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Google’s Stadia lets you stream big-time games from nearly any device

Introducing Stadia from Google

At GDC 2019, Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled Stadia, Google’s new game streaming service that has a mission of making gaming accessible to everyone throughout the world.

Stadia uses Google’s data centers to handle the processing power, allowing you to game at 4K resolutions with 60fps on virtually any device you own, regardless of its own processing power. In fact, former Sony and Microsoft executive Phil Harrison took the stage to demonstrate this feature.

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Harrison showed off Assassin’s Creed Odyssey running on a laptop, then a phone, then a desktop, then a tablet, and finally a PC. That’s right, Stadia is compatible with PCs, tablets, smartphones, and TVs via Google Chromecast. Some TVs have Chromecast built-in, or you can buy the HDMI adapter.

What’s more, you can pick up your session directly where you left off on a separate device. Similar to the Nintendo Switch, you can play on TV at home and then switch to a smartphone on the go.

All USB controllers currently compatible with your devices will work with Stadia. That seems to suggest you will be able to use PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch controllers to play games through the service. That is a neat addition that completely removes the need to buy additional hardware.

However, the dedicated Stadia controller has its perks. The controller, which will come in black or white, takes the shape of the Xbox One controller but has the thumbstick placement of the PS4 gamepad. The controller has a capture button that lets you immediately share and save gameplay clips to YouTube either for yourself or for an audience. Streaming via YouTube allows you to record footage in 4K and 60fps.

It also has an assistant button that will provide instant help with tricky parts of games, like finding the solution to a puzzle or where to go next.

The Stadia controller connects via Wi-Fi to the data center, linking the controller to the screen you are currently playing on automatically. This could prove to be a welcome feature as opposed to re-syncing third-party controllers each time you switch devices.

Stadia is the culmination of the Project Stream test featuring Assassin’s Creed Odyssey last year. Price details haven’t been revealed, but Stadia will arrive sometime in 2019.

Google GDC 2019 Gaming Announcement

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Google Stadia's first exclusive game, Gylt, will be ported to other platforms in 2023. Tequila Works, the Spanish studio behind the game, confirmed that Gylt is going multiplatform in a brief announcement on its website Tuesday, just five days after Google announced it will be shutting down Google Stadia in January 2023.

Gylt is a 2019 horror game that explores themes of bullying and childhood nightmares. You play as Sally as she navigates a haunted world while searching for her missing cousin, Emily, and confronting her fears along the way. "Spooky season is around the corner … And we bring terrific news!" Tequila Works said in the blog post announcing the ports. "We’ve been working on it for a long time and it’s finally time to make it official: GYLT is going multiplatform in 2023!"

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The Google Stadia subreddit knew about the service’s shutdown just slightly ahead of the official announcement. Users had already been posting about the Stadia Store’s UI changes that day when somebody posted a screen they saw in the app about how the Stadia store was “now closed.” In a few minutes, the whole internet would know that Google had decided to shutter Stadia by January 18, 2023, and refund all hardware and game purchases.

Stadia had a rocky launch and was never able to recover. So while the official Stadia Twitter account tried to squash rumors it was shutting down a few months ago, it couldn't stop what people saw as inevitable. However, it still came as a huge shock to many in the Stadia community. While Google is offering refunds on purchases, it can't fix what had become a tightly knit community of people who needed the failing platform to play.

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Google recently announced that it plans to shutter its cloud gaming service Stadia in early 2023, leaving players who used it as one of their primary platforms in an awkward situation. Google already promised to refund people for their Google Stadia hardware and software purchases, but people are still losing access to games they enjoyed and save files they possibly dumped hours into. Thankfully, some developers are working on ways to help Stadia players.
The most notable studio to help Stadia players is Ubisoft, which was Google's earliest partner for the technology via an Assassin's Creed Odyssey demo. "While Stadia will shut down on January 18, 2023, we're happy to share that we're working to bring the games you own on Stadia to PC through Ubisoft Connect," Ubisoft tweeted. "We'll have more to share regarding specific details, as well as the impact for Ubisoft+ subscribers, at a later date." Thankfully, the Stadia versions of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6, Immortals Fenyx Rising, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, and Watch Dogs: Legion support cross-progression, so players won't lose their save files.
Ubisoft isn't the only developer to help. Developer Muse Games is giving Embr Steam codes to those who played its comedic co-op firefighting game on Stadia if they email the developer with screenshots of Embr in their Stadia library. Meanwhile, IO Interactive confirmed that it is "looking into ways for you to continue your Hitman experience on other platforms," as the World of Assassination trilogy was available on Google Stadia. 
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While the shutdown of Google Stadia is disappointing for players like myself who enjoy cloud gaming, at least players will be get refunds, and in some cases get the game for a new platform.

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