Google pivots from Stadia to cloud-optimized Chromebooks

Google is tapping into the Chromebook market for the next phase of its video game business.

Stadia may be on its way out, but Google will continue to make cloud streaming a part of its video game business strategy. The company announced this morning a trio of Google Chromebooks built for playing games in the cloud.

"Chromebooks have always been known for being fast, secure and easy-to-use devices," wrote product management VP John Maletis in the announcement. "These new Chromebooks bring together gaming hardware features, access to the latest games with cutting edge graphics through the cloud, and software designed to make gaming fast and easy."

In the announcement that confirmed Stadia's closure next year, VP Phil Harrison confirmed that the cloud technology powering the platform would be applied across other Google products. Harrison also stated the tech would be outsourced to industry partners with more experience in the games space. 

For the new Chromebook laptops, Google is partnering with laptop companies Acer (Chromebook 516 GE), ASUS (Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip), and Lenovo (Ideapad Gaming Chromebook). Since internet connections are so vital to streaming games, each laptop will feature built-in Wifi 6 or 6E connectivity. 

To further cement the new Chromebooks as cloud computing workhorses, they'll support fellow cloud services Xbox Cloud Gaming (via web app), NVIDIA's GeForce NOW, and Amazon Luna. Through the keyboard's "Everything" button, players can search for titles across the available cloud platforms and start playing right away.

The last few weeks have an uptick in phone manufacturers jumping into the world of cloud-based games. Logitech and Verizon both announced notable new devices. But Google switching tracks to create laptops that serve as an easy access hub to more established cloud services feels like a better suit for the company.

No price point or release window for the Chromebooks have been announced at this time. 

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