Google Stadia has sent a wave of anticipation through the gaming community—whether it is a nervous or excited energy will depend on your expectations of the cloud—but it is not actually Google’s first attempt at a game-streaming service.
Late last year, Google released a beta version of Project Stream, an experiment which they had created alongside Ubisoft. They had beta users test the (at the time) almost brand new game, Assassins Creed Odyssey, on their everyday-use laptops and computers. The results of the beta were surprising to most people involved; the gameplay was comparable to what you would expect from a gaming PC!
The main limiting factor for the quality of the gameplay in the Project Steam Beta was the consistency of the internet connection. With a reliable connection testers said that the visuals were “comparable to what you’d get on a console”. Android Central went as far as to claim that Sony and Microsoft should watch out because “Google might make a traditional game console obsolete“.
The game was even playable on a 5 year old Chromebook, where the old hardware had no negative effects on the gameplay experience.
All in all, the reviews for the Project Steam beta were very positive, and people seemed genuinely surprised by the quality that the games were played at. Considering that Project Steam is the official prototype for Google Stadia, it is surely fair to expect big things—internet connection dependent, of course.