Google believes that the future of Cloud Gaming is in the browser. A Chrome browser to be precise. They’ve invited a select number of people to try their upcoming Project Stream Cloud Gaming service. We spent the weekend testing Project Stream, and our first impressions might surprise you.
Improving the Browser Gaming Experience
The Browser is not typically the best place to enjoy Cloud Gaming. There can be overhead that makes it difficult to achieve flawless low latency. With that said, if you’re going to make it work, it helps to have full control over the browser. Google is positioned to do just that.
You’re probably aware that Google is the developer behind the Chrome Browser. They took some time to tweak Chrome leading up to the beta of Project Stream. On the technical side, Chrome supports a video streaming mode that pushes video frames rather than buffering them. While this is isn’t specifically targeted at Project Stream, it still lays the groundwork for quality Game Streaming.
Playing through Project Stream
Getting started with Project Stream is about as simple as it gets. All you have to do is visit the Project Stream website and then click a single button to start Gaming.
Project Stream officially supports Mouse & Keyboard and wired gamepads (including the Dualshock 4 controller). However we decided to push the envelope and test it wirelessly over Bluetooth. I’m happy to report that our Xbox One S controller worked just fine with Project Stream. We also tested using a Mouse & Keyboard and experienced similar latency.
If you were to compare the latency of Project Stream with established services, it feels very similar to playing through Shadow. Which means that input latency is very low and is barely distinguishable from playing natively on a Gaming PC.
Project Stream’s video quality is top notch. We didn’t notice any compression or artifacting while playing. If you’re curious, you’re welcome to check out our Gameplay Video on YouTube.
Through every step of the experience you can tell that Google’s priority is simplicity. They want anyone to be able to easily use their service. While this is typically a positive thing, it also means that there isn’t much that you can customize in Project Stream.
In its current state there is no Settings Menu that allows for quality adjustments. You won’t be able to set your resolution or streaming bit rate. For our test this wasn’t a big deal. Things performed well as-is. But if you were someone that ran into problems, then you’re out of luck. You’ll just have to wait to see if things improve during future tests.
Our early impressions of Project Stream are very positive. The Gaming experience as powerful and bug-free. We didn’t have any difficulties with launching and playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
It is important to point out that Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the only title currently available through Project Stream. Google and Ubisoft are generously allowing testers to play the game until January of 2019.
Project Stream is only available to play through a computer’s browser. There isn’t any mobile version of the service at this time. It’s fair to assume that there will be more tests in the future, and that if Google decides to move forward with the service, more Games will come.
Project Stream is something that we will keep our eye on. It has the potential to be an incredibly accessible Cloud Gaming option that could become available world wide.
Josh is a long-time Gamer and Technology Guru. He is known for his writing and troubleshooting skills. Josh can solve just about any problem, and is especially good at getting to the bottom of technology challenges. He has a background in Networking and holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree. When he’s not gaming, Josh can be found blogging, testing new tech, and interacting with Flickstiq’s social media following. He lives in Ohio with his wife and children.