Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service is about to deploy AV1: reduce data traffic without sacrificing the quality of the picture

While cloud gaming services shift processing to remote servers and eliminate the need for powerful hardware, they also make players more dependent on Internet connections. Google is giving the Stadia cloud gaming service a new feature that supports AV1 decoders to minimize data traffic without sacrificing picture quality.

Google's Stadia cloud gaming service is about to deploy AV1: reduce data traffic without sacrificing the quality of the picture

Game streams are almost always interactive video streams, and graphics rendered and collected on remote servers are sent to the user’s phone, computer, or Chromecast. As with any image or video, the higher the quality, the larger the file. The larger the file, the more bandwidth it consumes, which increases the user’s monthly Internet bill or reaches the data cap faster.

Google's Stadia cloud gaming service is about to deploy AV1: reduce data traffic without sacrificing the quality of the picture

The best solution today is to compress the data as tightly as possible and then unzip it by the local device. The role of codecs in this process is to balance speed and efficiency. The AV1 codec is a short version of Alliance for Open Media Video 1, released in 2018.

The search giant is trying to use codec for Stadia, Google Play Movies, Google Meet and even Google Photos. Google has been touting the technology’s higher performance on low-bandwidth connections, which can be leveraged by gaming streams even on high-bandwidth connections.

Unfortunately, there are no more details on this goal, let alone a timetable for achieving it. There are still some outstanding issues, such as whether AV1 is used throughout Stadia or only under certain network conditions.