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Google’s Gaming Platform Is Aiming for a 120FPS Future, But Movies Still Need to Catch Up

After "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" failed to bring about widespread adoption of a new framerate standard for film, new data technology could make streaming 120fps a realistic goal.

Google Stadia Presentation

Google Stadia Presentation

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Google’s presentation at the 2019 Game Developers Conference focused mainly on its new gaming system Stadia, but it may well be another step towards a massive change in the way all entertainment is delivered to a wide audience. In addition to teasing a decentralized console-free setup for Stadia, the presentation also came with some encouraging news for filmmakers looking to advance the existing framerate standard for film and TV.

An overwhelming majority of series and movies are filmed at 24 frames per second, but a few enterprising names have looked to push that long-standing number even higher. Just last week came word that Ang Lee’s latest film, “Gemini Man,” will film at 120 frames per second, the same as his previous film, the ambitious but tepidly received “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.”

Though most of the existing infrastructure for streaming and TV isn’t currently equipped to handle that kind of projection, the Google presentation implies that it built Stadia with that possible new standard in mind.

Read More:  Paramount Gears Up for Ang Lee’s ‘Gemini Man’ in 120 Frames Per Second, Even After ‘Billy Lynn’ Failure

Majd Bakar, head of engineering for this new project, explained that Stadia will launch with the capacity to stream 4K video at 60fps, ahead of where the product’s beta test had functioned. “In the future,” Bakar said, “we’ll be able to stream games in up to 8K resolution. We know that there are not that many TVs or homes in the world that have 8K today, but we also know that the widespread adoption of 8K is inevitable. We have built our platform to scale up with the highest-performing networks to deliver the visual quality demanded by gamers and game developers.”

On the screen behind Bakar was the designation “120+ fps,” implying that in addition to the advances in resolution, this system is also bracing for additional framerate changes and advancements, whether or not film and TV choose to follow.

James Cameron has also used his blockbuster clout to try higher framerates, preparing for future “Avatar” installments to possibly present in 3D at speeds more than 24fps. Victor Kossakovsky’s documentary “Aquarela,” which played at both the 2018 Venice Film Festival and at Sundance in January, will screen in 48fps after being filmed in 96fps. The film will premiere in New York and Los Angeles in August.

Other new structural developments teased in Tuesday’s talk included a so-called console-free setup, one that would allow gamers to jump directly to playing a game within seconds of seeing a trailer. By utilizing a link within a YouTube video, a user could start a new game without having to make any console installations first.

To see Google’s GDC talk in its entirety, with additional tech specifications for its new system and overall goals for the capability of seamless gameplay hopping between devices, watch it at the link below:

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