Google Stadia Boss Answers (And Dodges) Our Questions

This morning at GDC 2019, Google Stadia boss Phil Harrison announced the tech company’s plans to launch a game streaming service that will stream high-end games in a Chrome browser. But how good, exactly, does your internet have to be in order for Stadia to work?

Do you need one of Google’s new Stadia controllers? Jason and I sat down with Phil for an interview on Kotaku Splitscreen where he answered some of our questions and dodged a few others.

Listen here:

Get the MP3 here, or read about some of the highlights below:

  • What internet speed do you need to run Stadia? “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.”

  • 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.” (That's the Australian winter, for reference.)

  • Is that announcement going to be at E3? “In the summer.” Well, OK then!

We also asked Phil Harrison about the hands-off attitude that Google has taken with YouTube moderation and whether Stadia will be different (it will, supposedly), and also, what the name “Stadia” even means. In the second half of this week’s podcast, we interview Sarah Elmaleh, the voice actor behind the female protagonist of BioWare’s Anthem.


Comments

    I notice that the internet speed question only talks about resolution and FPS with no mention of what you need to have to have for minimal latency when controlling the game. I'm already out with my 6 to 7 Mb/s ADSL2+ connection. Theoretically I'm getting NBN in a few months and it's HFC so I'm gonna have to pay extra for a high-end plan that can support 25Mb/s during peak times and that's before we get to the question of whether the latency makes it even worthwhile.

    The idea is nice but there's a long way to go before it's going to be a viable alternative to consoles.

      I went from getting the NBN at the end of the year 2018 to TBA again.

      Twice they dig my driveway up and twice they buggered the connections.
      They had to move on though and we miss out because of their incompetence.

      The 1080p at 60fps is so last year... this year its 2k going to 4k and 144fps... a few years later it will be

      The focus on high end gaming is a misstep, they need to craft a game market that doesnt need those specs. Nintendo Switch is doing great with its resolution and frame rate... its not about trying to port Assassins Creed, its about fostering open source zero barrier entry for developers... and Google doesnt do that with 30% cut of all revenue and an uncurated store that is mostly untrusted garbage of games trying to rip you off, steal your identity or worse.

      GooglePlay is proof they need to do better in the softwarecand store front.

        One obvious selling point they'd have for devs going Stadia exclusive is that their game would be piracy proof.

        If the game code never hits customer hardware, there is nothing to copy. Depending on the genre, that could easily be worth whatever commission they charge on this service.

          Piracy only really affects PC, which is pretty much the smallest segment of the mainstream gaming market. Developers have been avoiding piracy for years by releasing on console only.

      The base NBN plans in my area start at 25mbps, at the same cost as our previous 12mbps ADSL2 plan. We bumped up to 50mbps because it was only 10 bucks more though.

      You only need a mid tier plan to get over 25Mbps and the server will be in your city so latency will be like 10-20ms.

      If you are streaming games constantly at 25Mb/s you are going to chew through your data allocation. Even people who are on "Unlimited" plans will likely be hit by the ISP's "acceptable use policy" (which generally results in a shaped connection / less than 25Mb/s until the month ticks over... but can sometimes result in high end users being kicked from that ISP altogether).

      Digital foundry did a test at the show and found it to be at around 166ms on wifi. I imagine it might be workable if you live in Sydney, but in the central column and west its gonna suck.

    The controller looks like a current Xbox controller knocked up a PS1 controller

    I would of asked "Will it have Fortnite?"... epics relationship with refusing to be on Googleplay sould be a buttin to push!

    The edge nodes will be the interesting part for me as their physical location will go a long way to reducing latency. 100mb FTTP so I'm very interested in what they can do

    Nbn CEO will finally have a legitimate reason to blame gamers for clogging up his shitty network.

      Turns out he was just ahead of our times. Perhaps the future really is copper.

    Resolution is a moot point when you take into consideration compression, fidelity and colour range.
    Not excited - yet.

      Not to mention the audio. Apparently it's pretty bad compared to playing locally.

        Yeah. If we were all running off 5G it would make sense, but it's surely at least 5 years away before streaming games is comparable quality wise?

    Have you ever been playing a single player game and found yourself thinking "boy I wish this game had lag". Well, do Google have news for you!

    Ah, come on - stadia is the plural of stadium, which is where you'd play a sporting match. The name makes perfect sense.

    So basically Google's more extensive plan to specifically collect data on children designed to circumvent the existing regulations against doing so...?

    Imagine, if you dare, the barrage of advertising this thing would throw at you.
    Huge nope from me forever. Google can fuck right off.

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