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Thread: Google gaming (Stadia)

  1. #1
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Hong Kong

    Google gaming (Stadia)

    https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2019-...tadia/10918900

    As per recent rumours in the media, Google have finally announced that they will be releasing a gaming streaming service that will (according to them) make the hardware console model obsolete. Gaming is certainly going through an accelerated growth period at the moment (if not a highly monopolized one), so am not suprised to see companies like Google throw their hats in the mix; their plan is very forward looking too considering the expected bandwidth increases subsequent to the advent of 5G in the coming years.

    In other news, Steam will soon be releasing a beta that will allow remote streaming from a single PC to an internet connected device (previously LAN only). While this is currently completely different to the cloud based version mentioned above, it might be a first step to extend this later, given the other competition as well.

  2. #2
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Best comment I've seen on this so far has been over on BoingBoing:

    Quote Originally Posted by ZikZak
    This isnít just bad because itís technically inadequate. It would be disastrous even if the latency was better than home rigs, because it represents the death of diy gaming.

    Imagine the most restrictive console, one which prohibits homebrew creations, mods, or unsanctioned user content of any kind. Imagine that its graphics processing far exceeds anything else you could hope to buy, making it far and away the best platform for modern games to target. Then imagine that itís impossible to jailbreak this console to remove the restrictions, because itís physically outside your control. Imagine content or whole titles disappearing from this console irretrievably after the fact because of a decision by a publisher. This is what Google wants all our gaming experiences to be.

    The real casualty of their business model isnít milliseconds, itís culture.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I've been using Nvidia Geforce Now for some time now on account of owning a potato and no consoles, and it's great. It runs steam and battle.net, allowing you play unsupported games. That said, you can't modify any of the game files or run anything from, say, origin yet, so the above comment is true, but the alternative is not being able to play new games at all for me. It will probably be unaffordable for me once it properly launches, but I've been enjoying the hell out of the free beta for years.

    I don't think it's going to remain unmoddable due to obvious problems with that. For instance, Dark Souls PTD is on there without DSfix. Obviously, it's unplayable. Remastered has fixed that, but let's say it hadn't. They haven't announced a final price, but they were throwing around $25 for 20hrs. Hourly billing is absurd for this kind of service. So if someone wanted to play Dark Souls, they'd have to buy the game then pay maybe $150 to get through it reasonably (though I'm sure hourly billing will change how people play and encourage less time). Point being, nobody is going to pay that kind of money to play unmodded PC dark souls. It's never going to happen. They need to allow mod support or their model will die. Though, hell, at those prices you may as well just buy a console even if it is moldable

    There have been other issues. It uses 10GB/hr on average, so if you've got a data cap, good luck. I had latency issues for a while in the middle of using it, which is odd, because for about a year on either side of that I had none whatsoever and it was completely indistinguishable from a local installation. RE7, an ostensibly supported game, wouldn't recognize my mouse. Luckily, it ran fine off my local computer.

    On the other hand, I've had pretty amazing luck running unsupported games. I thought I'd wasted my money on Devil May Cry 4 SE - it wouldn't run at all on windows 10, an apparently common issue that the developers never bothered to fix. I wasted my time with all sorts of fixes and none of them worked - I could never get into the gameplay. I tried streaming it and it worked perfectly immediately. I need to reinstall it every time, but that takes 5-7min, so it doesn't bother me. Similarly, I wasted a long time trying to figure out how to play the early Hitman games in unstretched 4:3 on my computer to no avail. I tried streaming them (unsupported) and it instantly worked. Using a Tesla P40 on this stuff is overkill, but I really am getting rather tired of having to mess around with ini files and hex editing for hours to get games to run properly - this is eliminating a lot of that work.

    I like this model a lot more than streaming music and about as much as streaming TV, though it has a while to go before it's affordable and jank-free. That said, the nvidia model differs from the Google one in a core way - you buy and bring your own games. I know many of the other services have a predetermined library you're buying access to, and I don't like that model as much for gaming.
    Last edited by froghawk; 20th Mar 2019 at 08:41.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by froghawk View Post
    I don't think it's going to remain unmoddable due to obvious problems with that.
    I think you're way too optimistic here. Any games that don't work without mods are just going to be listed as "unsupported" at best.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    They list it as supported, though. That's the puzzling part. I would have expected them not to. They haven't even removed it since Remastered came out.

    Best case mod-free scenario is that this forces developers to actually fix their broken PC ports. If the community can't mod them into submission, they'll have no excuse. Not really holding my breath, though, mainly because Bethesda games are still inexplicably popular on consoles.
    Last edited by froghawk; 20th Mar 2019 at 09:23.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    I think it's a really dangerous concept, probably the most dangerous thing to come to PC (and console) gaming for a long time, if they can manage to pull it off.

    There are just so many problems with it. Forget about the lag for a moment.
    People are kicking up the biggest fuss over Epic Game Store exclusives, because they require you to install a free piece of software in order to install your games - just imagine how many orders of magnitude worse streaming-exclusive games would be.

    You never own the games, not even with the slightest pretence of owning them, since you have no copy of the game data yourself. If you want to play it, you have to pay, probably as part of a subscription. As soon as you stop paying, you can't play it any more. You can never play these games offline, never mod them, never manipulate them in any way.
    Further, once one company manages to get streaming working, others will follow, each with their own sets of exclusives, trying to get you to subscribe to each service.

    The normal release valve for this kind of anti-consumer behaviour - piracy - won't apply, because no one will be able to pirate these games, as no one even has a copy other than the service provider.

    It gets worse. Subscription-based streaming services would take the bulk of the monthly fee for themselves, meaning that developers would earn even less money than they do now. This would be especially bad for indies, who can already barely make enough money to live on in today's market, but it would also change the nature of games.
    If the subscriber pays per hour of game time, then games would get needlessly drawn out to keep the players playing boring content for longer. If they go for a more standard subscription model (e.g. fixed fee per month), then the game developers would be forced to go with other forms of monetisation - microtransactions, for a start, but also heavy doses of in-game advertising, which would be really hard to block since they would be injected into the game stream at the source.

    Finally, as if that isn't dystopian enough, the service providers would obviously track everything you do in the games, to further profile you, and make more money selling your private information or using it to target you for advertising. Actions inside games are also far more personal than simply watching a video or listening to music, since you can actually make meaningful choices in those games which, again, the service providers can track to build up a better profile of you.


    Sure, this is all the worst-case scenario, but I don't think it's all that far-fetched, and such I really hope that this technology fails to become mainstream.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2014
    Location: Yeah.
    My prediction, this will be a hit with the more casual audience, but the more (I hate this term) hardcore audience will be resistant to it. Realistically speaking, I can't see this not being at least something of a success. I suppose if this was the case, one positive outcome would be that console and PC developers will start to gear their games more towards the hardcore crowd and less toward casual players. The PC and Console market has seen nothing but growth for a long time, and while I don't doubt Google's muscle will be able to get this to a lot of people, I'm not going to place my bets just yet on all games being played on the cloud forever and always. Especially considering that there are still a lot of people with unreliable internet connections, and I'm not even talking in developing nations, I'm talking in countries like the US.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Buccura View Post
    Realistically speaking, I can't see this not being at least something of a success.
    Why? Consumers have shown very little interest in game streaming.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2014
    Location: Yeah.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    Why? Consumers have shown very little interest in game streaming.
    Based on what data? I'm not calling you a liar or BSer, I just wonder what data supports that?

  10. #10
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    It'll obviously all come down to how accessible it is.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Buccura View Post
    Based on what data?
    Heh. That's exactly it, though, isn't? It's been around for a decade. OnLive is gone. Gaikai is gone. Subscription services as a whole are a small part of the market, and that's only by including the popular "free" download subscriptions into the same bucket as game streaming.

    https://www.superdataresearch.com/gaming-subscription/

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2014
    Location: Yeah.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    Heh. That's exactly it, though, isn't? It's been around for a decade. OnLive is gone. Gaikai is gone. Subscription services as a whole are a small part of the market, and that's only by including the popular "free" download subscriptions into the same bucket as game streaming.

    https://www.superdataresearch.com/gaming-subscription/
    That's a valid point, but this is Google we are talking about. Internet speeds have gotten better, and Google has the capability to get this in front of a lot of eyeballs. But, even with that, there is still the valid point of the past failures of this. Really it can go either way, I suppose. This could be either Google's next big thing, or the next Google+.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    I'm at GDC right now just when this was unveilied. The feedback from all the devs I've chatted about is a resounding groan

    Personally, I think this is a long-strategy, preparing for when 5G rolls out and internet accessibility improves enough to make it possible. I agree with the points made by @Malf @Nameless Voice, I don't think it will take-over all of gaming, but it could be a MASSIVE chunk of the market. Ask yourself this - how many people playing Fortnite care about mods or "owning" the game? They could as well be streaming it on any device and it would do just as well.

    That being said, I'm surprised no one has focused on a streaming service that isn't action game. Turn base strategy, visual novels, adventures, etc. Those wouldn't suffer from the input lag much. They wouldn't be as big jaggernauts as e-sports of shooters, but they could still be a decent business if someone hardcore-focused streaming on that demographic.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    That would at least make sense. Instead I see people talking about Stadia for VR. ...Lol...

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Yakoob: Be sure to check out the Night Dive booth and tell us what you think of the SS reboot.

  16. #16
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Quote Originally Posted by Nameless Voice View Post
    It gets worse. Subscription-based streaming services would take the bulk of the monthly fee for themselves, meaning that developers would earn even less money than they do now.
    For this to happen they'd need to take over the market to the point that no other distribution alternatives are viable tho. I think a more likely way this plays out (if it works) is similar to how streaming video services function, where most of the games on Stadia are licensed, and only a small portion are Stadia Originals, where the creators still get a nice payday for developing it.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    On a similar topic, does anyone here use Origin access? I am finding it not bad at all. I basically got it just to play ME:Andromeda, but there are a heap of decent games there, and its a pretty no fuss system to use.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by PigLick View Post
    On a similar topic, does anyone here use Origin access? I am finding it not bad at all. I basically got it just to play ME:Andromeda, but there are a heap of decent games there, and its a pretty no fuss system to use.
    I'm expecting this is the kind of stuff Google is looking for, a service lots of people subscribe to so Google has a steady stream of revenue because it offers the players enough value. The "I got to try out , so that was good" type of person.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yakoob View Post
    Ask yourself this - how many people playing Fortnite care about mods or "owning" the game?
    Instead of Fortnite you could just say "games" and it'd be just as good an argument. A large section of "core gamers" care more about just getting to play the latest game than being able to tweak a details slider so it runs the way they want it to. If they could get to play every major title (and not just the ones from a single publisher) for a flat fee every month instead of having to plunk down $60+/title, I expect many of them would look at that as a very good deal (if the monthly fee isn't too high).

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    Origin is not a streaming service though, you download the games and can play them offline. Its not "enough" value, its exactly the value I was expecting. I am firmly in the "hardcore gamer" market and Stadia doesnt interest me at all.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    The thing with services like this is the need for a damn good internet connection. Connection speeds that aren't even REMOTELY possible in many countries. In Australia for example, the best you can get is 100mbps. And even that's rare to get. Compare that to the US where it's something like 1gbps (or 1000mbps) as a standard. The world's communication tech isn't ready for this yet.

    The other side to it, is that many people prefer to actual own the console / system. Not just be paying for a service, where if they stop paying for it, they lose that service and those games. That super nintendo sitting in your basement that you paid for. You can use that whenever you want and play the games that you paid for, whenever you want. Even if you never give another dollar to Nintendo. With services like this, the second you stop paying, it's gone.

    No thank you.

    It's a similar reason why I stick with older versions of Microsoft Office, as with those you have them for life. No extra cash needed. Whereas the newer versions are all subscription based. No thanks. Especially when you have Google Docs for free.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by PigLick View Post
    Origin is not a streaming service though, you download the games and can play them offline. Its not "enough" value, its exactly the value I was expecting. I am firmly in the "hardcore gamer" market and Stadia doesnt interest me at all.
    I think you're selling Stadia (or at least what Google seems to be aiming for) short.

    They're essentially promising the ability to play Metro Exodus, God of War, Super Mario Oddysey, Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin's Creed (current version), Battlefield 5, Call of Duty, Overwatch, Fortnite, Apex, or whatever else is popular at the moment without having to own a specific console or run a bunch of different clients (other than Stadia). And (likely) without having to fork over a $60+ entry fee for each title. If the price point is $15/month that's equivalent of getting to play 3 major titles you "own" every year, without considering the cost of obtaining any hardware beyond a controller and a smart TV (or a cell phone). If it runs as well as they promise and the selection of games is going to include every major title, they could likely ask for $20-30/month and still get a ton of subscribers because at that point it'd put every other offer currently on the market to shame.

    If they manage to do that.

    But they haven't released the system/service yet, they haven't announced a price point and they haven't publically secured deals to have every major title on their service yet. And there are a lot of concerns to be had for sure, but some of those concerns (like availablility of older titles) are largely irrelevant to a significant portion of people who consider themselves gamers.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Somewhere
    Well I logged into Origin today and there was a message saying "Orwell will be removed from Access as of April" (the game Orwell that is). Hmm.
    Now I dont really care because as soon as I have finished and had my fill of Mass Effect I will be canceling my account, but its not a great precedent.
    Also you wont be able to play Metro Exodus cos its an Epic exclusive, right?

  23. #23
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Hong Kong
    Quote Originally Posted by Yakoob View Post
    Personally, I think this is a long-strategy, preparing for when 5G rolls out and internet accessibility improves enough to make it possible.
    Eh. Isn't that what I said? I guess no one reads my posts

    Anyway, I think that by the time that this takes off they should have come up with a better name. Sounds as catchy as Stevia.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Nameless Voice View Post
    You never own the games, not even with the slightest pretence of owning them, since you have no copy of the game data yourself. If you want to play it, you have to pay, probably as part of a subscription. As soon as you stop paying, you can't play it any more. You can never play these games offline, never mod them, never manipulate them in any way.
    I just wrote several paragraphs about a streaming service where do own the games...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nameless Voice View Post
    If the subscriber pays per hour of game time, then games would get needlessly drawn out to keep the players playing boring content for longer.
    No way - I think games will get shorted because gaming time becomes more precious that way. Waste a gamer's time with bullshit when they're paying by the hour and they'll stop playing your game.

    Quote Originally Posted by icemann View Post
    Compare that to the US where it's something like 1gbps (or 1000mbps) as a standard. The world's communication tech isn't ready for this yet.
    What? 1000? I've got 150 and that's really high for my area, and I live in a major city.
    Last edited by froghawk; 22nd Mar 2019 at 02:23.

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Is it? Ah ok. I stand corrected. Was watching a Youtube video (from Boogie2988) where he mentioned having a gigabit connection, and I've been hearing for a longtime that even the best NBN speeds here in Aus were far bellow US and Japanese internet speeds available.

    I'll be getting the NBN in a few weeks. Cant wait . Be jumping from 10mbps to 45mbps. As I've started streaming, having a good speed is important.

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