Google Stadia, the cloud-based gaming service, is poised to debut next month. Stadia's initial release will allow subscribers to purchase games and play them at 4K and 60fps on a variety of hardware, including PCs and phones. The big trade-off for not having to own an expensive PC or console hardware to play games is the lag inherent to streaming, and barring a massive infrastructural overhaul, that lag is unlikely to improve in the years ahead. Google, however, has some thoughts about that.

While Google isn't planning to hasten improvements to internet infrastructure (Google Fiber pressed pause in 2018), it does plan to predict what game players will do before they do it, and then stream those actions back to players as they're actually doing the action. Speaking to Edge magazine, VP of engineering Madj Bakar reportedly described this technology as "negative latency," and he believes it could lead Google Stadia to have less latency than a PC within "a year or two."

For some players, the idea that Google could be accurately simulating a game player's gameplay in a matter of years might seem unlikely. However, if the company is somehow able to implement this so-called "negative latency" system, it would undoubtedly make Google Stadia more appealing, as one of the biggest criticisms of Stadia so far is that its inherent lag makes for frustrating gameplay in multiplayer games.

google stadia pro controller

Additionally, there is the question of what it would take for Google to implement predictive technology in order to create "negative latency." Perhaps Google will record actions and inputs from Stadia subscribers over gameplay sessions to facilitate its input predictions. For some players, something like this might feel slightly uncomfortable.

Google Stadia is certain to raise many more questions as its release approaches, including queries about ownership and access. Where the Xbox One's launch was controversial, due to its digital ownership ideas, Google Stadia explores that same paradigm shift years later. It doesn't take predictive technology to know things are going to get very interesting in the next few years.

Google Stadia will launch sometime in November in 14 countries, including the United States, Canada, and the UK.

Source: Edge (via PCGamesN)