Thursday, November 22

Google’s Project Stream – The Future Gaming Platform

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Google made some major moves this year, especially in the second half. They’ve changed some policies, signed some new contracts, threw massive amounts of money all around the place, and caused quite a ruckus. But, in no way were they just showing off their monetary prowess. All of their efforts were targeted at specific goals, like staying the default browser on Apple’s Safari.

This latest play indicated that Google is turning its attention to gaming, more than networking in general. They are still browser monopoly-oriented, sort to say, but instead of pursuing gaming development or publishing, Google is bringing games to the browser platform.

Yeah, you read that correctly.

By now, you must be saying: “But, I’ve played browser games before, what’s new about that?”

Google isn’t developing browser games they are bringing games to the browser… like, all of the games. Any game…potentially. Well, only Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is available, but the entire platform is in its testing stages, currently only in the US.

Project Stream

Google’s Project Stream is their first crack at streaming video games using the Chrome browser. As mentioned, it is currently in its testing stages where Google’s been inviting people from the United States to try it out, but only currently offering Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Testing of the new platform revealed that it actually works better than anyone expected. It doesn’t change the Google Chrome experience at the slightest. You can use your Tabs as you are used to, only now you can have one with a PC video game next to your browsing tab or Youtube.

Lag?

The jury is still out on this one, as people reported that the browser game stream runs perfectly while you have an Ethernet port plugged in. But, as far as shared Wi-Fi goes, you will have some stutters to be sure. Home Wi-Fi is still cool. Naturally, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has its own fluidity as a game, and the browser streaming platform requires more testing.

Is it hard to set up?

Project Stream is as easy to set up like any other PC game actually. You download it to your hard drive and you install it. The first-time setup process will take you through some mandatory steps. If you get the invite from Google to test it, you will get the game key which is paired to your Google account. The link will take you to the new page, where Google will do an Internet Speed Test. An optimal resolution for your bandwidth capability will be determined, along with your rating for MBps (MegaBytes per second).

The final step is creating a Ubisoft account to enable progress saves if you do not already have one that is. If you do, you simply sign in and you are ready to go.

Aspect Ratio

First problems people ran into concerned the different aspect ratios all the different platforms offered. It is thus far been determined that Project Stream works best on a typical 16:9 ratio monitor, since that’s the only ratio the service is actually outputting. If you have a 21:9 monitor, you will get black bars on both flanks. It is expected that Google will optimize this service for ultrawide monitors and other ratios.

There were also reports of problems with the 4K resolution since the platform wasn’t able to keep up with the gameplay at 4K, even at top connection speeds.

With that said, Project Stream running on Chromebook Pixel showed a great success. If your Wi-Fi was in order and everything is running up to snuff, the Chromebook’s experience is said to be as immersive as gaming on a PC. This might mean that Google is about to bring AAA games to a completely new audience.

When will the future become the present?

Project Stream is still far from finished. The gaming experience is fluid and immersive, you get cloud saves which are convenient, to say the least. The platform will be easy to get and navigate.

Both Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections showed no real issues with keeping the game running and maintaining the fluid gameplay. However, screen resolutions and aspect ratios are something Google still has to work on, before this future gaming platform really becomes the next big thing.

 

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