Google and Ubisoft team up on ‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’ test

2 Oct 2018

A still from ‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’. Image: Ubisoft

Google is allowing a limited number of gamers to play ‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’ via its Chrome browser.

Google has revealed a new endeavour, dubbed Project Stream, which will create a testing ground for cloud-based game streaming services in the Chrome browser. From 5 October, the project will bring Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to the Chrome browser in the US.

The company has been developing the project for a long time to help remedy some of the major issues streaming games can encounter, such as video quality degradation and buffering.

Streaming games poses a challenge

Google said: “The idea of streaming such graphically rich content that requires near-instant interaction between the game controller and the graphics on the screen poses a number of challenges.

“When streaming TV or movies, consumers are comfortable with a few seconds of buffering at the start, but streaming high-quality games requires latency measured in milliseconds, with no graphic degradation.” The latest instalment in the Assassin’s Creed series was chosen as it has detailed and intensive in-game graphics, which streaming needs be able to manage to ensure optimal gameplay.

Ubisoft said: “Google’s Project Stream, the Ubisoft Platform Infrastructure and the efforts of other companies will help unlock that potential and break down barriers that once prevented many from playing and enjoying our games.”

Extraordinary creativity

Google product manager Catherine Hsiao said: “The technology and creativity behind these AAA video games is extraordinary – from incredible detail and lifelike movement of the characters’ skin, clothing and hair, to the massive scale of the world in which the game unfolds, down to every last blade of grass.

“Every pixel is powered by an array of real-time rendering technology, artistry, visual effects, animation, simulation, physics and dynamics. We’re inspired by the game creators who spend years crafting these amazing worlds, adventures and experiences, and we’re building technology that we hope will support and empower that creativity.”

Many people are interpreting the project as a move by Google to step up its participation in the increasingly lucrative online gaming market. The company has other services that are linked to gameplay and live-streaming markets, including YouTube, which is itself a hub for content creators posting and streaming game reviews and play-throughs.

While this current collaboration is just a technical test, it is not quite a fully fledged commercial gaming service from Google – but it could be the beginning of one.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects