Google has announced Project Stream. It’s a new video game streaming service designed to allow high-end PC and console games to be played via Chrome. You can sign up for Project Stream now to test the service and there’s no concrete launch or release date for it just yet. The first game that will be playable on Project Stream is Assassin’s Creed Odyssey from Ubisoft. The game is officially available on October 5 and it will be playable through Chrome with Project Stream. No end date for this Project Stream test has been revealed just yet. In order to access Project Stream you need to be residing in the US and have a 25Mbps connection along with a computer running Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, or Linux. The company recommends the use of controller such as the PS4 DualShock 4 controller or the Xbox One controller.
“The idea of streaming such graphically-rich content that requires near-instant interaction between the game controller and the graphics on the screen poses a number of challenges,” writes Google Product Manager Catherine Hsiao in a post on the company blog that details the reasons for choosing a game like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. “When streaming TV or movies, consumers are comfortable with a few seconds of buffering at the start, but streaming high-quality games requires latency measured in milliseconds, with no graphic degradation.”
It’s unclear if Project Stream is related to Yeti, a rumoured streaming service in the works at Google that may include a controller and console. It could also work with Google Chromecast. According to The Information, the search giant is planning for a serious foray into game streaming, which is currently a nascent market.
This won’t be the only version of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey available via a streaming service. The Nintendo Switch version which is exclusive to Japan is another. As such, it has its own pricing structure: JPY 730 (about Rs. 470) per day or JPY 8,400 (about Rs. 5,440) for two years. If you’re wondering what’s up with the latter, that’s because it comes close to the full price of the game on other platforms: JPY 9,072 on PS4 and Xbox One. It’s the second game to use streaming on the Nintendo Switch, the first being Resident Evil 7.
It’s no coincidence then that Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has been talking up the benefits of game streaming prior to this announcement, going as far as to say the PS5 and next Xbox are the last-generation of consoles.
“I think we will see another generation, but there is a good chance that step-by-step we will see less and less hardware,” Guillemot said to Variety. “With time, I think streaming will become more accessible to many players and make it not necessary to have big hardware at home.
“There will be one more console generation and then after that, we will be streaming, all of us.”
According to him, that the ability to stream AAA games to more screens was one of the biggest innovations coming in the game industry.
“It is going to help the AAA game industry grow much faster,” he said. “We have to work on the accessibility of those games, to make sure they can be played on any device, but the fact that we will be able to stream those games on mobile phones and television screens without a console is going to change a lot of the industry.”
He thinks that experiments such as Nvidia’s GeForce Now will continue to evolve and become legitimate options.
“There are quite a few people that are working on streaming, like Nvidia,” Guillemot said. “So, we think it’s a trend and that it will continue to evolve. Eventually, the technology will improve dramatically, which will allow us to have a very smooth experience in the big cities of the world.”
In his vision of the future he believes that streaming will eventually be better than using a console or a PC.
“Technology is actually going in that direction. The machines will be more powerful and the system to transfer data will be more efficient, so at one point, we will have a better experience streaming something than having to buy a machine and change the machine regularly,” Guillemot said in conversation with IGN.