Google Stadia's Product Announcement Had an Tantalizing Feature Easter Egg
Google has set the stage for the roll out of Stadia, its Netflix-like all-you-can-eat buffet of games, in November. The headlining announcements revealed at launch, Stadia will offer three pricing options and a roster of more than 30 games. But Google’s most stunning announcement of the day may have also been the most subtle.
At its announcement, Google rattled off a flurry of trailers for big-name games like Baldur’s Gate 3 by Larian Studios. A majority of the footage didn’t include any actual gameplay, but Google did give us a sneak peek at a feature coming to Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint that will only be available on Stadia.
The online tactical shooter is already deep in development at Ubisoft, and is set to be released on October 4, ahead of Stadia’s launch. Team-based missions will be a central game mode where a players will attempt to pull off ambushes in the overgrown jungle landscape of the game. Thanks to Stadia’s “Stream Connect” feature, gamers will be able to experience Ghost Recon Breakpoint in a way that’s completely unique to Google’s platform.
When players join these missions, they’ll be able to see a live feed of what their teammates are seeing on-screen. The trailer showed depicted a gamer playing Ghost Recon Breakpoint with three smaller windows at the top left of their screen representing each of the users on their squad.
This split-screen functionality will enable players to not only rely on voice chat to coordinate attacks in-game, they’ll actually be able to see what one another is talking about. Every player will have easy viewing access to their teammates’ screen, meaning they will realize if one of them is in danger or note the precise second they’re all in their appointed positions. Asher Kagan, CEO of cloud gaming service Shadow, tells Inverse that these live stream split screen modes are only possible with the power of cloud computing.
“Cloud gaming completely removes the limitations of local hardware, they are not anymore dependent on a single GPU or single CPU,” he said. “These kind of things will start to create new type of games that are much more social interactive [and] that will only be available on cloud gaming.”
Rendering and displaying multiple screens is simply out of reach for consoles like the PlayStation 4 that have a finite amount of compute and graphics resources. Stadia, by contrast, will be powered by Google’s global network of data centers with arrays of graphics cards at their disposal.
Offering this power to consumers frees developers to create more ambitious multiplayer game features that aren’t possible on current hardware standards. Kagan envisions a future where gamers might also be able to interact with each other’s screens instead of just viewing them.
“[Imagine] one person can be a commander and everyone is a soldier and the commander can see all of the screen of the soldiers and even control some action,” he said. “They could mouse over another player’s screen in realtime and click and go tell them where to go.”
Ideas like these will begin to pick up steam as consumers begin to adopt cloud gaming en mass. Google’s stream connect is the first step toward an all new type of multiplayer gameplay that the age of game streaming will bring to life, and it’s only a few months away.