Google Stadia is a bold new game streaming service, big interview with Phil Harrison


Extreme Poster
Mar 27, 2006
Big interview with Phil Harrison can be read here:


CPU-wise is there anything you can share there?

Majd Bakar: It's an x86 CPU, it's running at 2.7GHz and it's what developers are used to. Throughout all of development, CPU is not a bounding factor at all. We give them enough CPU power to manage all titles.

How many cores, threads?

Phil Harrison: A lot.

Eight cores? 16 threads? More? Less?

Majd Bakar: I don't think we're saying much more... it's hyper-threaded.

Phil Harrison: But it's a server-class CPU. Because we're not constrained by packaging in the same way a historical console is constrained, we don't have the same thermal dynamic challenges, we don't have the same size and packaging dynamics, it can look seriously ugly inside the datacentre. It also allows us to do very, very high bandwidth memory, and it also allows us to have access to petabytes of local storage at very high speed - hundreds of times faster than what you'd get from a consumer device in your home.
Google has revealed its new game streaming service, named Stadia. It'll launch in North America and Europe later this year - although there's no word yet on pricing.

The service is designed to combine the audiences of those who play games with those who watch them with YouTube, and Stadia will be built into Google's video-streaming platform so you can be watching a video, click a link, and be within the game in seconds.

And it can all be played on a multitude of devices - on a laptop using the Chrome browser, on a TV via Chromecast, on a tablet or mobile phone.

The tech giant's big gaming bid does not require a set-top box, and is designed to let you stream games at up to 4K and 60 frames-per-second quality, with future 8K support "inevitable". Each "instance" of Stadia gameplay has 10.7 teraflops of power - more, Google says, than PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X combined.

As with any streaming service, you'll be playing games without the need to install any data or download patches. Stadia runs games using Google's own server hardware - so there's no need for your device to do any of the legwork.

It is this technology which Google hopes will make Stadia a success where earlier streaming bids (hello, OnLive) failed. Google is certainly well positioned, with data centres already positioned around the globe and more than a decade of experience streaming video via YouTube.

The platform will be home to existing games - Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Doom Eternal were both shown running on the service. Developers will be given the option for cross-platform play, and the ability to bring over save options from other platforms.

Google also today announced Stadia Games and Entertainment, Google's own first party game studio. As expected, it's run by former Ubisoft and EA exec Jade Raymond, previously announced as having joined Google. What is it working on? Google isn't yet ready to say.

And while these games will typically run on one Stadia "instance", more could be added, Google said. This would easily enable splitscreen couch co-op without placing extra computing demands on your own gameplay performance.

Each game session can be treated like a "link" to allow others to watch, or jump in and join if it's a multiplayer game.

Another feature is "State Share", which allows Stadia users to point someone to their own version of the game to let them play with all your loot, if you so wished. Q-Games' Dylan Cuthbert appeared on stage to confirm he was working on a game which uses the feature.

A similar idea, "Crowd Play", lets you hop into games with YouTube "content creators", if they fancy it.

Using the Stadia controller, you can move a game between devices instantaneously, and pick up where you left off. But you'll also be able to use any USB controller on laptop or PC - Chrome already supports most of these already.

The Stadia's two extra face buttons are for sharing content to YouTube and for Google Assistant, which will let you load games or multiplayer lobbies via voice commands instead of via UI.

Stadia's other advantages? Since devices which run it are simply playing a video over Wi-Fi, your mobile/laptop battery will last longer. If using a Chromecast connected to a TV, you'll simply be powering that rather than an additional beefy console.

It's an impressive announcement from Google, one which will likely set the agenda for GDC this week, but we're keen to hear specifics. We'll have more very soon.
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I really want nothing to do with Sony, Google and MS game streaming. I want native installed games only. I am fine with these being optional services, but don't take away my locally installed games.
May 20, 2008
I have no issues with the direction the industry is going as long as traditional gaming is still available. I understand why google is going this route.
Likes: Hedon


Staff member
Oct 8, 2007
I seem to recall saying something like Google were best placed to do something like this. But even then, not a big fan of "cloud" gaming. IMHO, the drawbacks are too large for what little it does.

The quality of VP9, and HEVC, are a far cry from source, firstly.

I mean, this kinda kills the notion of 4K gaming. You'll get a 4K picture, sure, but it'll be compressed to hell and back. These high efficiency codecs do a really good job for films and video (where your focus, while on the screen, may not explicitly be on the moment to moment happenings), but at the pace video games update they leave a lot to be desired. Fine details like grass, trees, the intricate texture work on models etc. get destroyed when the codec needs to keep the bitrate down. High frame rate titles are going to exacerbate that as you don't tend to get double the bandwidth for the 60fps stream.

More over, the infrastructure for this is only really available in the West, and even then, not entirely. If i go on holiday to family, i can take my playstation/xbox/switch. I can't take my fiber connection. I guess i could tell people how awesome games are, instead of actually sharing them?

There's also lag/letency. People hate this shit in multiplayer. Get ready for some single player lag action, yo. "OMG that AI is cheating!!! It's using an aimbot! Unfair!!1!!"

Also, the obligatory: I don't actually own the game. This is essentially a glorified lease scheme.

I have no issues with the direction the industry is going as long as traditional gaming is still available. I understand why google is going this route.
It's google, you can bet were're going to get served ads up the wazoo. Or worse, get served ads mid game.

Just as a side note: In DF's video, they show off Stadia vs xbox one side by side. Technically, the Xbox One side of the video is what Stadia should look like, and the Stadia one isn't really representative of anything.
The Xbox One Stream has been passed through the VP9 codec so that's what Stadia would be delivering. Weird quirk on the way that demo was presented :p
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Extreme Poster
Mar 27, 2006
This makes me wish Google approached the video game industry like everyone else. How different would the reaction be if those 10.7 teraflops in GPU power were reserved for a traditional system and they showcased something from their own first-party studio?

Stadia also sounds a bit pretentious. I know it's supposed to translate to Stadium so why not just call it that instead?
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