Google's given you ways to play nifty little games in your Chrome browser before, like the time vampire that is the branded Pac-Man Google Doodle (opens in new tab) - but its newest venture is worlds beyond that. Today, Google announced Project Stream, a service that'll let you play such AAA games as Assassin's Creed Odyssey (opens in new tab) in Chrome, all detailed in a brief development blog post (opens in new tab). Those who get selected for Project Stream's technical test, which starts October 5, will effectively be able to play Ubisoft's latest blockbuster game for free, on their laptop or desktop computers, for however long the test period lasts.
Rumors were circulating for months that Google was reportedly working on its very own console (opens in new tab), which would rely on game streaming technology. Project Stream seems to be the end result of that work, but all it requires is an installation of Chrome rather than an entire console or program unto itself. "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," writes Google's Catherine Hsiao in the blog post. "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 post has an accompanying bit of demo footage (which you can watch above) featuring Assassin's Creed Odyssey being played at 60fps in 1080p. Frankly, I'd never, ever guess it was being streamed rather than captured directly from a console. If Project Stream works as advertised, with imperceptible latency between controller input and in-game reaction, it'll be huge contender to similar game streaming services like PlayStation Now and Vortex. Better yet, Project Stream has a fairly short list of requirements (opens in new tab), including "a reliable internet connection" (Google recommends 25 Mbps download speeds), accounts with both Google and Ubisoft, and of course, an installation of Chrome.
If you're eager for the chance to try Project Stream for yourself - or just play one of the best open-world games out there for the price of free - Google is offering sign-ups on Project Stream's site (opens in new tab) for US citizens 17 and up. We'll have to wait and see just how well Project Stream performs when the test starts October 5, but if any company has the resources to make such an ambitious idea work for real, it's Google.
For anyone who gets into the test - or plans to play the game on a regular ol' console - you'll want to check out these essential Assassin's Creed Odyssey tips (opens in new tab).