AOn a table at Google's booth at the Gamescom Gamescom is a Chromebook laptop with a 24-inch screen connected to it, and the fast-paced, high-gloss scenes of the new remake-style "Doom Eternal" epic: smoke, explosions, dazzling Lights and shadows.
At first glance, the scene does not differ from other booths at the show, everywhere the latest titles flicker across the screens. But trade visitors are still astonished – because actually the weak-breasted Chromebooks are budget devices, just for web surfing, typing and Youtube. That now a new, graphically demanding 3d game like Doom in high resolution on such a device is running, is actually impossible.
"We deliberately took Chromebooks to show what Stadia would do," says Hannah Samland of Google. For the first time, the Group is showing a broad audience in Germany how the new cloud gaming service Stadia works.
The basic idea of Cloudgaming: The elaborate 3D graphics of modern computer games is no longer calculated locally on the computer of the player, but generated on servers in data centers and sent as a video stream over the network. What sounds simple, however, is extremely complex – not for nothing Google shows the game "Doom".
Google Stadia with PC on par
Because who wants to win here, requires reflexes in the millisecond range, must react quickly enough to opposing actions in the game. Players move through labyrinthine levels with complex jumps, shoot at passing shadows, in short: If the computer reacts with delay to the inputs of the player, then the game is no longer fun.
Google's manager Phil Harrison, head of the gaming division, said at the launch of the service in the spring that latency was not an issue. The inputs of the players would be implemented even faster – after all, the server to coordinate various games in the same data center.
Microsoft's gaming boss Phil Spencer, on the other hand, considers Cloudgaming to be just a casual solution. In an interview with the US specialist publication Gamespot, he emphasized that the performance of streaming solutions has not yet reached the console or the PC.
"The experience is just not the same." The different positions of Google and Microsoft – one does not want to sell consoles, the other already – may be related to the positioning. Microsoft plans this year to bring its own service under the name Xcloud in the beta test, which should complement the in-house game consoles.
WELT was already able to try out Google's Stadia at Gamescom, the result: The graphics in the stand or during slow movements is on par with the PC. But as soon as fast turns come into play, light sources blur, the graphics smear easily. This works even better on a real PC with a 120 Hz monitor.
Cloud gaming needs top speed
Not only Google and Microsoft rely on Cloudgaming, in 2019 a whole range of providers come with their own cloud gaming services on the market or at least publicly test in the beta phase – for the launch of Gamescom also announced the German Telekom under the name Magenta Gaming the start of our own service. For more than a year in semi-public beta test is also the offer "Geforce Now" of the graphics card specialist Nvidia. And last but not least, Vodafone announced its own 5G-based service designed to deliver high-definition games to smartphones and mobile devices.
In short, an entire industry scents morning air and in the future tries to bring casual gamers to the conclusion of a hardware subscription. Anyone who has hitherto been afraid of investing heavily in their own high-performance game hardware in the form of a new console or, significantly more expensive, a current gaming PC can now simply rent it for ten euros a month as needed. In addition, Cloudgaming can bring games to devices and to places where no high-end computer is available or the hardware is too slow: TVs in hotel rooms, smartphones, work computers, netbooks.
The only requirement is a correspondingly fast Internet line: Google requires a line with about 15 megabits of free capacity for games in 1080p HD resolution. For 4k resolution – equivalent to the resolution of a modern television in most living rooms – 35 megabits ago.
Cloudgaming is thus becoming a good business for Internet providers. Naturally, Deutsche Telekom emphasizes that cloudgaming requires fast, low-latency connections and requires a 50-megabit line for 4k games. Competitor Vodafone sees cloud gaming as an ideal application for the upcoming fast 5G mobile network – the cloud games for smartphones and tablets could be the first residential application that justifies the conclusion of a corresponding 5g contract.
For the coming competing offers, it is now important to ensure the support of as many game studios, so that the latest blockbuster titles run on their own platform – Google can at Gamescom already the surprise hit of the fair, the science fiction Game Cyberpunk 2077, claim for themselves. Microsoft will make popular XBox titles playable without buying the console. How much the blockbuster titles will cost in addition to the basic rent is not yet clear. For example, Google plans with different price levels, the games are already included in the more expensive monthly subscription.
A side effect of playing in the cloud could be that gaming is not only cheaper, but also more environmentally friendly: Players no longer have to buy their computers every few years, instead the cloudgaming providers are creating their own specialized hardware. Since not all subscribers in the world play at the same time, the overall hardware consumption of hardware is likely to be lower.
In addition, the liquid-cooled servers in data centers run much more efficiently and thus more energy-efficient than loud-ventilating gaming PCs with 600-watt power supplies under their own desks, which spend a lot of time idling. Google is also one hundred percent for its data centers on electricity from renewable energy, Microsoft creates at least 60 percent.
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