Details about Google’s Project Stream appear to be leaking ahead of its session at GDC 2019. Rumors say the search giant will launch it alongside a controller and possibly first-party games, but also some fascinating niche features.
According to Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, Google is planning for deep streamer integration. According to three separate sources, the company pictures viewers going from purchase to playing from the same point as the streamer in a matter of seconds.
This would allegedly work by transferring the save for a single player game or putting viewers in the same session for multiplayer ones. It would all be optional, with the streamer able to control if users can purchase or play with them.
The feature would build on previously rumored YouTube integration, which is said to be significant. Users would be able to click a button and have a relevant walkthrough automatically appear for help.
Project Stream vs xCloud
Even so, the defining feature of Project Cloud is removing the requirements for gaming from hardware to the internet connection. With it, Google could remove loading screens and lengthy downloads all while running titles at max settings.
However, Google is likely to face stiff competition from Microsoft. The company is readying its xCloud streaming service for release, with public trials coming this year. It’s clear both companies are nervous about the other, Microsoft holding an advantage in cloud and console infrastructure and Google being an expert at web services.
Though nothing of the sort is rumored, Microsoft could enable similar streamer functionality via its Mixer live streaming service. The site is already big on interaction, and integration at that level would push it further.
For now, though, it seems Microsoft is slightly further from release. Google already held public demos with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in its Chrome browser. On full release, it will reportedly support PC, Mac, Android, iOS, and TVs via Chromecast.
The catch will likely be forced use of Google’s browser, while Microsoft seems more intent on offering xCloud with as few software requirements as possible. We also don’t know exactly how monetization will work, and whether it will offer a ‘Netflix for games’ like Microsoft, or let users tap into their existing library.
Google’s big GDC session at 1 pm ET should shed light on those plans, or at least answer some of user’s questions. Still, at this point, it’s thought unlikely Google will launch a full-fledged streaming console.