Now we know what Jade Raymond is going to be doing at Google. Last week, the veteran of video game development announced she had accepted a vice-president role at Google.
At the time, there was no revelation as to what she'd be doing. But at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco today (March 19), Google laid out its plan for gaming and gamers, and Raymond is key to that plan.
Raymond started in the industry as a programmer for Sony. While working for Ubisoft in Montreal, she led the team that created Assassin's Creed, one of the most popular and lucrative game franchises. She later opened Ubisoft Toronto before moving back to Montreal to create Motive Studio for Electronic Arts.
Raymond is the head of Stadia Games and Entertainment, which is the creative wing of Google's new gaming initiative. This will include working with existing game developers as well as building a network of development studios to create new game experiences.
Google says that its game platform, Stadia, will get games out of the box and onto whatever screen they want to play on. The company also wants to more closely connect game-playing with game-watching.
The concept relies on cloud-based processing, so while you might not need a console or gaming computer to play, your gaming experience does rely on the quality of your high-speed Internet connection. But Google says that because it can create a nearly direct link between its data centres and the screen a player is using, the latency that can be so problematic when playing games over the Internet isn't an issue.
There is no connection to the "public" Internet, claims Google, so security and privacy are also protected.
Last year, Google and Ubisoft showed that a graphically-intense game, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, could be played in a browser at a resolution of 1080p and at 60 frames per second. The goal is to deliver 4K, HDR video at 60 fps.
And Stadia wants to make it easy for you to start playing, so you can go from watching a trailer for a new game and playing it within seconds. On any screen you happen to be using: computers, tablets, smartphones, and TVs.
During the March 19 presentation, Google showed a player moving from Chromebook to computer to smartphone to tablet to television (through a Chromecast), and the game appeared to continue exactly from where the player left off.
There is a controller to support this play. The Stadia game controller looks like others but connects through Wi-fi, and it identifies the screen you want to use, so you can use the same controller no matter what screen you use. It also includes a capture button so you can instantly share a video of your play, and a button to access Google Assistant, which can enable instant support, should developers choose to include that.
Stadia will be available this year in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and parts of Europe. Pricing for the service has not been announced.More