Alphabet's Google is to launch a browser-based video game streaming service dubbed Stadia this year, as the company attempts to capitalise on its cloud technology and global network of data centres.

The technology allows users to play games through their internet browser or YouTube without waiting for content to be downloaded to a device.

This will make access to games potentially as easy as watching a video from YouTube. 

But Google offered scant details on timing, pricing or available titles for the service, which faces potentially tough competition from game publishers and from rivals including and Microsoft.  

With Stadia, the "waiting game will be a thing of the past," Phil Harrison, a Google vice president overseeing the new service, said during a keynote presentation in San Francisco at the Game Developers Conference.

The conference this week is bringing together about 25,000 people who work in the video games industry. 

Google declined to say how it would price its technology to consumers or game makers or specify supported games. 

It demonstrated titles from the Doom and Assassin's Creed franchises and said that it would be developing some games in-house. 

The streaming technology offers a fresh way for Google to pitch game publishers on its cloud computing and data storage services, which ultimately could generate more revenue for Google than game sales. 

But analysts have questioned whether top game publishers will be prepared to shift from the lucrative business of selling games on discs. 

Game publishers also may decide to launch their own streaming services, as film and TV studios have begun doing for their content in the last few years. 

In addition, several technology companies are looking to boost services revenue through games streaming, including Nvidia, Sony and Microsoft. 

The latter two dominate the $100 billion global games market, excluding China.

Google has shown mixed results in gaming. Video games are the best-selling category on its app store for Android mobile devices. 

It sold an estimated $21.5 billion worth of games last year, according to research firm Sensor Tower. And gaming is among the top three categories on the Google-owned video service YouTube. 

But Apple's App Store sold about $33 billion worth of games last year, and the games industry views's Twitch, rather than YouTube, as the most popular video streaming service for content related to video games. 

Google flopped in efforts to popularise games on virtual reality headsets and televisions. 

Harrison said Stadia would launch in the US, Canada and much of Europe and support desktops, laptops, TVs connected to Chromecast streaming media sticks, tablets and phones. 

Players could enter games from links on YouTube or other social media. 

They will play using mice and keyboards, USB controllers or a WiFi-enabled controller that Google plans to launch this year. 

Google's hardware business is a top priority for chief executive Sundar Pichai. 

Dozens of people are on the Stadia team with many of them formerly working for game makers Electronic Arts, Sony or Microsoft's gaming units.