A Google executive says the company expects that its Stadia game streaming service will outperform local gaming hardware in the near future.
In an interview published in issue 338 of Edge magazine, Stadia vice president and engineering head Majd Bakar said the streaming service will quickly surpass hardware thanks to rapid advancements in cloud technology.
“Ultimately, we think in a year or two we’ll have games that are running faster and feel more responsive in the cloud than they do locally, regardless of how powerful the local machine is,” said Bakar.
One trick Bakar says Stadia will employ is “negative latency,” which has the service working extensively in real-time to mitigate lag between player and server. In practice, this means that Stadia might rapidly increase framerate to reduce latency or even predict what buttons a player might press and prepare for that input accordingly.
Indeed, one of the benefits of Stadia streaming is that the service handles all of the heavy computing in the cloud and allow games to be played even on low-cost hardware. Google is betting big on the cloud, as well, with the tech giant having pledged $13 billion USD (about $17.3 billion CAD) to go towards infrastructure like data centres in 2019 alone.
On the flip side, local hardware like a console or PC allows a game to be played natively and, therefore, avoid many of the connectivity-related issues that could arise from streaming a game. Further, even if Stadia can also circumvent these hurdles, game streaming can eat up significant amounts of data in a short time.
In June, PC Gamer estimated that as much as 1 TB of internet can be consumed within just 65 hours of playing Stadia at its max 4K/60fps settings. Of course, this doesn’t factor in how someone would surely be using data in other ways, such as regular internet browsing, Netflix streaming and mobile app updates.
It remains to be seen how Stadia will fare with the average consumer, but for now, the service is set to launch sometime in November in Canada and 13 other countries.