When you hear about requirements for Google Stadia, pretty much all you hear about is speed. While speed is certainly crucial to a solid Stadia experience, latency is equally important.
What is latency?
In short, latency is the amount of time between when you press a button your controller and you see the action on screen. With traditional gaming systems, latency is essentially zero. However, since Stadia will be sending your command (like “jump”) off to their data center and then sending the result back to your TV, that will take a little bit of time. If you press “jump” and it takes three seconds for the game to respond, it’d be an awful experience.
Fortunately, latency with Stadia will be measured in thousandths of a second, and shouldn’t be a problem for most gamers. However, it’s the problem that most fear could be bad, and Google is putting in an incredible amount of work to get the latency number as low as possible.
Here is a recent interview with Majd Bakar, the VP of Engineering for Stadia, talking about what Google is doing to help.