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Google’s Cloud Platform Pushes Into AAA, Stadia Won’t Require Its Use

News Wednesday that Ubisoft’s “The Division 2” runs on Google Cloud is the latest example of the company’s push to expand its services beyond the barebone resources for mobile titles, to rich, expansive support for major AAA games.

“We were traditionally focused on mobile because of the strength of ‘Pokemon Go,’ but we have also now started to help console players with our partners,” Sunil Rayan, Google Cloud for Games Managing Director, told Variety in a recent interview. “Last year we had zero AAA games on Google Cloud, now we have six.”

That includes “The Division 2,” battle royale phenom “Apex Legends” as well as work they’re doing with Square Enix.

Rayan spelled some of that shift out in a blog post that went live Wednesday morning, in the midst of the Game Developers Conference.

He noted that as multiplayer games continue to increase in popularity, game developers need a reliable cloud provider with a flexible global infrastructure to support real-time AAA gaming experiences.

“At Google Cloud we’ve spent many years building a world-class infrastructure and easy to use solutions so that gaming companies and development studios can focus on what they’re most passionate about—building great games.”

A big part of that service includes Google Cloud’s secure, global high-speed fiber network which allows for consistent, high-performance experiences for players across regions. The scalable infrastructure also supports game data and core services required for gameplay including matchmaking, high scores, stats, and inventory.

Perhaps surprisingly, Google Cloud platform is not necessarily a part of Google’s big gaming initiative announced earlier this week at GDC: Stadia.

Google Cloud for games is basically supporting all platforms and all devices for Google Cloud,” Rayan said. “We look at Stadia as one platform, but in Google Cloud we host mobile, PC games, console games.”

The way Stadia is set-up, he said, Google is bringing the console to the Edge Network, essentially putting the gaming system in the data centers.

Google Cloud supports that, but it isn’t required.

“There is an advantage to going with us because we are on the same network, but it’s not required,” he said. “Stadia as a platform is agnostic of what your backend is, it could be using any other cloud.”

From Google’s point of view, Stadia games that also host their game servers on Google Cloud Platform can predictably expect low latency and data security, a benefit of leveraging Google’s private network.

It isn’t clear what that would mean to games that decide to use different cloud services or how or if that would be in some way labeled as a potentially different service for customers.

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