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(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 21, 2019 a visitor plays a cloud-game at the stand of Google Stadia during the Video games trade fair Gamescom in Cologne, western Germany. - Ever-expanding Google becomes a gaming company Tuesday with the launch of its Stadia cloud service that lets people play console-quality video games on a web browser or smartphone. The internet giant hopes to break into the growing $135 billion global video game industry with cloud technology that could broaden audiences attracted by rich new features. (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)

Take A Look At Google’s Stadia Cloud Game Service

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Gamers are currently counting down to Tuesday’s launch of Google’s feature-rich, on-demand offering Stadia cloud game service. But is its bang as big as its much-advertised buck?


News agency AFP had a chance to gain a first impression at Stadia’s Paris office in advance of the launch. Google bids to raise the bar to new ultra-high-definition heights to win greater heft in the global video game industry worth an estimated $135 billion (₦48.8 trillion).


A screen problem forced the Google team to scale back resolution to high-definition television quality while sampling four of the 12 games that will be available at launch.


Notwithstanding the glitch, the graphic quality certainly stood out. According to estimates by the US tech giant, the computing power under the hood is ample enough to allow players not to worry about technical limitations of their own hardware causing lags or snaps in the action.


The depth of field, design finesse and color rendition all stood out for the showcasing of games. This includes Mortal Kombat, Destiny 2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider as well as Gylt. Gylt is an original production exclusively for Stadia from Spanish studio Tequila Works.


Google's Stadia Cloud Game Service
Photo: Ina Fassbender / AFP


Image fluidity was also up to the mark. Google’s Chromecast Ultra device must be plugged into a TV for Stadia sessions. Meanwhile, a custom Stadia controller connects via WiFi directly to Google servers where game software is hosted.


In essence, screens are just windows for viewing in-game activity being handled at data centres.


In usage terms, it’s on par with using a home console in terms of seamless on-screen response to joystick movements. Although, beyond that, Stadia is touting much shorter boot-up times.


Whereas it can take some hours to install a purchased game on a console, Stadia does this in seconds.


Even a small-scale test run using few servers could not erase all question marks, a key one being the quality and stability of the connection once there is the expected onrush of competitors firing up on November 18 and thereafter.


Does commute compute?

Another unknown is the extent to which one can play away from one’s own home on a variety of media. Stadia promises to allow gamers the possibility of starting off a session on one’s television and then switching to a smartphone during, for example, a commute.


Photo by Ina Fassbender / AFP


That functionality will not immediately be available. However, it may be possible to switch between media provided one uses a Google Pixel or a computer. One also needs to connect using WiFi to make sure gameplay data moves quickly and reliably over the internet.


AFP envisages a roaming option, however, it is not yet clear when Google will make this available.


In addition, users require a corded connection to connect the controller to a computer or smartphone with TV gaming the only wireless option immediately.


Another issue with Stadia’s current configuration is its limited catalogue. Just 12 games are available to date — a drop in the ocean compared with PC or console title offerings.


A keen gamer seeking out very high graphic quality and almost no fluidity lag or downscaling will have to cough up for the privilege. They will need a 4K-capable TV, a top drawer smartphone and a high-speed internet connection.

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