Google announced Project Stream today, which allows Google Chrome users to stream video games.
Project Stream is a new video game streaming service that Google is testing, and you can test yourself if you’re lucky. To be clear: this is not a service where people can stream footage of themselves playing video games like Twitch, it’s a service that lets people play games without downloading them by streaming them over the internet.
This kind of streaming technology for games has been an up-and-coming focus for some video game hardware companies like Microsoft and Sony. It saves users from taking up hardware space with large video games (which can sometimes be larger than 100 GBs) and opens up the possibility of services that allow players to play games for a limited time on a subscription basis.
Take a look at Google’s test of Project Stream with the upcoming game Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
All of this is being streamed across the internet, not played off of a hard drive or disc. The quality is impressive, to say the least.
As Google notes in its Project Stream announcement, buffering and latency on games can be extremely detrimental to a gaming experience.
“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,” project manager Catherine Hsiao wrote in the announcement.
New, big-production games also often require some expensive hardware to play them, but if players can stream the games, those requirements can be offloaded on the stream host, so Google’s setup would be handling all the processing.
There are existing services similar to this like graphics card company Nvidia’s GeForce Now, but it’s still in beta.
If Project Stream and other services like it get off the ground, it’ll be huge for gamers who can’t afford to drop $1,000 or more on a gaming computer.