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Google Chrome Beta Adds New Cloud Gaming Features

Google has just released the beta update for Chrome 94 which seeks to improve games in the browser. Thanks to a few neat changes to Chrome’s code, Google says its browser-based games should be faster and easier than ever.

A more seamless Chrome-based gaming experience could bring a myriad of benefits to users who enjoy cloud gaming services like Facebook Gaming and Google Stadia. Google Chrome is still the world’s most popular browser, and it remains the most widely used by far, despite Microsoft’s Edge gains over Safari in this year’s desktop browser rankings.

Google’s Chrome Beta 94 announcement describes the implementation of new web standards. It involves modifications to WebCodecs, which is an application programming interface (API) for encoding and decoding audio and video inside your browser. These modified WebCodecs can then use your computer’s hardware to deliver the game’s video stream faster.

There are, of course, already existing mechanisms to play video in Chrome. However, these current methods may not be suitable enough for cloud gaming, which relies on low latency for the best experience. High latency can disrupt (or even stop) a game midway through, while low latency helps ensure smooth, unbuffered gaming. WebCodecs optimize the incoming video stream, transferring video to your stream as quickly as possible, while potentially improving performance on slower machines.

Smoother and faster

The new beta update also makes changes to the WebGPU API. The new WebGPU gives web developers greater access to the graphics power of your computer, allowing them to communicate more directly with it. This helps erase obstructive layers causing high latency by letting them tap into your computer’s native graphics API.

Overall, this is good news for Chrome browser users (of whom there are many). If you’d rather stick with your console, there’s also some news to report in the cloud gaming arena here, with Xbox Cloud Gaming slated to hit Xbox consoles later this year.