Google's Stadia Game Streaming Service Arrives To A Collective 'Meh'

from the paid-beta dept

As we noted last week, there's a laundry list of potential issues plaguing Google's attempted entry into the game streaming space via Google Stadia, not least of which is the US' substandard broadband networks and arbitrary broadband caps. Stadia eliminates the physical home game console and instead moves all game processing to the cloud. And while it's clear that this is the inevitable path forward and somebody is going to eventually dominate the space, there's no solid indication yet that it's going to be Google.

Initial Stadia shipments went out this week (some anyway, many orders never shipped), and so far the press response has been a large, collective, "meh." Most reviews cite a fairly pathetic launch lineup filled with titles that were first released years ago. And while the service works in ideal conditions on good broadband lines, the $120 entry fee (plus $10 subscription cost) is being derided as largely a public paid beta:

"There’s no reason anyone should buy into Stadia right now. Google has made sure of that, partly by underdelivering at launch and partly with a pricing scheme that sees you paying three times (for hardware, for the service, for games) just to be an early adopter.

But the nice thing is that no one’s forcing you to, either. Early adopters know who they are, and they’ll hopefully be subsidizing a better experience for the rest of us while helping Google work out the kinks. The technology works reasonably well, and Google’s gadgets can all be automatically updated over the air."

This is, of course, before you get to the fact that countless Americans not only have substandard broadband, but have been saddled with bullshit broadband usage caps and overage fees. The fact that Stadia can chew up to 20 gigabytes per hour at full 4K makes for a costly experience:

"This is by design, of course. That 1TB data cap is targeted primarily at people like me, who have cut the cord and now get their entertainment through a collection of streaming services. Of course, Xfinity allows me to have “unlimited data” if I pay an additional $50 a month, which isn’t something I do because my overages tend to only be in the realm of $10-$20 a month when I happen to go over."

I remember being pitched on the idea of game streaming way back in 2001 at E3, so it's great to see the progress these efforts have made. But it remains abundantly clear that game streaming is going to be a work in progress for the better part of the next 5 years, and a continued headache in parts of the country where limited broadband competition has resulted in slow speeds and unnecessary restrictions. There are also other questions related to a shift to game streaming (like how do you preserve game history when the consumer has no ownership rights and doesn't own anything?) that will need to be hammered out in time.

Meanwhile, Sony and Microsoft, which both have new high-powered game consoles launching next year (hand in hand with their own streaming alternatives) likely have nothing to worry about. We're still years away from game streaming being a consistent and popular affair, and the competition to dominate the space remains wide open, thanks in no small part to Google's fairly underwhelming Stadia launch and US telecom dysfunction.

Filed Under: stadia, streaming, video games
Companies: google


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  • identicon
    Glen, 19 Nov 2019 @ 3:47pm

    I'd also say no because no one know if/when they'll pull the plug on the service.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 7:02am

      Re:

      "I'd also say no because no one know if/when they'll pull the plug on the service."

      That's the least of it.

      Link lost or lagging? Your experience turns to shit. Servers offline or overburdened? Your experience turns to shit. Any of a million actors with a botnet randomly targeting any location on your packet route? your experience turns to shit.

      MMORPG's are as close as can be to the "alway online" model and they still put all the heavy lifting on the client side because that's the only way you can scale the network - and even then the most minor network glitch will ruin your whole raid.

      Game streaming was dead before it even began and will remain that way until most of the planet has infrastructure in place no one even halfway believes is possible this side of science fiction.

      The downsides of moving the game from the client are many, the positives close to none...for the actual consumer that is.
      For the game platform this is a very good way of chaining the customer to their chariot in perpetuity.

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  • identicon
    Rekrul, 19 Nov 2019 @ 4:13pm

    There are also other questions related to a shift to game streaming (like how do you preserve game history when the consumer has no ownership rights and doesn't own anything?) that will need to be hammered out in time.

    How do you preserve game history with with game streaming? You don't. It's as simple as that. If you don't have a copy of the game there's nothing to preserve. It will only exist as long as the company considers it profitable. The moment it becomes unprofitable, it will vanish.

    The naive will probably say "Well, if it's not profitable any more, maybe they'll release a copy of it." To them I say "Have you been paying attention to copyright the last few decades?" large companies rarely relinquish their hold on anything copyrighted.

    And even if they did, how would you use it? I doubt these games will be running on consumer-level hardware. Not to mention that they're probably hardcoded to be streaming games, so even if you got the code and had the hardware to run it, you'd need both a client and server setup to use them.

    Game streaming is pretty much the end of game preservation.

    Of course it's not such a big step from what exists now where patches and DLC are only available online to be downloaded directly to the console and which are impossible to properly backup. Or how about "P.T." which Konami made disappear when the game it was teasing got canned? How's the preservation of that coming along?

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    • identicon
      Paul B, 19 Nov 2019 @ 7:19pm

      Re:

      Often times even when a company wants to release a game into the wild at its end of life, there are hundreds of copyright issues that block them. Most of the middleware for the game is copyright, anything with a trademarked logo is a no go even if the game was sponsored by say Pepsi back in the day. If a game is built primarily on a Playstation or Xbox then your contract with Sony/ Microsoft etc blocks you from both releasing the source code but blocks anyone from compiling it with out renting a very expensive dev kit from those firms. When you dig even deeper you will find that C++ libraries (or equivalent) may have been purchased and are not available for release / resale.

      Long gone are the days of the entire game being built in house.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 7:19am

      Re:

      "To them I say "Have you been paying attention to copyright the last few decades?" large companies rarely relinquish their hold on anything copyrighted. "

      And even if you beat the odds and your favorite game doesn't get Disney Vaulted to give the next offer some room this scheme still reeks of utter incompetence.

      Today cutting edge game graphics still tries to push the envelope on 2560x1440 resolution on rigs running high-end processors and GPU's who need heavy air or water cooling not to melt while still serving up 60+ fps.
      THAT load is to be pushed into the "cloud"? To dedicated server farms all handling the load of hundreds of thousands of players? I'll believe this scales well when I see it.

      My prediction, already partially observed, is that what stadia willprovide on average even in places where broadband coverage is decent, will be worse resolution and frame rate than the old PS3. Not exactly a great motive to toss your PC.

      Game developers will TRY to push this shit as hard as they can though, in the belief that it's the One Way forward - "because pirates" - and of course in order to be able to screw their customer base over market shenanigans.

      I honestly don't see Game Streaming as ANYTHING other than yet another attempt by copyright cult adherents to enforce control at the cost of horrible and crippling inconvenience added to their offers.

      Why Google, of all things, is trying to spearhead this charlie-fox is beyond me.

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      • identicon
        Rekrul, 20 Nov 2019 @ 4:52pm

        Re: Re:

        Game developers will TRY to push this shit as hard as they can though, in the belief that it's the One Way forward - "because pirates" - and of course in order to be able to screw their customer base over market shenanigans.

        They've already screwed themselves out of any money I might have spent on current game consoles.

        I have a PS3 that was given to me. It sits in a box unused. Why? Because I object to the fact that much of the time, you can't buy a complete game on physical media. There's always DLC that is only available online (if it's still available) and patches that are only available online.

        I wouldn't mind if I could go to a web site and download the patch files or buy the DLC and download the files, such that I could just burn them to a disc, or put them on a flash drive and install them into the game that way. But no, you have to be a member of their online service and let the console download the files directly to the game. And then there's no real way to back it up.

        As I understand it, any backups you make (and I'm not even clear on what you're allowed to back up) are tied to the console that they were downloaded on. You can install a new hard drive and use the backups, but if the console itself dies and you buy a new one, your backups are worthless.

        I was all set to buy a copy of Burnout Paradise until I found out that a sizable portion of the game was only available as DLC. No complete GOTY edition available. There is for the PS4. Oh, except for all the patches that have come out and which you need to let the console download online and which you can't backup...

        Yeah, they can shove that crap.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 1:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I have a PS3 that was given to me. It sits in a box unused. Why? Because I object to the fact that much of the time, you can't buy a complete game on physical media."

          Similar experience here. I bought a PS3 early on, lured by the "any operating system" and the rest of Sony's assorted bullshit about "empowering the user", thinking i was buying some sweet hardware for a server I'd be able to use as a media machine.

          To this day I still wonder what came over me. I don't do drugs but being completely off my rocker is the only way I can justifiably credit myself with falling for Sony's load of bull. I ended up giving the force-patched DRM-riddled piece of crap to relatives who had kids without standards.

          The PS4 rolled back on much of this, enabling DLC downloads and patches, as well as allowing certain user-built mods on a few major league titles like Fallout 4 - and imho, that's the only reason it survived the competition against the PC. Downloadables and an increasing amount of user-generated free content has become a must-have even for consoles. Something which still makes Sony scream in impotent rage.

          Consoles has become that convenient way for console OEM's to achieve a permanent lock-in, chaining their customer base to their services indefinitely. Game Streaming just tries to bring that obnoxious crap to any other device with online access.

          As per usual when you scrutinize the latest copyright-cult hype you find that it's still the same old turd on offer, casually perfumed and gilded to emulate something shiny enough to rub the public's face in without too much outrage.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 1:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "I don't do drugs but being completely off my rocker is the only way I can justifiably credit myself with falling for Sony's load of bull."

            To be fair, if a product is advertised with a particular feature you don't normally expect it to be removed retroactively after purchase, and numerous college and military purchasers fell for the same this.

            "Consoles has become that convenient way for console OEM's to achieve a permanent lock-in, chaining their customer base to their services indefinitely"

            Consoles have always been about lock-in. It's just that now they're doing it with online services instead of bespoke cartridge formats.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Nov 2019 @ 1:07am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "To be fair, if a product is advertised with a particular feature you don't normally expect it to be removed retroactively after purchase, and numerous college and military purchasers fell for the same this."

              True enough but most college and military suppliers who fell for the same scam probably didn't have the same understanding of Sony that I already had.

              I mean, we are talking about a SONY product here. A company known, in order, for the rampant contempt they have towards their customers, and their technology which would be great if they didn't waste so much of its potential in trying to lock down said customers. I had colleagues trying to use the first Xperia - which alone among android phones was unable to sync with outlook unless you installed Sony's POS malware/borderline rootkit on your PC first. I knew what their products were like.

              Actually purchasing a product from the uncrowned king of the copyright cult...WHAT was I thinking?

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 1:22am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I have a PS3 that was given to me. It sits in a box unused. Why? Because I object to the fact that much of the time, you can't buy a complete game on physical media."

          While I certainly understand the sentiment, that's pretty counter-productive. Sony already have the money for the console, and if you're refusing to buy content that doesn't go through the whole patch/DLC cycle, then you're just giving more visibility to the people who are OK with that stuff. You're also missing out on some damn good content that's perfectly playable without you having to connect the PS3 to the internet at all.

          "I was all set to buy a copy of Burnout Paradise until I found out that a sizable portion of the game was only available as DLC"

          Depends on what you mean by "sizeable portion". The DLC is optional and doesn't detract from the game at all, unless you're going for trophy completion. It could be annoying if you really want to play the entire game, but since you can get it for a couple of bucks used and don't have to connect online to play, why not?

          Again, I get where you're coming from, but you've not sent any message to Sony other than people who don't mind the online requirements buy more games.

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          • identicon
            Rekrul, 22 Nov 2019 @ 4:30pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            While I certainly understand the sentiment, that's pretty counter-productive. Sony already have the money for the console, and if you're refusing to buy content that doesn't go through the whole patch/DLC cycle, then you're just giving more visibility to the people who are OK with that stuff. You're also missing out on some damn good content that's perfectly playable without you having to connect the PS3 to the internet at all.

            A lot of the games look amazing, but right off the bat, I'd rule out any FPS type game or any where you fly a plane or spaceship. Don't get me wrong, I like those types of games, but I can't play them with thumbsticks. I've tried, many times, and it's just too awkward. I wish the FPS games allowed you to use a mouse and keyboard. I'm still not great playing games that way, but at least I can usually muddle through them. I'm sort of OK with third person games until you have to use the right thumbstick to aim a weapon to hit a moving target, which is usually where I die, repeatedly.

            I'd say that I'm semi-decent at playing racing games with the left thumbstick, although I usually do much better if I'm using an emulator and I assign it to the right stick. I've never gotten used to using a controller with the movement controls on the left. I consider that a left-handed design. And in case you're wondering, I'm hopeless at playing arcade games with the stick on the left as well. I pretty much skipped over the whole console scene after the North American video game crash and just played games on my C64 and Amiga until getting a Win98 system around 2000. So I never had much experience with controllers until at least 2010 or so when I started using one with a PS1 emulator. In fact, I don't think I even owned one before that. Even then, I really don't use them that often so I still find them awkward.

            Depends on what you mean by "sizeable portion". The DLC is optional and doesn't detract from the game at all, unless you're going for trophy completion. It could be annoying if you really want to play the entire game, but since you can get it for a couple of bucks used and don't have to connect online to play, why not?

            I guess I have a touch of OCD and I'll always feel like I have an incomplete copy of the game. I know that probably doesn't make sense considering the fact that I don't have any of the game now, but I never claimed I wasn't weird. :)

            Plus, don't a lot of games today ship with some pretty major bugs that need patching? I haven't followed things too closely, but I've seen people complaining about releases that were seriously broken before they got patched. I know there are occasionally "Game of the Year" editions that include the final patched version and (usually) the DLC, but they never seem to be available for the games I want.

            Burnout Paradise Remastered came out for Windows. It won't run on my old system, but I do intend to upgrade at some point. Unfortunately it comes with Denuvo, the most hated DRM in existence. I don't even know if you can manually download patches for today's computer games or if everything is done automatically now, like it is on the consoles.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 23 Nov 2019 @ 3:18am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "right off the bat, I'd rule out any FPS type game or any where you fly a plane or spaceship"

              That's OK, there are many other genres.

              "I wish the FPS games allowed you to use a mouse and keyboard"

              I don't recall if last gen did it, but I know Xbox One has that facility for now, although it's dependent on the developer enabling it. I wouldn't be surprised if some PS3 user came up with a similar workaround, especially as many people bought it in the early days for its Linux capabilities (which were removed later but if you haven't updated the firmware you would still have that)

              "I guess I have a touch of OCD and I'll always feel like I have an incomplete copy of the game"

              I do understand that, I just think that it's a little silly having the hardware and never using it, especially as the PS3 had some damn good exclusive titles that didn't go the DLC route and are available for a pittance used. Whatever political statement you tried to make fell on deaf ears as soon as the hardware was purchased.

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              • identicon
                Rekrul, 25 Nov 2019 @ 4:54pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I don't recall if last gen did it, but I know Xbox One has that facility for now, although it's dependent on the developer enabling it.

                The PS2 had the ability to use a keyboard and mouse, but only a few games used it. I know Half-Life was one. I think Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force did as well, but I seem to recall hearing that it wasn't implemented well. Any console with USB ports should be able to support such control, but few game developers include support for it.

                I wouldn't be surprised if some PS3 user came up with a similar workaround

                At one point, I saw a device for both the PS3 and Xbox 360 that claimed it allowed you to plug in a mouse and keyboard and using custom firmware settings, it would translate the mouse movements into analog stick moves in such a way that it claimed it would give you almost perfect mouselook. When I contacted the company, I was told that the device was no longer available as they were working on a new version that would support PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. I'm not sure if it ever came out. At the time I looked for somewhere to buy the older version and only ever found one for sale on eBay for about $150.

                Apparently there was also such a device for the PS2;

                http://store.richspsxparts.com/smfrusepckem.html

                Unfortunately I only learned about it long after it had been discontinued and my efforts to buy one have so far been unsuccessful.

                Whatever political statement you tried to make fell on deaf ears as soon as the hardware was purchased.

                It's not so much a political statement as my own personal stance. If I saw a game that I wanted and which was available, complete, on physical media, I'd buy it. I actually did buy one game (used); Dead Island: Game of the Year Edition. They had it in Savers for $3, so I grabbed it. I just haven't yet had the ambition to hook up the console and try it.

                In case I've never made it clear before, I'm also quite lazy. I have a couple Gamecubes and several each of PS1 and PS2 systems I've rescued from the trash that I've never gotten around to testing. I also have a working Xbox (a friend found it at the dump and grabbed it for me), but the used game stores around here never seem to have any of the games I'm looking for and the sellers on eBay always seem want a small fortune for them. $30+ for a complete copy of Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee? I spotted that at Savers for $3-5 and was all set to buy it when I discovered that someone stuck a demo disc in the case rather than the game. The same thing happened with a copy of Burnout 2 for the PS2. :(

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              • identicon
                Rekrul, 25 Nov 2019 @ 5:17pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                And now that I've watched a video of the gameplay of the PS3 version of Dead Island, I can tell I should have saved my money, since it's an FPS game. :(

                I'm also not crazy about all the crap that keeps popping up on the screen and the cutscenes every 30 seconds. I miss the days when game developers were more concerned with making a good game than making it into an interactive movie and they assumed that players were intelligent enough to remember the controls after finishing the tutorial.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 2:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "A lot of the games look amazing, but right off the bat, I'd rule out any FPS type game or any where you fly a plane or spaceship. Don't get me wrong, I like those types of games, but I can't play them with thumbsticks."

              Let's not forget that with the PS3 (and to some extent the PS4) the games in question are more often than not locked to half the resolution and FPS that you'd find on the PC version. Oblivion GOTY edition on PS3 ran on 1240x720, but on PC you could take it to over 1600x1200 without issues. Not to mention the PC version would accept user mods which amounted to three times the size of the original game.

              Nine times out of ten the console offers the worse experience compared to the PC, on multiple fronts and Game streaming is just an attempt to drop the PC experience to the same level.

              As i keep saying, game streaming is just another version of the "always online" garbage hyped and pushed for by the copyright cult so very many times in the past. I'm not surprised to see it on the horizon. Only that Google (who should know better) is trying to be a frontrunner.

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              • identicon
                Rekrul, 25 Nov 2019 @ 4:30pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Let's not forget that with the PS3 (and to some extent the PS4) the games in question are more often than not locked to half the resolution and FPS that you'd find on the PC version. Oblivion GOTY edition on PS3 ran on 1240x720, but on PC you could take it to over 1600x1200 without issues. Not to mention the PC version would accept user mods which amounted to three times the size of the original game.

                I agree, but a lot of games are console exclusives. I played the first Star Wars: Rogue Squadron on Windows and was looking forward to the sequels, but they were Gamecube exclusives. I wanted the Godzilla and Robotech games, but they only came out for Gamecube, PS2 and Xbox. All the Burnout games up to Burnout Paradise were console exclusives.

                Even when the same game is available for both, sometimes the console versions have extra content, like Beyond Castle Wolfenstein. Burnout paradise came out for Windows, but didn't include much of the DLC. The remastered version has it, but I don't even think there's a physical release of it.

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                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Nov 2019 @ 1:12am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "I wanted the Godzilla and Robotech games, but they only came out for Gamecube, PS2 and Xbox."

                  At least with the PS2, emulators exist which work well enough.

                  But you are on to the core of the issue - console survives mainly by using a lockout model, keeping a large selection of games exclusive to the console. Fortunately game developers aren't stupid and are understandably VERY leery about kicking their offers straight out of 50% or more of the potential market. As you've noted yourself much of the Jrpg market is locked down that way, for instance.

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                  • identicon
                    Rekrul, 26 Nov 2019 @ 11:37am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    At least with the PS2, emulators exist which work well enough.

                    Yes, I've been using the PS2 emulator for a while now although my system isn't the best for it. Godzilla: Save the Earth runs pretty well, but the Burnout games run at maybe 60-70% of full speed. They're playable, but you can tell they're running slow. Robotech: Battlecry runs fairly well, although you can hear the voices slow down if you're turning the view in the city levels. Something like Gran Tursimo runs like a slideshow though. And some games just don't work. Spider-Man 3 goes off into limbo, Ultimate Spider-Man crashes, Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events won't let you pick up items, Destroy all Humans has broken graphics, etc. Some games need to be run in software rendering mode, which instantly cuts the speed in half.

                    My system isn't fast enough to run the old version of Dolphin (Gamecube/Wii) at full speed with sound and I can't run the newer versions at all. I can run one of the older Dreamcast emulators, but it doesn't run everything.

                    I'm pretty well set for the original PS1 though. There are multiple emulators I can use and the last version of ePSXe that runs on my system has a pretty high compatibility rate.

                    As you've noted yourself much of the Jrpg market is locked down that way, for instance.

                    I hate that the majority of the Macross and Gundam games never got released outside Japan, so there's no English versions for most of them. And why is it that the fan translators will translate an RPG with volumes of dialog, but not the menus and briefing text in an action game? "Oh, it's simple, you can just figure it out!" Um, am I supposed to be attacking those ships or protecting them? Why did the mission end in failure if I didn't get killed? What target am I supposed to be going after?

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                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Nov 2019 @ 1:26am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "I hate that the majority of the Macross and Gundam games never got released outside Japan, so there's no English versions for most of them."

                      This is part and parcel of why Sony has the view of the consumer as an indentured serf. Their main cash cow market is still in Japan where the sheeple have long accepted that they should be content with whatever option is given them by higher authority. To complain or insist would just be...rude.

                      And to do business outside of Japan would mean giving up control which to many developers is anathema.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 5:37pm

    It will soon be just like the old days when everyone went to the arcade, but at home. Remember the pockets of money needed to play for the day? No? Well, let me tell you...you are going to need pockets of money to play.

    "Of course, Xfinity allows me to have “unlimited data” if I pay an additional $50 a month, which isn’t something I do because my overages tend to only be in the realm of $10-$20 a month when I happen to go over.""
    That was then, now you are using 20GB/hr while streaming the game.
    "Unlimited" tends to have limits.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 5:40pm

    Calling a Google service "meh"? Why do you shill so hard for Google, Masnick?

    /sarc

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    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 5:46pm

    I’m other news, nobody cares about this stupid website. You’re losing views like crazy. Just close it up.

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      Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 5:48pm

      Re:

      you care, or you wouldn't be posting about the site.

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      Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 7:34pm

      Re:

      “I’m other news”

      Protip cowbro, when attempting to make derisive comments about a website you hate, but obsessively visit. Don’t misspell the first word of your little temper tantrum.

      It makes you look like a bit of a dumb fuck.

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      Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 9:05pm

      Re:

      Your tears are delicious.

      Please help out the losing views by posting more of your salt.

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      PaulT (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 3:23am

      Re:

      "nobody cares about this stupid website"

      Yes, nobody cares. Which is why you keep posting - you're nobody and you care!

      "You’re losing views like crazy."

      They'd get even less if you stopped obsessively coming here...

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    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 6:10pm

    Having Comcast with a 1TB Cap limit before I'm forking out more money, which I've done a couple of times this year, If I was really going to use this service, that means another $50 a month for Unlimited which they took away from me, plus $10 a month for Google's service. So it's really a $60 a month Gaming service. Plus you'll have to pay for a lot of the new games in the $10-$60 price range on top of the streaming fee!!!!

    To me, it doesn't make a lot of sense. I already have a few Xbox 360's, a Day 1 Xbox One, a PS3, etc. Really these days most of my gaming is just done on my iOS device. Even then I stopped Apple's Gaming service and switched over to Apple's TV+ service to check out. Apple's gaming service just makes much more sense to me. I can use a Xbox One or PS4 controller among others if I want. It's cheaper at half the price and no extra costs per game. it also is not using a bunch of my bandwidth as I download the game and can play it right on my device.

    Normal online gaming only uses a tiny amount of data to tell where you are and what is going on to everyone else. Streaming a game, especially if it's 4K is going to use a ton more Data. it's like streaming Movies. How much Data are you using now? How much gaming do you do? If you're a casual gamer, then maybe it won't be too bad on your Data. But you're spending a lot of money to only use it a little bit.

    Then it's Google. A company that really does like to KILL things pretty quickly. They get bored and want to move onto something else. Will this service even last say 2 years?!?!?! I think they're really going to try for at least the first year, but after that?

    Also, remember unlike Apple Arcade where you download the games and then play them, which means you can play them offline, Google is all about streaming the games. It's running on some kind of custom Linux hardware. There is never going to be some kind of offline gameplay as you can't download the games and play locally offline. That is never going to happen.

    If Google wants to SPY on me playing games, I wouldn't care. What info on me would they get that they don't already have? I really don't care one way or the other how this service works out, Good or Bad. For me, it is kind of a Meh.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      frank87 (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 6:25am

      Not very smart technically.

      Indeed: in communication you learn to compress as much as possible, and use the bandwidth to improve reliability.
      Local game intelligence enables almost infinite compression. For these prices, Google can include some local hardware to solve all bandwidth problems.
      It looks like the bandwidth usage is a goal, not a tool.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 7:31am

      Re:

      "Normal online gaming only uses a tiny amount of data to tell where you are and what is going on to everyone else. Streaming a game, especially if it's 4K is going to use a ton more Data. it's like streaming Movies. How much Data are you using now? How much gaming do you do?"

      That's actually one of the lesser concerns - data transmission isn't the issue, as Netflix has shown. although it WILL suck for anyone on capped broadband. And unlike netflix where momentary link loss can be resolved by buffering and/or "resolution degradation" even the slightest link loss or lag in gaming means the raid you're in just wiped. And that's an issue even in MMORPGS where the transmitted data is less than 20 kbit/second unlike the full-blown 4k whale you mention.

      What is worse though, is the actual processor load. an enthusiast rig today with high-end CPU and GPU still struggles to deliver 60+ FPS in 2k resolution in most of the newer titles. I do NOT believe in a solution where any server farm setup can deliver that sort of processor power, on the cheap, for hundreds of thousands of players.

      "Then it's Google. A company that really does like to KILL things pretty quickly. They get bored and want to move onto something else."

      If anyone needed confirmation that Google has money to burn, this would be it. Anyone who believes Game Streaming has a future is not a gamer who's had to deal with the client-side hardware and knows damn well just how many ways this can and will go wrong.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Adele McCoy, 19 Nov 2019 @ 6:13pm

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    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 7:19pm

    This will work perfectly once Starlink is active

    With high-speed limitless internet available this service will be very workable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rocky, 19 Nov 2019 @ 11:19pm

      Re: This will work perfectly once Starlink is active

      High-speed doesn't imply low-latency and in the case of streaming a game, this can be extremely noticeable as input-lag which will make many games unplayable.

      So I have to disagree with the notion that it will work perfectly with Starlink. It will most likely work for some people but not for everyone.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 7:26am

        Re: Re: This will work perfectly once Starlink is active

        High-speed doesn't imply low-latency

        Right, although the low orbits will allow low-latency connections in principle. Remember also that light travels 50% faster in a vacuum than in fiber.

        Will Starlink actually deliver on that, and will it provide sufficient bandwidth in dense areas? For now we have little more than Elon Musk's predictions, which one shouldn't take too seriously.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Rocky, 20 Nov 2019 @ 10:57am

          Re: Re: Re: This will work perfectly once Starlink is active

          The best case scenario for Starlink in conjunction Stadia et al is a 20-40 ms latency which will give a noticeable input-lag for games which depending on the game, will give rise to the equivalent of PIO (Pilot Induced Oscillation).

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 12:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: This will work perfectly once Starlink is active

            Yeah -- I want to see someone try to set up X-Plane on a Stadia-equivalent setup and tell me how well their simulated plane flies with 20-40ms of latency between the flight controls and the rest of the simulation loop...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 12:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: This will work perfectly once Starlink is active

            The best case scenario for Starlink in conjunction Stadia et al is a 20-40 ms latency

            Why 20-40? The satellites are supposed to be ~300 km up, so about 1 ms away (2 ms roundtrip). Of course, double that again to account for the roundtrip back down to a ground station (until we get datacenters in orbit), but that's still less than 5 ms—comparable to earth-based connections, if theory and practice are the same.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Rocky, 20 Nov 2019 @ 1:22pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This will work perfectly once Starlink is ac

              If you have a Starlink satellite in an optimum position to communicate with, it will take the signal about 1.2 seconds to reach it. Add to that about 0.5-2 ms per equipment hop, add to that the time for the signal to travel to a datacenter with the required service which it then will have to process. I doubt you will see a latency much less than 20 ms unless under perfect circumstances.

              Services like Stadia will always be sensitive to latency-issues, especially if you are a fan of FPS-games. When the response-time for a control-input is at least a magnitude higher than for a local game this will always be true. I guess that for some this will be tolerable, but personally I would go absolutely bonkers unless the response-time is so low I don't notice it.

              All in all, on average I'd wager that Starlink will perform more or less like fiber for the same signal distance but the key advantage with Starlink is that it means you will be able to bypass most incumbent ISP's "broadband offerings" which will re-shape the market dramatically in the end.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 7:32am

      Re: This will work perfectly once Starlink is active

      "This will work perfectly once Starlink is active"

      You mean "If it works", right?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 6:34am

    Wrong location?

    To be honest, I think Stadia launched in the wrong place. Have they tried to launch somewhere (like Central Europe) where internet connections are cheap and unmetered, they might have had better chance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 7:29am

      Re: Wrong location?

      South Korea's an obvious option too. It's known for competitive video-gaming and has the world's fastest connection speeds.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 7:35am

        Re: Re: Wrong location?

        I doubt this would work in either south korea or europe.

        Consider that this service would have to replace, completely, a hundred thousand enthusiast PC's with high-end gaming GPU's and CPU's.

        And that ANY link loss is going to impact this service way worse than it does any current type of online game where processing and graphics are handled client-side.

        I think this will crash and burn spectacularly and remain buried until we have infrastructure well beyond what we can expect to have within the next generation.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 7:44am

          Re: Re: Re: Wrong location?

          "Consider that this service would have to replace, completely, a hundred thousand enthusiast PC's with high-end gaming GPU's and CPU's."

          Why? Wouldn't it be . more likely to appeal to people who cannot afford such things and/or game on older consoles?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 1:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong location?

            "Why? Wouldn't it be . more likely to appeal to people who cannot afford such things and/or game on older consoles?"

            It might. Assuming they actually save money.

            Here's a few loose calculations - an enthusiast rig will, using cheap chipsets and mid-range gear (or top range a few years old), sit on a power supply capable of 600-650W. In actual use we're looking at a conservative 400-500W use during gaming.

            Assuming that out of the 2.2 billion gamers in the world, 1% starts using Game Streaming, necessitating offloaded cpu/gpu power.
            For those 22 million online gamers you're looking at a power bill of up to 11 GW - an hour of which approximately the same power used by New York city in an entire day on average.

            All in a very few locations. Commercial bitcoin mining comes close but there are a LOT of loose assumptions around how to make Game Streaming pay the same dividends - especially when the competition is a home user who just pays his regular power/broadband bill (which will be cheaper by far when s/he doesn't need to care about having a 50-100 MBit bandwidth to satisfy Game Streaming).

            The point is that building a cheap gaming rig isn't hard and if you're in the demographic which could even afford to think of gaming pot odds are you need an at-home PC anyway.

            Game Streaming, otoh, will be very expensive, finicky, and rely on extremely heavy infrastructure both in cable bandwidth, power, and hardware. I think this is one of those solutions which just doesn't scale - which is the lesson learned early on when they last tried to launch the idea of Thin Clients.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 8:40am

          Re: Re: Re: Wrong location?

          Consider that this service would have to replace, completely, a hundred thousand enthusiast PC's with high-end gaming GPU's and CPU's.

          It doesn't have to "replace" anything, and high-end gaming machines are subject to frequent replacement anyway. Within a year or two, the question will come up: "new GPU, whole new PC, or Stadia?" (assuming Stadia still exists and has the necessary games).

          And that ANY link loss is going to impact this service way worse than it does any current type of online game where processing and graphics are handled client-side.

          Do you mean packet loss? A full link loss tends to take seconds (at least) to recover, which will screw you either way.

          It's not obvious why packet or connection loss would be worse with Stadia than with other (fast-paced) online gaming setup.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 9:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's not obvious why packet or connection loss would be worse with Stadia than with other (fast-paced) online gaming setup.

            The reason why is because ANY packet or connection loss when streaming on-demand content like audio, video, or games will be immediately noticed and it immediately downgrades your experience. This is not the same for locally rendered games.

            Current online multiplayer games where the game rendering is done on the local client, and only the multiplayer pieces are sent over the wire is a little more resilient, and there are ways to mitigate it. Generally you can have a little packet loss and a little higher latency and still be fine. With game streaming, that margin for error is zero.

            Additionally, it also affects the resolution you play at. With Stadia and other game streaming services, if you don't have enough bandwidth, you can maybe only play at 720p or 1080p, or less. It's also a bandwidth hog, so if you live in a household with other internet users who also might be game streaming, watching netflix, downloading updates, etc... your game time is going to suffer greatly. Whereas locally rendered games only require a tiny fraction of the bandwidth and traffic to play online.

            Finally, that comparison may make sense to games you play online with other people, but if you are playing solo, that's apples to oranges. With locally rendered games in single player mode, your network connection generally is irrelevant (yes, there are exceptions but they are not the rule). With Stadia, now you can't even play single player unless you have a solid network connection.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 10:55am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The reason why is because ANY packet or connection loss when streaming on-demand content like audio, video, or games will be immediately noticed

              Streaming audio and video are latency-insensitive and therefore usually keep a buffer so they can withstand losses of several seconds without anyone noticing. That won't work for fast-paced gaming, whether rendered remotely or rendered locally.

              Current online multiplayer games where the game rendering is done on the local client, and only the multiplayer pieces are sent over the wire is a little more resilient, and there are ways to mitigate it.

              Okay, I think I get it now. The lost packet could be updating an item (maybe another player) that's invisible, partially visible, or very small. A glitch could go unnoticed, or might be visible only in that one object.

              With remote rendering, the entire display will freeze or stutter, and the local end has very limited options to deal with this. The VR technique of running an affine transformation on the fully-rendered bitmap (for very quick updates when you turn your head) might make very brief dropouts look less bad.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 1:36pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Streaming audio and video are latency-insensitive and therefore usually keep a buffer so they can withstand losses of several seconds without anyone noticing.

                That's not quite accurate. Latency and packet loss are two different things. Latency is the amount of time it takes for data to get from the server to you, or vice versa. Packet loss is that data disappearing somewhere between you and the server and never making it to it's destination.

                Now, it's true that for audio and video streaming, buffers can also help keep your audio/video stream going despite some packet loss, but it can only do so much. Too much packet loss and even the buffer won't be able to keep up and you'll end up with digital artifacts, missed frames, and/or choppy audio. Streaming games that are not rendered locally are even harder hit because of the two way interaction going on, instead of just one-way audio/video consumption. Plus, you can't buffer games like audio and video since you have to interact with it in near real-time.

                Okay, I think I get it now. The lost packet could be updating an item (maybe another player) that's invisible, partially visible, or very small. A glitch could go unnoticed, or might be visible only in that one object.

                Correct. Even if it was updating the enemy player's movement, at most you might see their avatar lurch a little bit (unless you have a REALLY bad connection). Plus, that data overhead is very small and your connection could handle other people doing other things on your network at the same time. Game streaming would eat up way more of your bandwidth than that.

                With remote rendering, the entire display will freeze or stutter, and the local end has very limited options to deal with this.

                Exactly. Or best case your video quality is severely downgraded. Locally rendered can keep you playing at a high video quality with little to no noticeable effects if you happen to drop a few packets.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 2:55am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Okay, I think I get it now. The lost packet could be updating an item (maybe another player) that's invisible, partially visible, or very small. A glitch could go unnoticed, or might be visible only in that one object."

                Correct.

                On an MMORPG today the only thing transmitted from and to the game server is coordinate sets and brief instructions on what your PC is supposed to show - a minor glitch would result in a slow update on where your PC is supposed to render your character. A choppy link might result in "rubberbanding" or slight hit delay.

                The same situation in game streaming means your screen either freezes completely or turns black because what is being transmitted is everything you were supposed to see.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Rocky, 20 Nov 2019 @ 11:01am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Also, many client-server games today contains code for predicting/correcting movement etc to hide some packet-loss which is neigh impossible to recreate for raw key-input.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 1:12pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                It would be fairly simple to have the local end know its own movement vector, and, as mentioned above, apply an affine transformation to simulate the movement. It won't look great but isn't expensive and might be enough to paper over the occasional one-frame loss.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 3:00am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "It would be fairly simple to have the local end know its own movement vector, and, as mentioned above, apply an affine transformation to simulate the movement. It won't look great but isn't expensive and might be enough to paper over the occasional one-frame loss."

                  Except that Game Streaming operates on the assumption that the recipient user client should do no computative work at all.

                  It'll be hard to code a recipient client with generic code to mitigate any possible effects of packet loss or jitter.

                  But I think i know what it'll look like. Where you'd get choppy movement or rubberbanding on a PC-driven game, in Game streaming you'd just get the "loading" buffering circle in perpetuity, just like when you drop link for a few ms on a youtube video.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 9:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It doesn't have to "replace" anything, and high-end gaming machines are subject to frequent replacement anyway.

            Not that frequent. And high-end gaming machines can be upgraded piecemeal so the costs are way lower.

            Do you mean packet loss? A full link loss tends to take seconds (at least) to recover, which will screw you either way.

            Packet loss is not the same as a full link loss. Packet loss occurs all the time but you probably never notice it because it's either mitigated/planned for at certain thresholds or happens in the nano to millisecond time so you never notice. A full link loss is completely different and yes, will kick you out of everything and force you to reconnect.

            As stated in my other comment, this could affect online multiplayer games but it generally never had an impact on single player. Now with Stadia, it affects EVERYTHING.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2019 @ 11:07am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              And high-end gaming machines can be upgraded piecemeal so the costs are way lower.

              Still, getting set up for Stadia should be cheaper than any decent gaming GPU.

              Packet loss is not the same as a full link loss. Packet loss occurs all the time but you probably never notice it because it's either mitigated/planned for at certain thresholds or happens in the nano to millisecond time so you never notice.

              Looking at tcp_schedule_loss_probe() in net/ipv4/tcp_output.c, TCP in Linux won't detect a loss until at least twice the round trip time has elapsed. Expect that to be in the tens of milliseconds, pretty long for a streaming game. Google will need to be unusually agressive with loss detection in whatever UDP-based protocol they use.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 3:04am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Still, getting set up for Stadia should be cheaper than any decent gaming GPU."

                I sort of doubt it. If you have the werewithal to consider gaming at all you still need a PC in general. If your PC has a GPU at all, integrated or otherwise, it'll be enough for gaming.

                So Stadia offers nothing except extra overhead.

                In order to push game streaming I'm guessing it'll boil down to game developers either massively price dumping streaming games or issuing games for console-only...err..streaming-only, that is.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 1:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong location?

            "It doesn't have to "replace" anything, and high-end gaming machines are subject to frequent replacement anyway. Within a year or two, the question will come up: "new GPU, whole new PC, or Stadia?" (assuming Stadia still exists and has the necessary games)."

            Yes it does.

            Game Streaming assumes that the user employs a Thin Client with all the processing going on in remote servers.

            So in order to fulfill the needs of those millions of gamers Game Streaming services are aiming for, the service needs to supply the equivalent of a high-end gaming rig for every user. Which means server parks dwarfing heavy commercial bitcoin mining operations will have to be built and deployed - and regularly upgraded every time new GPU architecture hits.

            The costs of this will have to be absorbed by home users who still need to have some form of at-home PC, doubling the cost they pay, even without counting the cost they incur for broadband which for online game purposes suddenly swells from around 20 kbit to 15 MBit.

            "It's not obvious why packet or connection loss would be worse with Stadia than with other (fast-paced) online gaming setup."

            Most latency loss on a long link consists of ordinary network management - data overflow forcing packet prioritization.
            If you're on an FPS or MMORPG with a command flow back and forth of 20-100 Kbit you are in a much better position than if the flow consists of 15 Mbit worth of 4k equivalence.

            When the full set of data you push and receive is several Mbit's worth then packet loss will lead to full link loss far easier.

            Thin Clients were buried as a concept long ago because basic math guarantees the cost of scaling it way outpaces the benefits.

            I still maintain the main reason Game Streaming is pushed so hard is for the same reason the copyright cult tried to force "always online" down gamer throats multiple times despite the fact that both theiry and practice showed all that came out of it was horrible inconvenience for the consumer.

            Game Streaming promises nothing good for consumers. But it DOES offer two very delectable possibilities for the owners and developers of games and gaming platforms - total control of a product even after the user "bought" it, and a paradigm where the user is chained to the platform service in perpetuity.

            Game Streaming can be summarized thus: "Please! Take away ALL my options!"

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2019 @ 12:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong location?

              "So in order to fulfill the needs of those millions of gamers Game Streaming services are aiming for, the service needs to supply the equivalent of a high-end gaming rig for every user."

              I'd read up on how cloud computing actually works at scale. Because, if you think this is true you really don't know how this stuff operates on the back end and your objections are based on fiction.

              "Game Streaming can be summarized thus: "Please! Take away ALL my options!""

              No, it doesn't. It offers people who aren't interested in the same things you are another, cheaper option. If you don't like it, that's fine, it's not made for you. But stop pretending it offers nothing just because YOU don't like it.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 3:17am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong location?

                "I'd read up on how cloud computing actually works at scale. Because, if you think this is true you really don't know how this stuff operates on the back end and your objections are based on fiction."

                Oh, I think I know a fair bit about how cloud computing works at scale. One point of note here being that cloud computing is EXTREMELY vulnerable to time-sensitive synchronization errors. Now, most game developers have a hell of a hard time distributing game processor/GPU load across threads even when all the cores supposed to handle the load are in the same CPU die.
                And on top of that with cloud computaton you now ensure that any and every server responsible for sharing the load is now individually affected by latency spikes, jitter, and packet loss.

                "No, it doesn't. It offers people who aren't interested in the same things you are another, cheaper option."

                Wrong. It doesn't offer ANY options. It takes away options from anyone who owns a computer in the first place, while adding nothing.

                "But stop pretending it offers nothing just because YOU don't like it."

                It offers nothing whether I like it or not. PC-native computation in gaming will remain better than Thin Client solutions irrespective of what I think about it.

                Your entire argument can be summarized as such: "Just because a company offers to replace your current car with a Model T doesn't mean that replacement reduces your options".

                Yeah, sure, the offer to increase your maintenance costs and reduce the functionality of your transportation IS optional. But that won't "add" an option since you already have the option of never exceeding 45 mph while keeping it in first gear.

                Similar to Game Streaming - you can have the equivalent by running your MMORPG or FPS on a 28.8k modem while throttling your CPU and GPU. That's not a new option. It already exists for any gamer.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 7:43am

      Re: Wrong location?

      It's just the mentality of the entertainment industry, sadly. Almost everything just has to launch in the US first (with the exception of Japanese countries), then spread to Europe later. That is slightly changing (for example, the current XBox streaming beta is in the US, UK and Korea), but it's rare that anything actually launches here first.

      You can argue that Google isn't really the gaming industry up to this point, but the publishers supplying the games probably have some kind of licensing demand that makes the US the best starting option. Whenever these things don't look like they make sense, it's usually down to third party licensing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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