“It’s not all oreo and gummy bears but its close”
I’ve been testing out Google’s Project Stream for a while now and if you’ve read my first look I still think it’s the future. Before I get into the meat and potatoes of the actual service review I think I need to talk about Assassin Creed Odyssey.
Google choose to work with Ubisoft who has been vocal about their urge to get into the streaming business, and this was a wise choice. More on that later. Assassin Creed Odyssey is the latest game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, it is in my opinion one of the best if not the best game in the series. The previous game Assassin Creed Origins was fantastic for the record and my favorite game in the series, but that might be changing after spending a while with Odyssey. A long story short Odyssey may be the best action/ rpg game to date, and if you’re a fan of the genre you should give it a play through.
Now onto Google’s Project Stream service. I for one honestly expected the service to work as advertised. In my mind, we already stream music, movies, and T.V. Thinking about it more in-depth I realized how much of a task it actually is. Streaming a game is no minor feat, and that’s obviously why we really haven’t had many companies attempting it at this level, until now. Sure Nvidia has done it with the Shield and PlayStation has done it but those were all to one device (shield or ps4) while Google is streaming to hundreds if not thousands of different devices. All said what Google is doing at the level it’s doing it is simply amazing.
Step on once I had my invite I opened Chrome on my Chromebook pasted in my beta code and in seconds I was taken to Odyessy’s home screen.
From that point on it was exactly like playing the game on any console or PC (which is a good thing) It didn’t dawn on me that I was actually playing a game that wasn’t installed on my PC until someone came in the room and started talking to me about it. I literally stopped and had a smirk as I realized, yes this really isn’t installed on my machine. It was at that moment that I realized that this was something special, the future of gaming. I didn’t have to download a 100GB game file or wait for that download to finish. I simply clicked start a new game and it was business as usual.
These are screenshots taken from the game streaming to my PC with a wired ethernet connection.
Project Stream is efficient on hardware
I need to mention that I noticed the load times are much faster than any game that I have actually installed on my pc, including the games installed on the SSD. I’m not sure what type of storage or the RAM Google is using but I want some.
Google is aiming for 1080p visuals, what I can say is that when my connection was good I’d put the visuals on par with current generation base consoles (base model xbox one and ps4)
I mentioned earlier that Google’s choice of Assassin Creed was a good choice and it is for multiple reasons. The first reason is it a stunningly beautiful game if I was going to showcase my hardware or services Assassin’s Creed would be the game to do it with. The next reason is the speed at which your control input needs to be. Games like Assassin Creed don’t require lighting quick responses like a first-person shooter would, this makes any potential input lag much less noticeable. In my experience, I’ve not noticed any input lag so far. As a learning experience, Google couldn’t have really chosen a better game to start with.
Another thing that I noticed about Project Stream is that its efficient on hardware. I played more than a few hours on my Pixelbook (Chromebook) and it never really became warm, It was very slightly above room temperature to the touch. For reference, the Pixelbook has a full aluminum chassis and its used to dissipate heat from the processor/ GPU. It gets HOT! just playing some android games like Asphalt 8 or Arena of Valor. Again not the case with Project Stream, I’m sure it actually takes less power to play Assassin Creed Odyssey than it does most 3d android games, that’s nuts.
Now let’s get to the negative, it’s not all oreo and gummy bears but its close. This is likely more of a problem on my end than on Googles, but I do suspect some of the blame lies with Google. The best way I can explain it is when you’re watching a video on Youtube in HD and your signal gets weak and the quality drops and the video gets muddy. I’ve had that happen a few times, but not often enough to make my experience negative. My router has been acting up a little bit lately but speed test when I did check it was over 250MBps where Google only requires 15MBps for the game to launch. This is why I suspect part of it might be on Googles end. Like Youtube when the video quality drops and it continues to play, so does the game, I never lost control over the character even when the resolution dropped. I suspect that over time as the internet infrastructure in the U.S. gets better and 5G becomes widespread that these visual dips will become practically nonexistent. This is just a beta after all. That brings me to my final thoughts.
After spending an extended amount of time using Googles Project Steam I’m sold. It’s just the natural evolution, of game delivery. The same thing happened to music in the 1970’s – 00’s, 8 tracks to cassette, cassette to CD, CD to MP3 files, MP3 files to streaming. Most of us couldn’t find physical music media if we tried. It might not seem like it now if you haven’t experienced it but change has come and I’m fine with it and don’t care much to look back.