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Google Stadia! Thoughts? [roundtable]
I'm almost finished watching the presentation. Most of the 'gamer' feedback has seemed negative, but I honestly think that the concept is pretty impressive. Even though I'm naturally skeptical about game streaming performance, the amount of thought that they put into the service (split-screen, state-sharing, multi-GPU support, future-proofing) is very impressive. The accessibility is unparalleled. And those streaming features are going to be pretty important to certain people. Certain... millennial people.

It won't have Nintendo games, so I'm not that personally excited about it, but I could really see Stadia taking a bite out of Xbox, PC, and PlayStation.

The devil will be in the details, though: packaging, pricing, and real-world performance.

But I have an Android TV, so I'll probably try it out. My internet is kind of shitty, but my mind is open! Even if this is turns out to be the meteor that destroys our peaceful dinosaur village.

People complaining about exclusive games, and such, though... Like, way to miss the forest for the trees. This could be a huge inflection point in gaming history.

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Posted: 03/20/19, 17:23:43  - Edited by 
 on: 03/20/19, 17:34:30
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I'm for it! Input lag seems like one of the biggest fears. I realize a lot of people don't have an ideal setup for Stadia but I did a little checking to see where I stand. For reference, I live 25 miles from any "big" cities (Charleston, SC). My speed test in the middle of the day puts me at a little over 180 mbps with a 22ms ping to Atlanta (270 miles away). My nearest Google Data Center is less than 10 miles away. Also, I have no bandwidth caps and my internet is competitively-priced. I also have 3+ ISPs I can choose from.

I really wish everyone had the same or better situation, but stadia seems like a contender for my setup. I worry about input lag, but it seems I may be in an ideal situation for it, and I'm willing to try it before griping about it.

Besides, Digital Foundry's latency tests put it in the same range of input delay as an Xbox One X. So it's obviously slower than PC, but it may end up being a really cool option for myself and others in similar situations.
Posted: 03/20/19, 17:48:23
What was their connection speed, though?
Posted: 03/20/19, 18:27:36
As soon as I saw how cool it was, I knew the "gamer feedback" would be negative, I pretty much feel the opposite of everyone these days. They reacted the same way to Labo.

Like I said in the daily discussion thread, I think it could be a console killer:

Sooo Stadia looks absolutely insane and, uh, I don't know if consoles are going to survive this. 4K 60fps game streaming to any Chrome browser, phone, or Chromecast, with Youtube integration allowing you to link from a video to a playable moment.

Microsoft seems to be going more for the "games as service" model lately, but they're also supposedly announcing a couple new consoles later this year and I have no idea why anyone would buy them if Stadia is legit. Any third party in their right mind would put their games on Stadia, and Microsoft doesn't have any first-party games other than Halo. Sony's kind of in the same boat, are enough people going to buy a PS5 just to play another Uncharted game? They have exclusives, but not very many.

Nintendo *might* be able to survive based on the power of its IP, people aren't going to stop playing Pokemon, Animal Crossing, and Mario anytime soon. Nintendo's also really good at differentiating itself from the competition with unique hardware, so they might be able to pull something off with their next console as well. But still, once being able to play games without any dedicated hardware becomes the norm, that's just gonna eat away at the number of people willing to spend a few hundred dollars on a Nintendo machine.

Super exciting though. With games running in Google's datacenters, the upper limit to how performance-intensive they can be is waaay higher. And Google will do a way better job of game discoverability than Steam does, since that's kinda Google's thing. The machine learning stuff could be crazy too. Fascinating stuff, can't wait to see how the rest of the industry reacts to it.
Posted: 03/20/19, 20:22:54
@Secret_Tunnel Yeah but as I posted in that thread, not everyone has the speeds to run this stuff.

Someone posted an image I am assuming was from the presentation that said it would use 20 GB of bandwidth an hour. Which is around 44 Mbps? That's... already not even an option for me. My Internet isn't even close. And according to Microsoft, most people's isn't.

Keep in mind, this is before even talking about interest, a large portion of consumers just literally could not run this platform without major issues. But if we do talk about interest, I've been hearing for years about how consoles are stupid because a good gaming PC yada yada. But people just... like consoles anyway?

I don't think this will be a console killer any time soon, no.

I do think this will probably be the future, eventually. But a ways off.
Posted: 03/20/19, 20:32:33  - Edited by 
 on: 03/20/19, 20:34:50
It's also interesting that Nintendo has somewhat protected themselves from this type of console, due to their focus on portability, offline accessibility, and exclusive games. Switch exists in a fairly blue ocean. But most people don't buy PlayStations and Xboxes for exclusive games. They buy it for FIFA and Call of Duty. PS won the battle because it turned out to be the 'default' 'next-gen' console. That might just become a Chromecast from now on.

And the console gaming audience could radically expand, too. This might even hurt the mobile storefronts. Or maybe they'll all merge?
Posted: 03/20/19, 20:40:41  - Edited by 
 on: 03/20/19, 23:55:52
I don't like the idea of it since I'm an old fogey, but this is probably the future.
Posted: 03/20/19, 21:47:47

People don't like consoles, they like TVs. If Xbox was an app on your Smart TV, no one would bother buying the console.

Zero said:
Which is around 44 Mbps? That's... already not even an option for me. My Internet isn't even close. And according to Microsoft, most people's isn't.

I wasn't aware of this though. I'm in the rural Midwest and 50 Mbps is the slowest plan that's even offered, I'm looking at internet for my new apartment right now and 100 Mbps is actually cheaper than 50 for the first year (and I'll only be living there for a year anyway). That's surprising to me, can these people who don't have broadband even watch HD videos?
Posted: 03/21/19, 00:52:38
Well I get about 3 Mbps and watching Netflix stuff is fine, although I have no idea if there is behind the scenes resolution switching or anything. Both in the suburbs and in my Chicago apartment I've had companies tell me they literally can't do any faster until they get new infrastructure, I feel like maybe I just accidentally keep picking the wrong places to live.

But yeah like, tons of people don't have fast Internet! Some people don't have Internet at all!

Speaking of, Smart TVs... apparently only 37% of US households have one.

Not everyone has this stuff!

Of course, you could say that people who buy game consoles are also more likely to be people who have the above tech, which is maybe sort of true? But a lot of poor people own game consoles too. I mean, as a kid we did whatever the fuck we could to get our hands on games. There were times when we didn't have a working TV in my house but I still had an NES... played it on this old green monitor with no sound that we had laying around. You do what you gotta do.
Posted: 03/21/19, 02:47:31  - Edited by 
 on: 03/21/19, 02:51:36
Probably the future, let's face it. I'm interested in trying it out for sure. If I'm really able to stream games at top visual settings in 4K at 60FPS without any discernable input lag (and all of that while only having to buy a game controller), well... Google might be breaking into the industry in a huge way.
Posted: 03/21/19, 03:48:23  - Edited by 
 on: 03/21/19, 04:22:22
I have no plans on ever having a google account for anything, so that means this isn’t for me. Hell, I don’t even use google as my default search engine. I’m currently all in on Nintendo and Microsoft, and I can’t wait to buy whatever hardware comes from them next.
Posted: 03/21/19, 04:31:55
I've got apparently 29 Mbps down and 2 Mbps up. Allows me to play Splatoon but I guess it wouldn't allow me to play Stadia.
Posted: 03/21/19, 12:02:03
I have 100Mbps down and up. I'm still skeptical that Stadia will be worthwhile for a lot of kinds of games, not because of the bandwidth but because of latency.

That said, if it works, I definitely welcome it as an option.
Posted: 03/21/19, 14:55:08
I like the technical achievement behind it all and some of the features are really neat. However, I'm worried about how this will play out if/when millions of users are playing through these data centers at the same time.

- No worries about outdated hardware or driver patches
- No game patch downloads
- No hacking/cheating (I'm sure they'll find other ways to cheat)
- Instant start up
- Game streaming built into YouTube where others can join your game seamlessly
- Sharing your game state via a simple link <=== I LOVE THIS
- Your device and controller will create a direct connection to gaming datacenter. This will minimize lag.
- Good host of engine and 3rd party tool support out of the gate

- Need a good internet connection at all times
- Input lag concerns. Initial benchmarks by the press show its only a few milliseconds behind XBO input lag. This might change due to your personal environment.
- Cost? Pay by the minute/game/month?
Posted: 03/21/19, 17:19:34
Zero said:
Speaking of, Smart TVs... apparently only 37% of US households have one.

Not everyone has this stuff!

I wish I didn't have one! It's surprising to me there isn't a single TV manufacturer that just makes big monitors for half the price of a Smart TV.
Posted: 03/21/19, 18:26:30
From Game Informer:

The Doom demo is essentially the PC version of the game set into arcade mode, with options of a Razer Keyboard and Mouse or a Razer controller. Upon researching, I could not find any real evidence or reports that these items are particularly infamous for built-in input lag and all three input devices were seemingly wired. It's not an exact measurement, but swinging your aiming reticle around the screen is not instantaneous, and anyone that has played Doom before can instantly feel the difference.

More to the point, I was missing shots, and it was initially difficult to time melee hits against enemies. It's not that the input lag makes Doom unplayable, but it makes it harder, and it makes you worse at the game. It's the kind of thing that would make you reboot your console and check your TV settings.

The thing is, after a few minutes of playing, I was still conscious of the difference, but it felt like it mattered less. It was like controlling that big gun in some shooters with the swimmy reticle that dragged behind the input. I knew what was happening and eventually my brain and my hands compensated for that difference. Was it ideal? Definitely not. Was it a way to play Doom in a stream without a console or expensive GPU? Approximately. And that will probably be enough for a lot of people.
Posted: 03/21/19, 18:57:43

Damn. Welp, pack it up everyone, it could've been great.

...nah, the author does bring up a good point that if everything has lag, then nothing has lag. But a lack of snappy controls is a serious downside.

EDIT: Wait, a guy from Google says it's actually fine!
Posted: 03/21/19, 19:43:24  - Edited by 
 on: 03/21/19, 19:47:51
I can't see any reason I'd suffer even a little input lag and choppy resolution on streaming games, when I can own and play physical / digital versions on my own device without a hitch.

VOD is one thing because it quietly buffers behind the scenes, online gaming is very good at hiding occasional low ping rates through software tricks, but with this kind of service it's immediately, painfully obvious when anything is running less than perfectly. We're definitely not 'there' yet, and frankly no system is ever so stable as to make it likely that 'there' is a place worth being compared to what we already have.

Posted: 03/22/19, 00:49:22
Noticeable input lag is definitely a deal breaker for me for any sort of action game.
Posted: 03/22/19, 01:43:41
Some interesting ideas, but fuck Google.
Posted: 03/22/19, 11:30:39
Is it portable? If not, my amount of “do I give a crap?” plummets.
Posted: 03/22/19, 13:26:22
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