Google on Tuesday finally unveiled its game streaming platform, which the search giant has dubbed Stadia. The new service is being billed as the future of gaming, where users don't need an expensive console or PC to stream high-end games.

Here's what you need to know about Stadia.

All the big details

What is Google Stadia?

Stadia is a new game streaming platform from Google that doesn't require an expensive console or PC. Instead, it uses the cloud to deliver high-end gaming to people around the world, whether they're using a smartphone, Chromebook, Chromecast, or tablet.

Because Stadia is built around the cloud, gamers can instantly access titles without the need of a physical disc or frustrating download. Google said gamers can boot up the game of their choice in as little as five seconds.

Phil Harrison, Vice President and GM of Google Stadia, explained Google's approach to the new service:

Using our globally connected network of Google data centers, Stadia will free players from the limitations of traditional consoles and PCs.

When players use Stadia, they'll be able to access their games at all times, and on virtually any screen. And developers will have access to nearly unlimited resources to create the games they've always dreamed of.

When Stadia becomes available, Google says the service will stream games up to 4K and 60 frames per second with HDR and surround sound. In the future, Stadia may even support 8K streaming.

Google launches Stadia to take on the Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch

What games can I play?

Last year, Google launched a beta for an experiment known as Project Stream, which allowed gamers to play Assassin's Creed Odyssey through a Chrome. The test was designed to prove that high-end game streaming is possible through a browser—and on most devices, not just a powerful console.

Google didn't reveal which games Stadia will offer at launch though the company did talk about Doom Eternal. Additionally, Google showed off NBA 2K19 and Tomb Raider during its presentation, so it's say to say those games will be available to stream.

Notably, Google announced the launch of its own studio, lead by Jade Raymond, that will create games exclusively for the new platform. Google didn't share details about what games we'll see from this new studio, but it did say more information will be shared in the summer.

How can I stream Stadia?

Google has yet to clarify what type of internet connection is needed for Stadia. But Google's "instant access" approach will likely need good-to-great internet in order for Sadia to work as seamlessly as promised.

When Project Stream kicked off, the beta test required download speeds of at least 15 megabits per second and latency of 40 milliseconds or less. Not everyone has access to great internet, so although Stadia breaks the barriers of owning an expensive console, it presents other potential obstacles.

Assuming your internet connection is solid, you'll be able to access Stadia on a variety of devices, including a TV, laptop, desktop, tablet, and smartphone. According to Google, users will be able to seamlessly move between the device of their choice when playing a game, so they can always pick up right where they left off.

What controllers work with Stadia?

Stadia will support a number of Bluetooth controllers at launch, including controllers from Microsoft and Sony. Gamers will also be able to use a keyboard and mouse for more precise control.

Additionally, Google is launching its own controller that features deeper integration with Stadia. The layout is pretty traditional by gaming standards, with two additional buttons with extra Stadia functionality.

One button is for Google Assistant, in case you need help during a particularly challenging puzzle. The other button is for sharing content on YouTube. Users will have control over how their clips are shared, whether it be private or among select friends.

The controller can also directly connect to Stadia through Wi-Fi "for the best possible gaming performance."

When the Stadia controller launches, it'll be available in white, black, and aqua, similar to the company's Pixel smartphone lineup.

Integration with YouTube

As you'd expect, Stadia will have deep integration with YouTube.

In a world where there are more than 200 million people watching game-related content daily on YouTube, Stadia makes many of those games playable with the press of a button. If you watch one of your favorite creators playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, simply click the "play now" button. Seconds later, you'll be running around Ancient Greece in your own game/on your own adventure—no downloads, no updates, no patches and no installs.

Stadia has also been designed to bring YouTube creators and audiences together. Say your favorite content creator is playing NBA 2K19. With a new feature called Crowd Play, you'll be able to request to play with or against them with the press of a button.

If you're an aspiring content creator, Stadia will make it really easy to capture content, create highlights, and livestream gameplay, with no extra capture cards or complicated setup.

Finally, users will be able to access Google Assistant to watch YouTube videos while playing a game. Say, for example, you can't figure out the solution to a puzzle. Just ask Assistant for help and it will find a YouTube video with the answer.

When does Stadia launch?

Google didn't reveal an exact launch date for Stadia, saying it will be available sometime this year in the US, Canada, Europe, and the UK. The search giant said to expect more information this summer.

Learn more

Stadia is being billed as the future of gaming, both for consumers and developers. If the service does truly live up to Google's hype, our very concept of gaming could drastically change.

If you want to learn more, you can sign up for updates at Google's website.

Sign up for Stadia updates