Connect with us

News

Google’s ‘Project Stream’ demo evolves into Google Stadia

Google takes aim at the home console market with its streaming service, Google Stadia.

Published

on

Google takes aim at the home console market with its streaming service, Google Stadia.

This morning – well, this afternoon in Europe – at the Game Developer’s Conference, in a typically slick presentation, Google CEO Sundar Pinchai introduced the world to Google Stadia. It might sound like a silly name, but it’s called Stadia after the human compulsion to come together to play together. You know, football, basketball, rounders, feeding Christians to lions, volleyball – classic stadia-based activities.

Following their public beta test last autumn, where US players got to take on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey via their Chrome browser, Google has moved ‘Project Stream’ – as it was called – from a concept to reality, now Google Stadia.

During the beta, testers could play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey at 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second. In today’s Stadia reveal, it was announced that the service will support 4K, 60 frames per second, with 8K, 120 frames per second in the works to support the next generation of super high-resolution panels coming to market. Stadia will also support HDR and surround sound.

Google Stadia 1080p 4K 8K

You’ll also be able to stream Google Stadia to pretty much any device you can think of, including laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and TVs (with a Chromecast-alike dongle). Support for streaming to other consoles is to be confirmed, though presumably, that’s in the hands of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, not Google.

Stadia will be available with a custom controller, in three pretty colours, but you can play with any controller (or indeed keyboard and mouse) that you have lying around.

All of this is powered by a custom AMD GPU and custom-built hardware specific for the project. The Google Stadia specs include:

  • AMD GPU
    • 10.7 TFLOP/s
    • 56 compute units
    • HBM2 memory
  • CPU
    • Custom x86 processor
    • 2.7GHz clock speed
    • Hyperthreading
  • Memory
    • 16GB RAM
    • 484GB/s transfer speed
    • 9.5MB of L2/L3 cache

For reference, the PS4 Pro delivers 4.2 TFLOP/s, and the Xbox One X can push 6 TFLOP/s. That’s an awful lot of grunt from that custom GPU. But there’s more: Google Stadia GPU/compute instances can be combined for additional performance.

Google Stadia specs

A demo was shown with fluid dynamics, a notoriously computationally-expensive thing to render. But perhaps a more real-world example was couch co-op. Where developers have been dropping splitscreen from games in recent years, citing the graphical fidelity of the experience as the deciding factor, combining the power of multiple Stadia instances will allow for splitscreen, co-op gameplay with no loss in performance.

Assuming, of course, you have the network performance for it.

One elephant in the room was bandwidth. Google was very keen to trumpet the benefits of its low latency, multi-homed global data centre infrastructure, but there was no minimum client-side bandwidth requirement offered during the presentation. In a world with ropey ISPs and players who will want to use 4G mobile data, that’s going to be a crucial factor.

The other elephant was the pricing model. From spending time around the Google Stadia demo area today, this one has developers nervous. Is it going to be an all-you-can-eat service like Netflix? If so, how do the developers get paid? Are you still going to need to buy games? Are you going to be billed by usage? Is it going to be ad-supported? Nobody really knows at this stage, and it was a stark omission from Google’s slick presentation.

So we asked. We spoke to one of the Google Stadia reps about both of these elephants, and were told they have “nothing to announce” on either point.

As for supplying the games – in addition to partnering with Ubisoft on Assassin’s Creed, Bethesda and Id Software on Doom Eternal, and with indies Tequilla Works and Q-Games on unannounced titles – Google is creating its own first-party development and publishing arm to supply Stadia with software. There are also interesting new features, like the ability to jump straight into playing a game from watching a trailer or stream on YouTube.

Performance, price, and software catalogue will be the key test for Google Stadia. Based on an initial hands-on with it today in GDC, Dan told me that the Stadia controllers aren’t available to try. Instead they are “hooked up to Chromebooks with wired Logitech controllers, but it works. Amusing that they have to keep the books open though; someone closed one and the TV went blank.”

Google Stadia chromebook

We suspect that’s a limitation of the cheap Chromebook hardware than Stadia itself, but it’s funny to see these little kinks after such a slick presentation.

We’ll find out more about Google Stadia in due course, with a release window of “2019” and more information on that release schedule – including launch titles, pricing models, and presumably, bandwidth requirements – in summer of this year.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


Recommended for you


Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

News

Four classic Double Fine adventures ported to macOS Catalina, free for a limited time

Pick up four brilliant Double Fine adventures for free this weekend, playable on macOS Catalina for the very first time.

Published

on

Grim Fandango Remastered
Double Fine

Pick up four brilliant Double Fine adventures for free this weekend, playable on macOS Catalina for the very first time.

Double Fine, Tim Schafer’s legendary adventure game studio recently acquired by Xbox, has been remastering its back catalogue over the years. Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango have all received the spit-and-polish treatment, bringing these classic adventures to a new audience, a whole new generation of players.

But if you recently upgraded your Apple Mac to macOS Catalina, you might have found they no longer worked. To be fair, you’ll have found lots of things stopped working. Indie development Twitter is filled with horror stories of games that suddenly broke on Catalina, while the economics to put it right often doesn’t stack up.

Thankfully, Double Fine has managed to find the time to fix the issue, and those classic remasters – Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango – plus the more-recent Broken Age have all been fixed up and ported to macOS Catalina.

To celebrate, Double Fine is making these games free for Mac users for a limited time. You can pick up Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango and Broken Age from the Apple Mac app store for absolutely nothing until the end of the day on Sunday, July 12.

(They’ll be back up to full price on Monday, but they’ll still be brilliant.)


Follow Thumbsticks on FacebookGoogle NewsTwitter, and Flipboard for the latest video game news.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


Recommended for you


Continue Reading

News

New PlayStation 4 releases (July 13-17, 2020)

Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima headlines next week’s lineup of new PlayStation 4 video game releases.

Published

on

New PlayStation 4 game releases
Sony / Thumbsticks

Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima headlines next week’s lineup of new PlayStation 4 video game releases.

Another month, another eagerly-anticipated PlayStation 4 exclusive. This time it’s open-world action-adventure Ghost of Tsushima from Sucker Punch Productions.

We recall playing Infamous Second Son shortly after the launch of the PlayStation 4, so it feels appropriate to bookend the generation with a demonstration of how far the studio has come. We have a suspicion that Ghost of Tsushima is going to do very well. It’s also another late-generation example of how much power the PS4 still has to give.

We’re not so sure about Rocket Arena, which, following a long period of development, was unveiled at month’s EA Play Live. It’s an artistically bland 3v3 third-person shooter that looks both fun and forgettable.

We’re more excited to get our hands on Superhot: Mind Control Delete. The game began life as DLC for Superhot Team’s acclaimed time-bending action game, before becoming a full-blown follow-up. If you purchased the first game – i.e. you paid cash and didn’t get it through PS Plus – you can download Superhot: Mind Control Delete for free. It’s a fantastic gesture from a talented studio.

Other new PS4 releases include Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus and Neversong.

We are still waiting on release date confirmation for a couple of new PS4 titles. We’ll update this page as soon as we get it.

New PlayStation 4 releases: July 13-17, 2020

Monday, July 13, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

  • Neon Abyss
  • Rocket Arena

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

  • Ultra Hat Dimension

Thursday, July 16, 2020

  • #Funtime
  • Neversong
  • Radical Rabbit Stew
  • Superhot: Mind Control Delete

Friday, July 17, 2020

  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus

Bookmark the Thumbsticks new releases page for the latest video games. You can also follow us on social media via Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


Recommended for you


Continue Reading

News

A remake of a GBA classic is out today on Nintendo Switch

The much-loved Harvest Moon game gets a new lease of life as Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town on Nintendo Switch.

Published

on

Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town - Nintendo Switch
Marvelous

A much-loved Harvest Moon game gets a new lease of life on Nintendo Switch.

Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is a ground-up remake of Marvelous Interactive’s classic Game Boy Advance life simulation, Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town. (The reason for the name change is that Harvest Moon is now used exclusively by Natsume following a split between the two companies in 2014.)

The game is out today for Nintendo Switch in Europe and Australia, and will be released in North America next week, on July 14, along with a PC edition on Steam.

The new version of the game retains the gameplay of the 2003 original but adds bold cartoon-like HD visuals. The new look reminds us of recent Pokémon games, which is no bad thing. It’s also accompanied by new animal-themed cosmetic DLC that lets players dress up like a cow, chicken, dog, chick or sheep. Dreams can come true, it seems.

On the surface, Friends of Mineral Town might look similar to Animal Crossing: New Horizons but it’s a distinctly more structured experience. In our humble opinion, the game’s core loop of farming, animal husbandry, and relationship building has never been bettered by the franchise, and we’re looking forward to playing a life sim that keeps things simple.

The game has its own easy-going rhythm and is well worth a look if you have exhausted Nintendo’s effort or had your fill of Stardew Valley.


Check out the Thumbsticks new releases page for weekly Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 updates. You can also follow us on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


Recommended for you


Continue Reading

News

The new PS5 box art design compared to PS4, PS3, PS2, and PS1

Sony reveals the box art design for PlayStation 5 games with the cover of Spider-Man Miles Morales. Here’s how it compares to PlayStation box art design from the past.

Published

on

Spider-Man PlayStation 5 Box Art
Insomniac Games

Sony has revealed the box art design for PlayStation 5 games with the cover of Spider-Man Miles Morales. Here’s how it compares to PlayStation box art layouts from the past.

There’s not a huge amount to say about the PlayStation 5 box art design. PS5 games will come in a standard-sized Blu-ray case, and the cover art will feature the PS5 logo in black on a white stripe. The design is pretty consistent with the box art layouts Sony has used in the past, with a couple of notable exceptions.

Here’s a look back at previous PlayStation box art designs, using old Spider-Man games as examples.

PlayStation 4 – Marvel’s Spider-Man

Spider-Man PlayStation 4 Box Art

The PlayStation 4 design includes a similar stripe across the top of the box, but in blue. Late PS3 games also adopted this design in 2015. We love the cover art for Marvel’s Spider-Man. It’s bright, bold, dynamic, and refreshingly simple. Top marks.

PlayStation 3 (Second version) – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man PlayStation 3 cover art

Sony revised the PlayStation 3 cover art layout with the introduction of the PS3 Slim console in 2009. It’s a sleek and stylish improvement over…

PlayStation 3 (First version) – Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man PlayStation 3 Box Art

The original PlayStation 3 branding caused much mirth by using the same typeface as Sony’s Spider-Man movie franchise. The font is not particularly readable and when used on a Spider-Man game, it’s all kinds of messy.

PlayStation 2 – Spider-Man

Spider-Man PlayStation 2 cover art

The PlayStation 2 branding retains the original PlayStation font and colour version of the logo. The design is now so iconic that it’s almost impossible to critique. Simple and timeless.

PlayStation 1 – Spider-Man

Spider-Man PlayStation 1 Box Art

We’re in CD-ROM country. Again, it’s basic, but all the better for it. The layout does a much better job of selling a game than Nintendo managed with its fussy and inconsistent N64 boxes.

PSP and PS Vita

Spider-Man PSP PS Vita Box Art

The box art branding for PSP and PlayStation Vita games is also reflective of their respective eras.

We apologise for bringing up memories of bad Activision Spider-Man games in this article.


Swing by the Thumbsticks news page for the latest in gaming. You can also follow us on FlipboardFacebookGoogle News, and Twitter.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


Recommended for you


Continue Reading

News

Sony invests $250m in Fortnite developer Epic Games

Sony Corporation has invested a cool $250 million into Fortnite and Unreal Engine developer Epic Games.

Published

on

Epic Games Logo
Epic Games

Sony Corporation has invested a cool $250 million into Fortnite and Unreal Engine developer Epic Games.

PlayStation owner Sony has ploughed $250 million into Epic Games via a wholly-owned subsidiary, acquiring a minority interest in the Fortnite creator. In a joint press statement, the two companies say that the investment will broaden collaboration across Sony’s entertainment portfolio and Epic’s social entertainment platforms.

Sony chairman, president, and CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida says:

“Epic’s powerful technology in areas such as graphics places them at the forefront of game engine development with Unreal Engine and other innovations. There’s no better example of this than the revolutionary entertainment experience, Fortnite. Through our investment, we will explore opportunities for further collaboration with Epic to delight and bring value to consumers and the industry at large, not only in games, but also across the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape.”

Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic, adds:

“Sony and Epic have both built businesses at the intersection of creativity and technology, and we share a vision of real-time 3D social experiences leading to a convergence of gaming, film, and music. Together we strive to build an even more open and accessible digital ecosystem for all consumers and content creators alike.”

Epic and the PlayStation-side of Sony have long been on good terms with both the PS4 and upcoming PS5 used to demonstrate the capabilities of Unreal Engine.


Follow Thumbsticks us on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard for more gaming news.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


Recommended for you


Continue Reading