In recent months, there has been a lot of speculation about a gaming streaming service from Google. Rumors have proven to be true, Project Stream has been officially unveiled on October 1, 2018, and will be able to be experienced by the curious in just a few days with the launch of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. The announcement was made on the official Google blog.
The company announced this as a “technical test” called Project Stream to measure the feasibility of playing a high-end video game in Chrome, its web browser. It is a so-called “game-streaming” system, that is to say, that the game runs on Google’s servers and that only the image is broadcast in real time to the user. This allows you to play demanding titles on a weak machine.
For this test, Google has used Ubisoft and its game Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, whose release date is set for October 5. A limited number of players can register on the project site to participate and play for free. This requires an Internet connection with a speed of at least 25 Mb/s and reside in the US.
Cloud Gaming Is Booming
If Google has chosen a big budget game of this type, it is precisely to test the technical limitations of cloud gaming, which is much more complex than the diffusion of passive media such as music or video. The player’s commands must indeed be sent and executed on the server, then replay in real time on the screen for the experiment to be viable. If the latency time is sufficiently low (of the order of a few tens of milliseconds), the effect is transparent to the player. If it is too important, it becomes unplayable.
Google is not the first one to attempt this challenge. OnLive rubbed shoulders in the early 2000s, followed by Gaikai (bought by Sony) and a dozen others. Today, there are several services of this type, like PlayStation Now, GeForce Now, LiquidSky or Blacknut. We also know that Microsoft is working on the issue, as well as EA, which recently bought GameFly Streaming.
Streaming Games means No Hardware Requirements
The Google service is supposed to work in the Chrome browser. If everything went according to the Project Stream plan, it would actually work without any problems, and we would soon be able to play on the latest AAA productions on cheap netbooks and Chromebooks on which Google’s browser works. Games would be streamed at 60 fps, in Full HD.
In addition to a computer with a browser, the player must have a sufficiently fast connection. Google ensures that their new full-liquidity service needs a 25 Mbps link. These days it is not a big problem, but …
The main difficulty for these services is the number of customers still small enough that they can serve because of their technical requirements (latency and bandwidth). In the first phase of the test, unfortunately, it is limited only to people in the US. Most likely, it will soon expand to other territories as well.
To qualify for the trial, you must be 17 years or older and live in the USA and have a reliable 25 Mbps internet connection to your home. Other stipulations are that you have a Google account, a Ubisoft account, and PC/Mac/ChromeOS/Linux install of Chrome 69 or newer. It is recommended that you have a wired USB controller or mouse and that you don’t try and play the game via laptop trackpad. Google says that the PlayStation DualShock 4 Controller, Xbox One Controller, and Xbox 360 Controller are compatible, depending upon your OS choice.
With Google’s impressive existing video streaming tech and capacity, hopefully, Project Stream is the start of a hugely popular web destination with lots of classic streaming freebies alongside the income generating AAA releases.