Last night, Google lifted the lid on its big, secret video game project: Stadia, a streaming service designed to bring the biggest games to anyone, regardless of the device they're using – as long as it has a Chrome browser or it supports Chromecast
One glaring omission from the hour-long presentation, though, was the type of internet speeds you'd need to make the most of Stadia. Google waxed lyrical about its 1080p 60fps, or 4k gameplay, even talking about how the service would support 8k streaming in the future. That's all well and good – but a lag-free stream is going to need some superfast internet power, right?
Right. Well, kind of. After yesterday's presentation at GDC, Kotaku US pinned down Google Stadia boss Phil Harrison to ask him a few questions as part of their Splitscreen podcast – namely, the internet speed you need to run Stadia. Here's what he said:
“We were able to test a lot of this with our Project Stream test late last year, starting back in October. To get 1080p, 60 frames per second, required approximately 25 megabits per second. In fact, we use less than that, but that’s where we put our recommended limit at. But with innovations that we’ve made on the streamer side and on the compression side since then, when we launch, we will be able to get to 4K but only raise that bandwidth to about 30 megabits per second. So if you have less bandwidth, we’ll give you a lower resolution… We do a lot of that for you in the background, and we will only offer up the appropriate bandwidth for the infrastructure that you have.”
So according to Harrison, you'll be able to use Stadia on an internet connection less than 25Mbps, but you may not get the best quality. It sounds like the service will recommend a minimum of 25Mbps. It's not the fastest speed, but it's still a speed that many people in the UK don't (and in some cases, can't have).
Kotaku also asked Harrison some other questions, some of which he wasn't keen to talk about:
What hardware do you need to get Stadia on your TV?
“Chromecast is the way that you reach TV at launch.” And, by the way, an Xbox controller won’t do the trick: “In order to reach our Chromecast, you need the Stadia controller.” You can use whatever USB controller you want on PC, though.
Is this just another ambitious Google project that will disappear in a few years, like Google Plus?
“I understand the concern. But I think that all you have to do is look at the level of investment that we have made and continue to make in Stadia. This is not a trivial project by any means. This is a very, very significant cross-company effort that isn’t just my team, but it’s also across YouTube, it’s across our technical infrastructure and networking team. It represents thousands of people who are working on this business.”
What will it cost?
“I’m not going to talk about it today… We will talk in great detail about that in the summer.”
Is that summer announcement going to be at E3?
“In the summer.”