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Google's Phil Harrison introduces the Stadia controller. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

Google on Tuesday unveiled what it sees as the future of video gaming: A streaming service called Stadia that allows anyone with a Chrome browser and a controller to experience console-quality gaming. It will launch this year, Google said, in the US, Canada and Europe.

Why it matters: Google's general approach — that what used to be a console for playing physical media is headed to the cloud — is widely shared. Microsoft and Amazon are also seen as likely entrants in this space.

Details: Google unveiled Stadia and the controller during a talk at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. So far, Google has announced that Stadia will offer:

  • Games can open in just 5 seconds
  • A single game can run on phones, tablets, TVs and computers
  • Stadia uses custom designed AMD graphics chips
  • Works with existing controllers and devices
  • Google will also have its own controller designed for Stadia, with buttons to stream to YouTube and summon Google Assistant to get help with the game
  • Players can share not just video of their game, but also the game state itself, letting others play from the same position. (Thought bubble: This is a very big deal.)
  • At launch, Google said Stadia will support up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second and eventually work at up to 8K resolution
  • Among the first games will be Id's Doom Eternal. Google will also have its own studio making Stadia games, to be led by Jade Raymond, formerly of Electronic Arts.

What they haven't said: What Stadia will cost and which games will be available. More details are coming this summer, it said.

Flashback: Google has been testing the technical underpinnings of its game-streaming technology since last fall, when it debuted Project Stream. With that, it streamed a single game, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, running off Google's servers.

Between the lines: The key to any gaming service is having the right content. Hence, today's appeal to developers.

Go deeper

23 mins ago - Sports

U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel wins 50-meter freestyle final, sets new Olympic record

Caeleb Dressel during the men's 100m butterfly final at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Xavier Laine/Getty Images

American swimmer Caeleb Dressel won gold and set an Olympic record in the men's 50-meter freestyle on Saturday, beating his own world record that he set in 2020.

Details: Dressel won the race in 21.07 seconds. France's Florent Manaudou won the silver medal, and Brazil’s Bruno Fratus bagged the bronze.

2 hours ago - Health

Florida records most new daily COVID cases in state since pandemic began

Nurses bring a portable x-ray machine to a treatment tent outside the emergency department at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida, set up to serve as an overflow area as the number of COVID-19 infections surges throughout Brevard County. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida reported 21,683 new COVID-19 cases — the most in the state in a single day since the pandemic began, per data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday.

The big picture: Florida is now the U.S. coronavirus epicenter, with the Delta variant driving a surge, Axios Tampa Bay's Ben Montgomery notes.

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

Chart: Less than 0.1% of vaccinated Americans tested positive for COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: CDC and state Covid dashboards. Dani Alberti/Axios

Of the 164 million vaccinated Americans, around 125,000 people have tested positive for breakthrough infections and 0.001% have died, according to state data compiled from state dashboards by NBC and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: While "breakthrough cases" have been getting media attention, the low numbers show that the pandemic is mostly a threat for the unvaccinated population.