Google Announces Stadia at GDC 2019

Subject: General Tech | March 19, 2019 - 03:28 PM |
Tagged: google, stadia

Google Stadia, a new gaming service, was announced at the 2019 Game Developers Conference. Much like OnLive and PlayStation Now, users connect to an instance of video games running in datacenters. Because it is a conference for game developers, they also mentioned a few added features, such as directly transcoding for YouTube and allowing the audience to wait in line and jump into a streamer’s game session.

Requirements and price were not mentioned, but it will arrive sometime in 2019.

Google also mentioned that applicable games would run on Linux and the Vulkan API. Given their Android initiative, and their desire to not pay Microsoft a license fee for VMs, this makes a lot of sense. It also forces major engine developers to target and optimize Linux-focused APIs, which will be good in the long run, especially if Google starts adding GPUs from Intel and NVIDIA in the coming years. I'm not sure how much it will push Linux ports, however, because that's not really why publishers avoid the platform.

In terms of hardware, Google claims that an instance will have about 10.7 teraflops of GPU performance on an AMD platform. In terms of compute, this puts it equivalent to a GTX 1080 Ti, although AMD tends to have reduced fillrate, etc., which keeps them behind NVIDIA parts with equivalent compute performance. (Those equivalent AMD parts also tend to be significantly cheaper, and thus comparing flop to flop isn’t fair in most other circumstances.)

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As long-time readers know, I am also very cautious about streaming services because they are about the epitome of DRM. While the content is available on other, local platforms? Not really a big deal. If a game is developed for Google’s service, and requires Google’s API, then games that leave the service, either by Google’s license ending or Google simply not wanting to host it anymore, will be just about impossible to preserve. Games are not movies or sound files that can be transcoded into another format.

Linux and Vulkan does provide a bit more confidence, but you never know what will happen when a company, with no legal (ex: the GPL) obligation to remain open, gets large enough.

It’s something that I’m still worried about, though.

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March 19, 2019 | 03:42 PM - Posted by Anonymously Anonymous (not verified)

The laws of physics are a real thing and unless Google has found a way to overcome them, then subscribers are in for a nice dose of latency.

We're not talking about a mere few feet in someone's home wired network, we're talking about many MILES round trip from a device, multple connectio points later and with a remote server andthen back again.

Games ran and rendered natively on the device you use is a much better experience whenit comes to latency than yet another game streaming service. ONly way i'd get it is if I had no other choice adn i just had to have a gaming fix.

March 19, 2019 | 03:46 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

The part that concerned me about OnLive is that they were pushing gaming into the local cable business model. And, yeah, if they can get a mini data center everywhere that there's a local TV station, it could probably work out (in North America).

The scary part is that the cable business model is something that I absolutely want nowhere near the gaming industry.

March 19, 2019 | 06:57 PM - Posted by BigCloudsForVega10 (not verified)

Scott Google is probably using AMD's Radeon Pro V340 so that's a dual Vega 10(Vega 56 complement of Shaders:TMUs:ROPs)/single PCIe card variant. The V340 even has a hardware based GPU virtualization ASIC so that's GPU virtualization managed by the ASIC via AMD's MxGPU virtualization IP.

The Radeon V340 has come down in price from above $10,000 to just below $8,200 and that's just retail price Google is probably getting some volume discount from AMD that's colser to wholesale than retail pricing.

Just wait for some Vega 20 based replacments for the Vega Dual Vega 10 Die(higher binned Vega 56 equivalent of Shaders:TMUs:ROPs) based V340! And any Vega 20 dies will speak xGMI(Infinity Fabric) across the PCIe card's PCB instead of using any PCIe protocol!

I suspect that the V340 is coming down in retail price because AMD is getting ready for the V340's Vega 20 based replacment.

March 19, 2019 | 07:06 PM - Posted by BigCloudsForVega10 (not verified)

What about Windows 10, don't you think that OS as a cable business model is on its way to a greater degree after 2020-2023 when there is no other M$ OS choice than Windows 10 and M$'s cloud services business model!

And Folks Thought that they where cutting the cable on the cable companies' business model, so now the entire Internet will become the new Cable Business Model and folk's computers will be just glorified cable boxes.

And oh looksee the folks in Redmond are bring the XBOX experience to the PC!

March 19, 2019 | 08:11 PM - Posted by chipman (not verified)

OnLive, Steam Link, ... all the hype for the game streaming but all failed miserably!

What would make Google succeed?

Actually money isn't the issue.

March 22, 2019 | 10:21 PM - Posted by Anonymous11 (not verified)

The PUBG rubberbanding is practically the same thing with no fix in sight.

I'll agree that for single player it won't feel the same but would argue for massive multiplayer it should cut down on the hacks and probably has the same challenges of the client/server model.

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