Google Stadia will take on game consoles and PCs in 2019, but many questions remain

By Jared Newman

Google’s long-awaited answer to traditional game consoles and gaming PCs is a service called Stadia, which will stream high-end games to web browsers, phones, tablets, and TVs.

During a presentation at the Game Developers Conference, Google made a lot of promises about what Stadia will do. Because Stadia will stream the games from remote servers instead of requiring pricey consoles or PCs, users will be able to start playing within seconds just by clicking a link. And because the service will have deep ties to YouTube, players will be able to pick up a game from the exact point of whatever YouTube stream they’re watching.

On the developer side, Google hinted at support for better graphics and more ambitious multiplayer games, made possible by handling all the computing on its own servers. Google Assistant will also play a role, letting players ask for hints that will take them directly to relevant gameplay clips on YouTube.

Still, a lot of this remains theoretical for now. Although Google says Stadia will launch in 2019, the company hasn’t discussed pricing. And while Google is launching its own game studio–headed by veteran producer Jade Raymond–the company didn’t announce any specific games of its own to take advantage of Stadia’s unique features.

“This is the first step in the journey,” said Phil Harrison, a former Microsoft and Sony executive who joined Google to work on Stadia last year. He added that the company would reveal more details this summer.

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