Earlier today, Google announced their venture into the arena of streaming video games via the internet. Or for you hip people cloud-based streaming. Project Stream, the nickname that Google has dubbed the project, has been shown off via a video that appeared on Google’s YouTube channel. From what I’ve seen and understand, Google will provide the ability to stream games across the internet and into their Chrome browser.
Unlike other services, which provide an application that needs to be installed with Windows MacOS or Linux. This would instead require just the use of the Chrome browser. Which many people, myself included, already have installed on their machines. So no need for yet another application to install. They’ve also partnered with Ubisoft and will be streaming the upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey as their first major test.
We’ve been working on Project Stream, a technical test to solve some of the biggest challenges of streaming. For this test, we’re going to push the limits with one of the most demanding applications for streaming—a blockbuster video game.
We’ve partnered with one of the most innovative and successful video game publishers, Ubisoft, to stream their soon-to-be released Assassin’s Creed Odyssey™ to your Chrome browser on a laptop or desktop. Starting on October 5, a limited number of participants will get to play the latest in this best-selling franchise at no charge for the duration of the Project Stream test.
You can sign up for this test, as Google is accepting a limited number of participants for this test. All you need to be considered is a 25MB or higher connection and live in the US. Maybe this is also why the new Google Chromecast has Bluetooth enabled on it. You can stream this to your TV while connecting a controller to the Chromecast.
Now, I’m all for companies trying to evolve gaming and possibly removing hardware from the picture. Well, not so much the latter, but I do like the idea of a streaming future.
Ever since this news broke, I’ve seen countless posts and threads about how Google is an innovator and only they can do this. While I agree that Google is an amazing innovator, they aren’t the only pioneers when it comes to streaming games over the internet.
In fact, there have been several companies that have tried the whole streaming games and it hasn’t been completely successful. Onlive, Gamefly, Sony’s PlayStation Now, LiquidSky, Nvidia’s Geforce Now, even Microsoft with their streaming only Xbox console Each one of these services has tried to get past one thing that plaques streaming games via the internet; Latency and input lag. No matter how fast your service is, how many servers you have in place across the globe, those factors still will remain. Google is just the latest to join a long line of companies who want to put our games in the could.
At least for now, there’s no to provide a nearly lag-less experience. Or at least after trying every service that’s currently available, I haven’t seen one do it.
Don’t forget that at least in the US, we have an issue with broadband. With limited data caps, crappy high priced connections (that are getting better), this isn’t something that everyone would be able to gain access to. While many ISP’s are rolling out cable or fiber internet, a big portion of this country is still using DSL. Which tops out at 8 MB. This test for Project Stream requires 25MB, which removes a lot of people from the picture. Especially if going forward that is the required bandwidth to use the service (not saying that it is).
That all said, don’t mistake my pessimism as being negative, as it’s definitely a positive thing. It’s just that I’ve seen “oh, you can do it all in the cloud” being tossed around way too much anymore. Often with disappointed results. Now, if Google ends up being the company that nails the missing piece, then fantastic. Speaking of which, Google, I’d love to check this out and try the service for myself if you happen to read this.