Netflix revolutionized the way we watch movies and TV.   Google wants to do the same with video games. This new service is called “Project Stream”.  (At least this is the name for the prototype.)

How does Project Stream differ from our current console games?

Project Stream is a very different method of consuming video game content.  Currently, we have a few different options for video games. Classic console systems like the Playstation 4, XBox One, and Nintendo Switch primarily use content you buy in a store.  You then insert the disc into the system and install the game. More recently these systems have added functions that will allow you to download a video game. It is still stored on the systems internal memory.

The other method of games that have become popular are the type that install to a tablet.  You go to your tablet’s application store and download your desired game. This still transfers the program to your device where it is run.

Google’s system would do away with the need to download content or store software on your device.  Like streaming movies the only thing your device would do is receive and render the games content for you to interact with.

For gamers there is another thing that can be very annoying.  It is called a 0 day download or update. The best description of this is when you buy a game and install it there is a download that is required in order for the game to play.  On consoles this can be a very large file and take hours depending on the Internet connection and the size of the file. This would be completely eliminated with a streaming service.

Do I need new equipment to use Project Stream?

The short answer to this is no.  Since the only thing your equipment is actually doing is receiving a signal and sending back a response there is no need for new equipment.  The system is also capable of working with older equipment and multiple formats. This means that if you use an Android tablet, an iPad, a Laptop, or a desktop computer you can access the same content.

The other benefit of this type of delivery is the “heavy lifting”, aka the running of software that requires high end computing capabilities, is completed on a remote cloud server.   This will remove the restrictions of a console or older computer and allow the content provider a lot more capability.

What are the drawbacks of Project Stream?

Much like watching movies on Netflix you don’t get a game disc or cartridge when you use a streaming service.  This eliminates the ability to sell used games. It also creates a situation where you are dependent on the streaming service working to be able to use your games.  Not to mention requiring a really good Internet connection.

Unlike movies most video games already require being online in some fashion to operate.  I don’t see this being much of a barrier as it was with movies. There are many people that like to have the DVD.  Previously, Microsoft tried to introduce limitations on being able to sell used game software and the players reacted very negatively to that.  It was to a point that Microsoft had to backpedal and remove the restriction.

What are the advantages of Project Stream?

A system like this can greatly reduce software piracy which may lower the costs of the service.  In addition your game data is saved to a cloud service. This means that if your device crashes or gets lost or stolen, you don’t lose your game information.  When you get your new device you simply log on and pick up where you left off.

The details of Project Stream

This may be the future of gaming.  If the system can be made to work without lag and some of the other things that can plague gamers, I see people preferring it to installed software.  The service will launch this year in the USA, Canada, and the UK. Right now we don’t have a more exact date and the cost hasn’t been announced. It’s also unknown if you will be charged for a subscription, individual games, or some combination of both.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been a technology expert for KXL on the Morning Show with Steve and Rebecca since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.  Article edited by Gretchen Winkler.

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