Google’s ‘Netflix for Games’ Service: A Beta Tester Tells All

"Just how the movie industry transformed from Blockbuster to Netflix, the video game industry is about to do the same"

UPDATE, March 19: Google Unveils Stadia, its ‘Netflix for Video Games’ Streaming Service

The gaming world is bracing itself for March 19 when Google is rumored to shake up the industry with a major announcement—likely tied to its “Netflix for video games” service—during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. 

That streaming service, dubbed Project Stream, would allow people to play console-type games within their Chrome browser instead of playing on consoles like PlayStation or Xbox. Project Stream (the service) and Project Yeti (its hardware) will likely be unveiled in tandem at GDC, a smart move following the ever-growing successes of massively popular online games like Apex Legends and Fortnite.

Google rallied beta testers to try out Project Stream from October to January. We found a beta tester, who jumped into our Instagram comments, to tell us what he learned from testing the service and its first test game Assassin's Creed: Odyssey.

Here’s what Project Stream beta tester Matthew Bachman, an 18-year-old student in Columbus, Ohio, revealed to ONE37pm about his experience.

What exactly did you beta test?

Matthew Bachman: So what I was beta testing was basically Google's version of Nvidia GeForce Now, which is a video game streaming service that lets you play hardcore video games using only your internet. Google called it Project Stream and how it works is you get on your Chrome browser...where you can get access to your games and play them. You play the games right through your Chrome browser so you don't need to download anything else.

What kind of games did you play? How was the experience?

Bachman: The only game I got to play as a beta tester was Assassin's Creed Odyssey, and I played it on my MacBook Air—it can barely handle flash games let alone a 50GB+ game meant for console. The game played very smoothly and I barely noticed any frame rate problems. The only problem I did encounter was that there is a WiFi dead zone in my house and when I tried to play it there it looked kind of fuzzy.

google project stream chrome
Courtesy of beta tester Matthew Bachman

What will the public like about it? What will they not like?

Bachman: The public will like it because it basically makes consoles and heavy-duty PCs useless. You can play heavy duty games like Assassin's Creed on your shitty laptop and it will run like a $5,000 PC as long as you have a good WiFi connection and access to Chrome. It will also be a huge money maker for Google if they decide to go public because the idea of video game streaming is basically Netflix for video games, although I'm pretty sure how it would work is you pay a monthly fee and then also have to pay for the games themselves.

What feedback have you given Google?

Bachman: It was weird because they didn't actually force me to give feedback; I did though. Each time I quit playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey they had a pop up that let you rate your experience and then leave any comments you wanted.

I love the idea of video game streaming [because] you don't have to own big computers or consoles to play games anymore, which is awesome for casual gamers. ​​​​​

- Matthew Bachman, a beta tester

How did you become a beta tester?

Bachman: How I found out about Project Stream was I was trying to figure out how to sign up to beta test "Nvidia GeForce Now," and I was just lucky enough to be looking up things about video game streaming that I saw something on Safari about Google's Project Stream and decided to sign up.

Have you beta tested anything before Project Stream?

Bachman: I have not beta tested anything before, although I did sign up to beta test "Nvidia GeForce Now" but have not been accepted yet. I actually don't play that many video games, which is one of the reasons I love the idea of video game streaming. You don't have to own big computers or consoles to play games anymore, which is awesome for casual gamers.

Do you know an estimated date for the service's release?

Bachman: I have no clue when they would release Project Stream.

What else should we know about your experience testing this?

Bachman: Just how the movie industry transformed from Blockbuster to Netflix, the video game industry is about to do the same. With the introduction of 5G in 2020, it is going to make it irresistible for big companies like Google and Nvidia to try and overthrow Sony and Microsoft in the video game world. It's basically what we're seeing right now with Tesla, when they release the Tesla Roadster, whenever that is, it will be the world's quickest production car, making car companies like Ferraris just for show.

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