After months of rumors that Google was planning some kind of streaming service for video games, the company has now confirmed it. Dubbed Project Stream, the system is due for its first public test this week, with lucky participants getting to have a crack at Assassin's Creed: Odyssey right from a browser tab.
While it might seem like the natural next step after services like Netflix, streaming games brings a whole new bunch of challenges with it. Not only are the environments and characters rendered in real-time, but gaming is more of a two-way street, with immediate feedback needed between a player pressing a button and the character performing an action.
With that much pressure on the tech, Google is running the limited test from Friday. And it's chosen a pretty beefy game for its first run, too – Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, which also happens to be launching that same day. According to Google, the game will be streamed at a resolution of 1080p and 60 frames per second.
Since Project Stream outsources the graphical heavy lifting to Google's servers, the game can be run in a Google Chrome browser window on basically any laptop or desktop. But of course, that means your internet connection will need to be up to scratch – the company says you'll need at least a 25 Mbps connection to take part.
If this kind of tech gets off the ground, it could really change the nature of gaming. After all, who needs a dedicated game console when the big new releases can be played on a laptop, a phone – even a fridge, if it's got a web browser. Still, with so much of the world suffering through subpar internet speeds, we're probably a long way off that reality.
That said, Google isn't the only company dipping its toes in these waters. This latest Assassin's Creed game will also be streamable to the Nintendo Switch (albeit only in Japan), following Capcom's Resident Evil 7 earlier this year. At E3 back in June, Microsoft let slip that it's working on a similar service for the next generation of Xboxes, and it already offers game streaming from an Xbox One to a Windows PC, if they're on the same home network. And Sony lets players stream PS2, PS3 and PS4 games to a PS4 console through PlayStation Now.
There's no word on how long you might get to play the game, but those interested in taking part in Google's test can sign up on the Project Stream website. Along with the 25 Mbps connection requirement, it's also only open to US residents over 17 years of age.
The video below apparently shows Assassin's Creed: Odyssey streaming at 1080p at 60 fps.
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