entirely new ways. You’ll be able to share specific areas and situations in your games with nothing more than a simple link, for example.

Stadia will also have plenty of YouTube integration, allowing players to easily jump into the games that their content creators are showing off. But the platform’s most useful feature might just come in the form of Google Assistant: With the press of a button, you can tell the Assistant you’ve having trouble and it will automatically detect where in the game you are, and show you the most relevant YouTube video to help you get through the tough section. In the GDC presentation, a player asked how to clear a tomb in Tomb Raider, and the Assistant immediately loaded the appropriate video to help. No Googling or scrubbing required.

Google Stadia is scheduled to be released later this year.

Source: Polygon.com

Google Stadia’s ‘State Share’ will change how a game’s best moments are shared

Google’s newly announced Stadia platform will let game developers and players share save points via the cloud. According to the presentation, so-called State Share is more than a save file. It’s a transferable, encoded representation of the given state of a game. It will change how key moments in games are referenced and shared between users.

On hand to make the announcement was Dylan Cuthbert, president and managing director of Q-Games, makers of the PixelJunk series and Nom Nom Galaxy.

Cuthbert explained that State Share will allow game developers to turn in-game waypoints into a kind of weblink. These strings of code are just as precise and transferable as a page on the internet. By clicking the link, players will be able to enter a game at a specific moment in time. The link will preserve the world state, the player inventory, and all of the other key factors required to pick up the action right where it left off.

stadia state share breakdown
Key elements of gameplay, including position and inventory, are captured with State Share.
stadia state share gdc 2019
A State Share link looks like a standard web link on Discord.

The use cases for State Share are numerous. For instance, YouTube personalities could create a State Share to allow their audiences to experience what they’ve just seen at home. State Share could even form the foundation of entirely new kinds of gameplay.

Cuthbert said that his team is actively working on a game that leverages the Stadia technology in an unusual way, but gave no further details.

Source: Polygon.com

Google’s Stadia promises huge innovations for multiplayer gaming

Google announced a new streaming platform for gaming during its GDC keynote today. Called Stadia, the new platform is cloud-based instead of being focused on a single, local console, which will also allow Google to try new things in the world of multiplayer gaming while also reportedly wiping out the threats of cheats and hacks.

“When we designed Stadia, our goal was to solve many of the pain points that we had heard about from developers,” Google vice president Phil Harrison stated. “Particularly those related to multiplayer. In traditional platforms, the client and server are connect by the unpredictable internet, and therefore the multiplayer experience is limited by the client with the slowest or poorest internet connection.”

stadia multiplayer Google

Google can control every aspect of the online experience since the visuals are being processed on its machines and all the data is moving through its system.

“What that means is a synchronized state across a very high volume of players, where innovations like distributed physics can be built into your games,” Harrison said. “Where battle royale games can go from hundreds of players today, to thousands of players tomorrow. And yes, no cheating, and no hacking.”

This system will also allow more games to offer couch co-op; developers won’t have to worry about the graphical hit that comes with split-screen co-op since Google will be handling the computing power. Each player will be a separate, server-powered instance.

Stadia will also “embrace full cross-platform play,” according to Harrison, although what developers can offer in that area will still remain controlled by what Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo will allow on their own platforms.

Source: Polygon.com

Doom Eternal will be playable on Google Stadia

Doom Eternal, the sequel to the 2016 series reboot, is coming to Google’s new Stadia platform, developer id Software announced at Google’s GDC event on Tuesday.

During the announcement, id executive producer Marty Stratton explained that the game would run on Stadia in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second with HDR support — all on a single Stadia GPU. As with other Stadia games, Doom Eternal will be playable on all Stadia-compatible devices including traditional desktops and laptops, as well as smartphones, tablets, and televisions. The game will also be compatible with Google’s Stadia controller.

Stratton said during the presentation that it only took the id team a few weeks to transition Doom Eternal onto Stadia. While he didn’t show a live demo of the game during Google’s presentation, he said it will be shown live during id’s GDC presentation later in the day.

Doom Eternal is id Software’s follow-up to 2016’s Doom. It’s unclear if the Stadia version of the game will be available alongside the game’s launch on more traditional platforms, or if the version will be released later.

Source: Polygon.com

Google’s Stadia will let you jump into a game in seconds straight from YouTube

Google’s Game Developers Conference keynote today pulled the curtain back on Stadia, a service that allows anyone to play new video games by streaming them over the internet. According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the ambition was to “build a gaming platform for everyone,” which means no barriers — including hardware.

The idea is wild: Google Vice President Phil Harrison took to the stage and showed how players will be able to load up a YouTube trailer. At the end of an official trailer, you might see a button that says “Play Now,” and pressing it will launch you straight into whatever game you were watching within seconds. You’ll be able to play straight from the browser itself. According to Google, the YouTube integration will also allow for real-time streaming at 4K and 60 frames-per-second, eventually allowing for 120 FPS at 8k.

To show it off, Harrison said they intentionally bought the lowest-end PC possible — meaning that as long as you have an internet connection, you’ll be able to play modern video games without hitches. Stadia will reportedly work on nearly anything from phones to tablets, and Chromebooks.

Source: Polygon.com