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Google unveils cloud-based video game platform

Google LLC is launching a new cloud-based game streaming platform called Stadia.

The service, first unveiled by Google CEO Sundar Pichai at the company's March 19 Game Developers Conference keynote, will allow players to stream games via the Chrome browser on a range of devices, including desktops, laptops, and select phones and tablets. The games will be streamed from Google's globally connected network of data centers, eliminating the need for the player to use dedicated hardware such as traditional video game consoles or PCs.

Google also unveiled a dedicated gaming controller for the service. The Stadia controller will connect directly to Google's data center through Wi-Fi for optimal gaming performance. The controller includes an instant-capture button to save and share gameplay as well as a Google Assistant button and built-in microphone.

Google first demoed Stadia's cloud gaming tech in fall 2018 via its Project Stream initiative, during which testers were able to stream Ubisoft Entertainment SA's "Assassin's Creed Odyssey" game in 1080p full HD resolution at 60 frames per second. Google is aiming to deliver games at resolutions of up to 4K with HDR and surround sound when the service launches later this year in select countries including the U.S., Canada, U.K. and much of Europe.

Microsoft Corp. is also working on its own cloud game-streaming service, Project xCloud, which will allow users to stream Xbox and Windows PC games on a variety of devices.

Google is a unit of Alphabet Inc.