One of the more exciting bits of news from 2018 was the reveal of Google’s Project Stream: a game streaming platform allowing gamers to play AAA titles at 1080p/60fps using nothing but a browser and a fast internet connection. The first game to be playable in Project Stream as part of the platform’s test run was Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
The Project Stream beta test period ended last week on January 15.
Now that the initial public run of Project Stream is done, we’re left wondering: now what? Google has been pretty upfront about the possibilities of Project Stream and the early-access beta period seemed — from the outside looking in, anyway — to be a real success. However, we have no idea what Google has planned next.
Will there be another game?
The lucky gamers whom Google selected to take part in the Project Stream beta test got to play one of the hottest AAA titles of the year for free. In fact, any beta tester who played Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for more than one hour is eligible to receive a free copy of the game via Ubisoft’s Uplay platform.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear those free copies have been distributed yet. However, we’d give it a few more weeks before becoming concerned that Google/Ubisoft aren’t going to follow through on that promise.
This all begets the question: is there another game lined up for a future second iteration of the Project Stream beta test? While Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a title that would seriously tax a modest gaming rig if played at 1080p/60fps, Google surely could push things even further. Perhaps an even more graphics-intensive game slated to release early this year, such as the new Doom title or Metro Exodus, could push the limits of what Project Stream can support.
Or, Google could go the opposite direction and announce a new beta test of Project Stream with multiple 2018 titles on offer. Instead of trying to push one graphics-intense game, Google could try to support a handful of titles all at once.
Unfortunately, we don’t know the answers to these questions. For now, all Google is saying to us is “Thanks for playing.”
Is this it?
Since Google is mum on what the next steps are for Project Stream, we also have to accept the possibility that this first test was it. It’s totally possible that now that Google has proven Project Stream as a concept works, it’s going to privately develop the actual product that Project Stream will inevitably become.
This could mean that we won’t hear any more about Project Stream until it makes its real debut at some point in the future, complete with (we expect, anyway) a different name and some sort of pricing plan.
Another possibility — though less likely — is that Google has no intentions of making a Project Stream product. Instead, the company could simply license the streaming tech behind Project Stream out to other platforms such as Steam, Origin, or the brand new Epic Games Store. This would make Google plenty of cash, but Google’s current absence from the very lucrative gaming industry leads us to think that Project Stream is going to be the company’s entry into the market, not a product it licenses out. However, we could be in for a surprise.
What do you think? We know we haven’t heard the last of Project Stream, but what will the next step be? Will we see more beta tests with different games, or will we see the final product next instead? Let us know your theories in the comments.
Also, if you were lucky enough to take part in the beta program, let us know about your experience.
January 22, 2019 at 09:36AM