Phil Harrison won’t budge. As a vice president and general manager at Google, he’s spent the past 15 minutes explaining why Stadia, the company’s freshly announced game-streaming service, will actually work on the existing internet infrastructure across North America and Europe. He’s focused on the investments Google has made over the past 20 years in cloud networks, talking up the company’s 7,500 server nodes, custom CPUs and partnerships with major internet service providers.
I’m hesitant to believe him. I lived through the hype of OnLive a decade ago; we’ve heard these promises before, only to be sorely disappointed. Of course, 10 years on, Google is promising even more — seamlessly streaming games at 4K and 60fps with HDR, integrating “play now” options into YouTube, and even loading a specific section of a game via a hyperlink, on any platform, in just five seconds.
“It’s actually closer to three seconds than five seconds,” Harrison told me the day after revealing Stadia on the Google stage at GDC. “But we thought, you know what, five seconds is actually, probably a good enough promise.”