24

Wretched

September 28, 2020 by Tim

A future with a true game-streaming service sounds fantastic. I love the idea of leaving the hardware to a supercomputer somewhere, and beaming games directly to people’s TV with little additional hardware to upgrade/maintain. It’s a fantastic concept.

But it has, thus far, not worked on a mass scale. There are still bottlenecks in places these companies have no control over. And yet to my surprise, these companies keep looking at what’s come before, in all of its mediocre glory, and saying “Yeah, I’ll have me some of that.” 

Big companies pushing this concept against its boundaries are probably the only thing that will drive it to maybe eventually succeed on a universal level. But in the meantime… meh.


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Pulse
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Pulse

i kinda think the major issue would be lag. not everyone is going to have the super fast connections, or stable for that matter. i remember living most of my life with a 1.5mbs speed due to an OLD net card. got a new pc, capped my router’s 25mbs, it was really old too. moved out on my own, got myself internet, saw it clocking 400…that jaw drop hurt. but to the same pc 16x more speed didnt seem to affect any of my online games live overwatch where i would have expected it to. so if the connection speed… Read more »

GarlynSav
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GarlynSav

Latency vs throughput. Just because you are reaching 400mb down doesn’t mean latency or remote response time is good. Plus if using a connection less protocol to send the data then there is no way to know if you revived that piece of the “screen”.
Latency can go a long way to making or ruining online gaming where it is trying to determine when you pushed a button or moved a d-pad/stick.

Pulse
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Pulse

ya the only real benefit ive seen has been when hosting factorio with my buddy. his net sucks so we have me host so the one doing most of the work isnt getting choppy. he enjoys bug hunting so hes fine with the terror lag spikes bring. im working in factory, lag can mean huge blocks of oopsies. i kinda wanna see an honest comparison to games tthat require accurately timed inputs and ones that need roughly timed but precise inputs. a fighter or dark souls like game would meet the first while a platformer could meet the second. if… Read more »

deekeetr
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deekeetr

No idea why you got downvoted, but yeah that’s pretty much it.

Me-me
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Me-me

Yeah, them not having control over it is the big part. They’re making products that rely on infrastructure, but the infrastructure is set up by other, monopolistic companies that have no reason to upgrade. Google Fiber was a good step (what, a decade ago?), and we need more of that. Remember when they were offering ten times the speed and ping at a tenth of the price? And then coincidentally, every ISP started offering competitive rates and speeds? Almost like they always could, but didn’t want to until forced. We need that sort of thing everywhere (updated for the modern… Read more »

Barmem
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Barmem

Yea, you guys should do something with internet in states, its kinda pathetic. I pay 8$ for 400 megabit interner here

no thanks nintendo
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no thanks nintendo

We can’t do anything about it (save for perhaps mister slicey). All politicians are corrupt. Anyone who says they’ll do something about it won’t get the lobbyist funds needed to run a successful campaign and get elected, Everyone else is already in the pocket of these big corporations because they’re in it for keeping the power they have rather than in it for their constituents. And even if you somehow manage to elect one good person, they’re being voted against by a huge majority of corporate puppets, so you still don’t get any change. Even when we get a good… Read more »

Sigh
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Sigh

President Obama only nominated Ajit Pai because of recommendation from Mitch McConnell. Note that Ajit Pai was only nominated because the Senate was GOP controlled at the time and knew that no other nomination would get through. However, Ajit Pai was appointed by Trump.

GarlynSav
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GarlynSav

I don’t always agree that “net neutrality” is a good thing. For example the ISPs have contracts with each other with data exchanges. So for example every 1 byte sent I agree to support 10 bytes incoming and vice versa. Networks and hardware are built based on these flows and there is a cost for running them. Sorry. But that is stupid. California can’t demand the USA force the rest of the power companies outside of California sell them electricity at the rate California wants. Power grid neutrality!!!! Every analogy eventually breaks down but you should really look into the… Read more »

Jacob
Guest

The difficulty is the distance between us. There is a lot of open space in the US, whereas a tightly packed country like Japan can afford higher speeds for less money on far less infrastructure.

Cyrad
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Cyrad

The telecom industry spends billions of dollars lobbying so politicians pass legislation that allows them to have an oligopoly and reduce consumer protections.

Service quality isn’t the only problem, either. The FCC traditionally protected the Internet under Net Neutrality principles for almost the whole lifespan of the Internet. The current FCC repealed it despite overwhelming public opposition and the GOP blocked every attempt to reinstate it.

Also, ISPs have been fighting Google Fiber and is one of the reasons it’s deploying very slowly.

nealithi
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nealithi

My concern on ‘regulated and protected by law’. Is the people making the laws have little care to understand what they are regulating. And they have agendas outside just that. So the ‘law’ can be used to cut off political speech in the name of ‘the children’ or similar scapegoat phrase.

Eldest Gruff
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Eldest Gruff

I frequent r/stadia a bit. Chat with the Stadians. Argue with them a bit. Some of them are multi-plat gamers. Others are folks who just haven’t gotten into gaming for a few years, and are loving the convenience, while not really understanding what they’re missing. From what I gather… the service, itself, is decent to good. Input lag is essentially at console-levels. The different creative ways I’ve seen people play – plugging in at their monitor at work, with controllers on their phone, multiple TVs, etc – reminds me a bit of 2017 and the Switch, when everyone was like… Read more »

no thanks nintendo
Guest
no thanks nintendo

“Input lag is essentially at console-levels.”

Absolutely not true. Don’t let fanboys who have to convince themselves they didn’t waste their money lie to you. It’s much worse than consoles.

Eldest Gruff
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Eldest Gruff

Maybe I should’ve been a bit clearer; sorry about that. It’s not a true 1:1 comparison, no. They were awful outside the gate, and though there have been improvements, it’s still by no means identical. It’s going to suck for any game that requires quick, precise button presses – first person shooters, fighting games, probably even action-platformers like Dead Cells and Hollow Knight, if they ever get on there. However, rumors of hitting the button and your bloke swinging his sword two seconds later, or not at all, just isn’t going to happen unless you already have unstable Internet. It’s… Read more »

Swiftbow
Guest

It’s just not a realistic setup. A supercomputer to handle that kind of data output would have to be… well, equivalent to the same power as all the little computers handling the same games now. Except MUCH more powerful. And then you say: Well, in the future, we’ll have the technology to build such a supercomputer. Well, yeah… except: The expectations regarding graphics/processing/etc. will also increase. Thus, no matter how improved the tech IS, it still isn’t realistic to expect one central hub to be able to handle the load the way the individual computers can. On top of that,… Read more »

Humsterr
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Humsterr

Yeah, and we see a lot of projects with distributed computing because a lot of individual pcs are stronger and more affordable than a supercomputer. So, yeah, seems DOA

Mike
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Mike

It isn’t a supercomputer though, its a cloud of servers. Which means it doesn’t have to be sized to have one computer per gamer like the local solution does, it needs to have one computer per gamer at peak gaming times. And that’s assuming the processing can’t be split across multiple servers (no idea if that exists currently or not for games). You know who has tons of processing power that’s often latent? Google and Amazon. That both have massive clouds that have a base load 24 hours a day but also have peak loads during business hours. The definition… Read more »

Swiftbow
Guest

The processing demand on a server running search operations or even shopping carts is a FRACTION of that required by games.

Could they do it to some degree? Sure. But it’s either going to be a decent product for a fairly small group of people, or a mediocre product for a large number of people. There’s no real scenario where that changes. It’s just costs.

Now… if the consumer’s TV could handle some or even half the processing power? That could be a different story.

Barmem
Guest
Barmem

I dont like idea of gaming going fully cloud, that would allow devs full control of your games making possible for games to die completely without any ability to play it again, live service games already making this pretty hard, imagine if you would want to play… idk, overwatch in 30 years, you cant host your own server because blizzard would never allow that. if it would be cloud exclusive that means you dont even have access to game files

Croi
Guest
Croi

Sadly, they already do. Look at the current Destiny 2 fiasco.

foducool
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foducool

lol keep trying an failing until there’s a breakthrough

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

No, it’s a terrible idea. Internet goes down, no gaming for you. Owner decides to shut down the servers, no gaming for you. Owner decides to ban you for an arbitrary reason or no reason at all, no gaming for you. No thanks. Always online DRM is bad enough, no need to make it even worse.

no thanks nintendo
Guest
no thanks nintendo

As much as I hate cloud gaming, all of those things are true without it.

“Internet goes down, no gaming for you.” – You already noted always online DRM.
“Owner decides to shut down the servers, no gaming for you.” – That’s already happened with several games and several now dead storefronts.
“Owner decides to ban you for an arbitrary reason or no reason at all, no gaming for you.” – Better hope GabeN doesn’t decide to ban you today. Better avoid Origin because I’ve heard they love arbitrarily banning people.

Name
Guest
Name

You still have the option to buy DRM-free games. If cloud gaming becomes standard such option may no longer exist.

Xul
Guest
Xul

None of those things are any different to Netflix. Internet goes down, no Netflix for you. Netflix shuts down the servers, no Netflix for you. Netflix suspends your account, no Netflix for you.

Stadia and other services like it are Netflix for games. People have consistently demonstrated they don’t care about those things. Latency and game availability are the only substantial hurdles.

ShonaSoF
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ShonaSoF

the 4.5 mbps down connection in my area makes me look on streaming gaming as a pointless exercise.

no thanks nintendo
Guest
no thanks nintendo

I’ve heard a theory that these companies keep doing this because it’s a cheap way to “show off what their cloud servers can do” to other potential customers. What, your cloud servers are so bad that you can’t even make something as trivial as video games playable? Gamers avoid your services because they’re full of input lag? And this is supposed to make other companies want to use you to power their autonomous driving and other things that are far more serious and critical than gaming? To me, that’d be a reason to not use Google, to not use Amazon,… Read more »

Warlock
Guest
Warlock

I’m pretty happy with GeforceNow (doesn’t replace my desktop but lets me play on my craptop, uses my existing accounts so I don’t have to buy any games again). I suspect part of the pricing equation for all these services is ‘we have a bunch of cloud computing hardware sitting idle after business hours, let’s get some use out of it’.

Eldest Gruff
Guest
Eldest Gruff

I feel fairly certain that Google’s doing it because their engineers thought it was fun and wanted to do something cool and innovative, that Amazon’s doing it because they love money and see how lucrative the gaming industry is, and that Microsoft’s doing it because it’s an advantage that Sony just doesn’t have and a way to expand their gaming business beyond console.

Maybe that’s why NVidia is doing it; I dunno.

santa_fae
Guest
santa_fae

Nvidia’s been doing it for years though. It was called Grid before being branded as GeForce NOW.

Pocket Astronomer
Guest
Pocket Astronomer

The Stadia fanbase will be outraged by this comic.

Both of them.

Lily
Guest
Lily

One big technology fad can turn into an entirely new industry. So it is worth investing into things like this, even if a lot of the time it doesn’t go any where.

des
Guest
des

Cloud gaming is one of the thing that I most dread. The first issue would be losing control of my games: as a PC gamer I love to tweak and mod my games whenever possible. A streaming service would simply impose on me the way I play my own games, which is a huge turnoff. The second issue is that such an environment would deviate development of current AAA games: with the amount of money publishers already waste on Denuvo (instead of making the game good enough the gamers will want to pay for it, “the Witcher” docet) it does… Read more »

Dan I
Guest
Dan I

I have much for confidence in Luna than Stadia simply because Amazon isn’t nearly as flaky of a company when it comes to “experiments.” But yeah, the U.S. just doesn’t have the infrastructure.

Tony
Guest

Just as Netflix changed the movie industry so too will game streaming. No one rents movies from blockbuster anymore. This too will end up being in the game future too. Already we no longer go to game stores to buy a copy of game, we just download them now. Developers will love it as it removes any piracy possibility, and the consumer should love it too as gameplay is instant with no downloads. It’s starting with Stadia just being the first with big publicity so far. There’s already Stadia, xCloud, Nvidia Geforce Now, and now Luna. Competition is great for… Read more »

FITCamaro
Guest
FITCamaro

Maybe you don’t. But many of us still buy physical copies. And I still rent movies physically too from Redbox. A lot cheaper than streaming rentals.

Eldest Gruff
Guest
Eldest Gruff

As much as I can see your points, Tony, I ultimately have to disagree. The current main market for gaming, what pushes industry to move forward and innovate, are the core gaming community. The people, mostly, who buy a console in the first few years of its life; the people who invest the money and time into the hobby. There ARE others; they may be more numerous, but they don’t provide the same revenue. That’s why even though most games eventually drop to $20-30, all the advertising is on around when they cost $60 and there are no used copies.… Read more »

FITCamaro
Guest
FITCamaro

If it’s cheap enough, it’s good enough for the off game to me that I can’t play locally due to lack of hardware. But I’ll have have SOME hardware. I would not want to do purely streaming.

Dan
Guest
Dan

My biggest issue, is how when Netflix and other Streaming service began to dominate the market, the quality dropped drastically. Can’t complain and can’t get a refund when you have access to more content than you could ever make it through. Games from AAA developers have already begun trending downward.

FITCamaro
Guest
FITCamaro

Netflix show quality can be hit or miss, but for what I’ve watched, the quality is way better than most network shows.

Stephen M. Schaefer
Guest
Stephen M. Schaefer

shire. baggins.

Eldest Gruff
Guest
Eldest Gruff

What’s ‘taters’, precious? What’s ‘taters’, eh?

Ben
Guest
Ben

These things always look like terrible ideas until they don’t.

People thought the idea of spending money developing home gaming devices was absurd after Atari flopped.

Kaitensatsuma
Guest
Kaitensatsuma

We’ve been trying to capture this stupid unicorn since OnLive and we’ve always run into stupid problems.

Latency issues, Game Library issues, Availability, Bandwidth requirements….

Frankly I don’t want it to succeed because not only are we going away from physical media which can be retained by the purchaser, but now also even owning our own digital media. Not a consumer friendly model in the end.

Marth Koopa
Guest
Marth Koopa

Game streaming will never be good. It’s impossible to fix the latency without weird gimmicks to try to mask it, and I do not want MORE control of games in the hands of big corporations.

Casra
Guest
Casra

I don’t want lagtastic gaming. Period. When and if that can be fixed, sign me up.

Timelight
Guest
Timelight

I am using Shadow PC at the moment and it works great for me. I don’t need to rebuy my games like you need to with google Stadia. You got a full windows pc where you can install Steam, Epic etc. on. I only use it with cable internet and not with wifi.

Astalon
Guest
Astalon

Exactly what I was going to say. Shadow works great so long as you’ve got stable, solid internet.

bathroomsecurity
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bathroomsecurity

Not all games are shooters/beat-em-up/etc where the slightest input lag ruins the experience. No true fans will play Halo or Smash Bros via streaming. I do believe that games such as turn-based strategy titles, “walking simulators” like Life is Strange, point-and-click titles, and 2D puzzles (e.g. Machinarium) are perfectly suited for streaming. The problem right now is the pricing model, which simply doesn’t save you enough money vs buying a XB1/PS4/Switch which already have large libraries of 1080p games that you can even buy used (and Xbox Game Pass is incredibly good value too). That is what will ultimately bring… Read more »

Marth Koopa
Guest
Marth Koopa

Input latency makes ANY game unenjoyable. Even if it’s turn based it still feels awful for your selections to take a brief moment to respond. When you’re rapidly navigating menus, having instant response to each selection is very, very important so as not to become a slog

Warlock
Guest
Warlock

There’s two (well, more than two, but I’m only going to respond to two) main issues here. First is the tech – I completely agree with you that some games – and some gamers -are better suited than others. Professional team in a shooter tournament, probably not (unless their sponsor demands it!). Solo in a story heavy RPG or a turn based game, absolutely fine. Those in between, it’ll depend on the game, the tech and personal preference. I’ve found it (it being GeforceNow, I haven’t tried Stadia) playable to good, though I’m far from being a competitive twitch player.… Read more »

croi
Guest
croi

Alexa enabled? No thanks…

aaron Smith
Guest
aaron Smith

there is a option for internetless areas or ones with a monopoly set up your own cooperative tower internet though its only feasable if you get a bunch of people to sign up and help with the cost

Paweł Zdanowski
Guest
Paweł Zdanowski

Maybe I don’t understand tech, but I just can’t see how would it be possible to reasonably achieve the same lagless game speed you get at playing on a console if you need to send button input half a world away and back instead of 2 meters between you and the console. Just seem impossible without some quantum physics particle entanglement tech… and I don’t think we are quite there yet.

Eldest Gruff
Guest
Eldest Gruff

It’s not between you and “halfway around the world,” it’s between you and the closest Google Data Center. If you search for a ping test – which I did right before I wrote this – I found that the closest data center to me has about a 50ms ping. Considering that your controller already has a 15-30ish ms input latency, the difference of 5% of a second may not be noticeable to you, or may be hugely noticeable.

Ryan Miller
Guest
Ryan Miller

Jeez, seeing all you talk of how great your internet is makes me really hate the “internet” I have. I’ll just sit here with my banjo in rural Virginia where I still can’t get broadband in 2020.

Rhapsody
Guest
Rhapsody

“bottlenecks”

The speed of light is a tricky one.

Puretra
Guest
Puretra

I finally read all CAD!. I’ve started reading 24 days ago.
This was such a great trip. Thanks Tim. : )

Trey Gracen
Guest
Trey Gracen

Yeah. I do most of my gaming through the xcloud. So I know those limits so well. Can’t see and cant load. Not to mention crashing…. Main problem is the companies don’t have sufficiently powerful servers. My service is very high speed,but certain times can have the servers unavailable. Only reason that matches is inferior server setup.