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Google Stadia - "Future of Gaming" announced at GDC 2019

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2 hours ago, simms said:

I don’t want this 

 

Me neither.

 

I play most of my games in VR now (PC - Rift).  And thats a *hugely* sensitive device as far as latency goes.  Oculus spent years chipping away at the data chain in the headset to remove milliseconds of latency.   This isnt a technology I feel any desire to adopt.   

 

Theres an interesting paper here:

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1801.07587.pdf

 

That talks about 5G and cloud computing applicability to AR/VR/MR.  It throws a new term into the mix - 'Fog Computing'.  Essentially a very geographically close cloud - designed specifically to keep latency as low as possible.  Think one cabinet doing the computing in each street.  :blink:

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2 minutes ago, stefcha said:

, I'd be fine with it being a choice and much less so with it being the only option even for my own use.

We are decades away, if, ever, of it being the *only* option. The next generation of consoles is assured, and they won't have streaming services as thier main medium. Until streaming services can be used as seasmlessly as locally installed content, regardless of location, there will remain a choice.

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4 minutes ago, RubberJohnny said:

 

Yeah, but all these apps or whatever still have minimum system requirements. There's still something on the client end, even if it's just a web plugin. Surely you could just have that take your inputs so they only have to go the one way and then you've got no difference from an average multiplayer game.

 

 

I'm not sure I understand.   With a local client if you push forward on the stick you character can respond instantly (within practical limitations).  With streaming your input has to hit the server before anything can begin to happen.  Whatever is rendered has to make the return journey.  That's added lag that can't be eliminated.

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3 minutes ago, stefcha said:

 

That's such a stupid analogy; fact is it wouldn't be accessible to a hell of a lot of people who can actually play games via traditional means right now. And even though I fit in the "it'll work for me" demographic, I'd be fine with it being a choice and much less so with it being the only option even for my own use. Every single game where it's technically impossible with current infrastructure restraints to get my inputs from the controller, to the box, to the server, processed and back again with the sort of low latency we're currently afforded? Nah. 

 

Sorry, I just don't get the negativity.

 

Sure it won't be as good right now, but we can still play games using consoles and PC's.  That's not about to change.

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26 minutes ago, RubberJohnny said:

But couldn't you just decouple the inputs to client side as a thin client that just gets removed once the stream is finished? I mean, if you're transmitting 1080p and 60fps, it's only going to be as much data as the first few seconds of the stream, if that.

 

You can't really do that because, as you've said, a streamed game is essentially a video feed with a plugin to send the control inputs to the server.

 

There are things you can do to lower the latency (send the video in tiny chunks so it's more responsive, code super-low latency input cycles, house the games closer to the player) but there's realistically always going to be more latency than a console under the telly for that reason.

 

Whether it is noticeable (and if it's noticeable, whether it matters) is a different question. All those tests you see on Digital Foundry suggest there's quite a lot of latency in a typical 1080/30fps game already. If you can run that at 60fps on a server, maybe you can effectively reduce some of that and offset the internet. I imagine there's a floor, though.

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Just now, Cool Ben said:

 

Sorry, I just don't get the negativity.

 

Sure it won't be as good right now, but we can still play games using consoles and PC's.  That's not about to change.  It's just more choice, got to be good for some people, no?

 

Not that hard to get.

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1 minute ago, JPickford said:

 

I'm not sure I understand.   With a local client if you push forward on the stick you character can respond instantly (within practical limitations).  With streaming your input has to hit the server before anything can begin to happen.  Whatever is rendered has to make the return journey.  That's added lag that can't be eliminated.

 

That's not what Microsoft seem to be claiming with their next gen Xbox stuff. They're apparently aiming to reduce input lag in precisely this way; by offloading some processing to the local client, although it's not quite clear if that will only work with their low end, streaming box or any streaming device.

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3 minutes ago, JPickford said:

 

Not that hard to get.

 

Lets just give up then, if we can never improve something or create something new.  

 

What I didn't get, was the accessibility to all thing.  So what.

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4 minutes ago, Cool Ben said:

 

Lets just give up then, if we can never improve something or create something new.  

 

What I didn't get, was the accessibility to all thing.  So what.

 

Streaming has physical limitations that can't be fixed.  I think we should give up on it. It's not suitable for videogames.

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1 hour ago, stefcha said:

I'd be fine with it being a choice and much less so with it being the only option even for my own use.

 

I expect that would be the case for years. It would take someone designing a game that can only run in the cloud for the option to be forced on people I guess. It would have some benefits on the part of developers - no need to push updates, impossible to cheat, only need to optimise the game for a single platform, etc etc. There would be benefits for users too - it would be the end of the upgrade cycle, as they would always have access to the latest games at the highest graphical quality settings (or at least whatever the streaming service deems appropriate). Plus I think some people are in the opposite situation as those out in the sticks with 4Mb/s ADSL - there are a lot of people in city centres with fast internet connections, but in tiny flats and without the space or disposable income to build a high end gaming PC. This would put that kind of experience in reach of those people. Plus it would be a more efficient use of hardware - instead of just sitting idle 95% of the time like most consoles or gaming PCs do.

 

The main negatives I guess, as with cloud and subscription services in general, is diminished ownership. You don't physically have the software or the hardware, so you stop paying your fee, you lose access to them, but probably also your saves etc. How would software preservation would with a streaming-only title? It probably wouldn't, at all... troubling imo. You get projects to reverse-engineer the backends for popular online games when publishers eventually turn them off - but this is an entirely different prospect.

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12 minutes ago, JPickford said:

 

What does that mean?

 

The lag case identified against destiny doesn't happen, because the clients are all in sync with predictable network traffic on high bandwidth/low latency networks.

Admittedly, all the other problems you identify still apply.

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14 minutes ago, footle said:

 

The lag case identified against destiny doesn't happen, because the clients are all in sync with predictable network traffic on high bandwidth/low latency networks.

Admittedly, all the other problems you identify still apply.

 

Wouldn't that require everyone to be connected to the same server farm?   Rather than to the one nearest their physical location.

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3 hours ago, Cool Ben said:

 

I don't understand your argument.  I want a new 911 but I can't afford one, should Porsche stop making them then?

 

Why does it need to be accessible to everyone?

 

I never said (or argued) that streaming needs to be accessible to everyone.

 

The conversation touched upon accessibility (see these quoted posts). footle suggested streaming has the potential to extend the reach of gaming more than another console, but on the basis of 25mb broadband being the norm. I was pointing out that there are plenty of locations in the UK you cannot get "superfast" broadband good enough for 1080p*60 gaming, let alone in many other countries with less substantial infrastructure. Therefore, the ability of streaming to significantly extend the reach of gaming (as opposed to merely being another way for folk with high bandwidth internet to play games) may not be realised for a long time given the glacial pace of high speed internet roll-out. Not sure what that has to do with Porsches.

 

9 hours ago, Nequests said:

The industry should be focused on extending the reach of games to new markets around the world, but is more intent on narrowing their audience to some fibre-connected elite that they can bleed dry with loot boxes and the like. 

 

I'm sure enthusiasts everywhere will embrace it as it's sold to them under the guise of convenience, but I'm not among them.

 

6 hours ago, footle said:

 

I think streaming is far more likely to extend reach than another games console.

everyone has a web browser, everyone will end up with 25mbps broadband by default eventually, not everyone will fork out £300 or the local equivalent for a do one thing box to go beneath a tv they won’t have.

 

5 hours ago, Phil said:

On a long enough timeline sure, but how long realistically? My Dad lives in a village a few miles from me and can get about 8mb tops. I can get 300mb and have had access to NTL/Virgin's top speeds for a decade.

 

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3 hours ago, Mogster said:

 

That's not what Microsoft seem to be claiming with their next gen Xbox stuff. They're apparently aiming to reduce input lag in precisely this way; by offloading some processing to the local client, although it's not quite clear if that will only work with their low end, streaming box or any streaming device.

 

If MS use some of the tech they've demoed for streaming it's quite different to other solutions. 

 

The game run locally, in full, but on low graphics settings.  A synchronous copy of the game runs on the server at max settings and low settings.  Only the difference between max and low detail is sent to your local device and blended over the top.  It doesn't matter so much if a blended frame is missed.  Controller latency is always with the local device.

 

It'll be interesting to see if that really works, if they do go that route.

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Probably a stupid question, but what kind of hardware do firms use to run these kinds of cloud gaming services? Do they use specialised servers, or can it be run on pre-existing networks like AWS or Azure? I was wondering how these services work from an economic perspective. The current setup has the consumer buying the hardware at cost price, or just below (at first, initially) with platform holders making profit on games and licensing. How does that work when you're building a server farm that the customer won't directly pay for? Do they just use existing hardware that can be used for other purposes when people aren't using them to play games? Or do they take the PSN approach of just charging slightly too much to actually use the service?

 

 

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27 minutes ago, monkeydog said:

 

If MS use some of the tech they've demoed for streaming it's quite different to other solutions. 

 

The game run locally, in full, but on low graphics settings.  A synchronous copy of the game runs on the server at max settings and low settings.  Only the difference between max and low detail is sent to your local device and blended over the top.  It doesn't matter so much if a blended frame is missed.  Controller latency is always with the local device.

 

It'll be interesting to see if that really works, if they do go that route.

 

That seems like a crazily complicated and convoluted setup, just to make the graphics on your game look a little bit prettier.  This is in the context of lots of people not really able to tell the difference between last gen and current gen (certainly true for fairly casual gamers - the sort of people for whom not-having-to-own-the-console is attractive).

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5 hours ago, footle said:

 

speed of light through the medium used to transfer the signal; some processing/repeater activity at each end.

 

So in fibre optic speed of light is about 120,000 miles per second, or 120 miles in a millisecond (presume it's not massively dissimilar for signal in copper). So surely well under 10ms to get a signal to and from anywhere the server is likely to be.

 

Unless my maths is cack, I presume distance is a tiny part of the problem then, and it's all in the conversion and repeater stuff?

 

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58 minutes ago, K said:

Probably a stupid question, but what kind of hardware do firms use to run these kinds of cloud gaming services? Do they use specialised servers, or can it be run on pre-existing networks like AWS or Azure? I was wondering how these services work from an economic perspective. The current setup has the consumer buying the hardware at cost price, or just below (at first, initially) with platform holders making profit on games and licensing. How does that work when you're building a server farm that the customer won't directly pay for? Do they just use existing hardware that can be used for other purposes when people aren't using them to play games? Or do they take the PSN approach of just charging slightly too much to actually use the service?

 

There are some people already using AWS to create their own gaming machines that they don't have to pay for when they're not using them. From what I understand it's fairly involved in terms of the setup, but actually quite cost effective, particularly once you factor in things like electricity and depreciation. On all the major PaaS providers, you can pay for GPU instances, but these are really targeted more at people who want to run simulations, deep learning, stuff like that. So for a game streaming platform, downtime isn't really a problem, as long as the parent company also has users like these. The cost is demand-based, so there are some people who might only want to use the hardware when the price goes below a certain threshold. This is with the caveat that the tasks they've requested can be cut short if a higher-priority user comes along.

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4 hours ago, JPickford said:

 

Streaming has physical limitations that can't be fixed.  I think we should give up on it. It's not suitable for videogames.

 

Tell that to the members of this very forum eulogising a recent entrant into the field of game streaming:

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ste Pickford said:

 

That seems like a crazily complicated and convoluted setup, just to make the graphics on your game look a little bit prettier.  This is in the context of lots of people not really able to tell the difference between last gen and current gen (certainly true for fairly casual gamers - the sort of people for whom not-having-to-own-the-console is attractive).

 

That particular Microsoft solution was developed to make mobile phone games prettier, not sure if it applies to their new upcoming Project Scarlett and the XCloud streaming service.

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1 hour ago, K said:

Probably a stupid question, but what kind of hardware do firms use to run these kinds of cloud gaming services? Do they use specialised servers, or can it be run on pre-existing networks like AWS or Azure? I was wondering how these services work from an economic perspective. The current setup has the consumer buying the hardware at cost price, or just below (at first, initially) with platform holders making profit on games and licensing. How does that work when you're building a server farm that the customer won't directly pay for? Do they just use existing hardware that can be used for other purposes when people aren't using them to play games? Or do they take the PSN approach of just charging slightly too much to actually use the service?

 

 

 

In Sony's case, I believe they actually use dedicated hardware, as in actual PlayStations. I suppose you can view it as a form of the sharing economy, utilisation of a piece of hardware isn't 100% of the time for most consoles that get bought, probably barely even 20% of the day, if that for most people. Microsoft will probably have to use a similar approach, given how consoles are a PITA to emulate properly.

 

Quote

 

Sony has developed brand new PS3 hardware to power its PlayStation Now streaming service, revealed earlier this month at CES in Las Vegas. Sources who have been briefed on the project suggest that the new PlayStation 3 consists of eight custom console units built into a single rack server. It's the new PlayStation hardware that everyone will have access to, but few will actually see.

 

Initially, Digital Foundry has learned that Sony experimented by placing standard retail units into datacentres, but plans to use this for the actual PlayStation Now service were shelved for a number of reasons. For starters there's the sheer space requirement, along with power efficiency issues, as even the most recent PS3 hardware can still draw up to 80W from the mains. Sony's engineers were able to mitigate both issues by shrinking the equivalent of eight PS3s onto a single motherboard, housed in a slimline server cabinet.

 

The second reason for the all-new PlayStation 3 server design is that it allows Sony to make hardware changes to the PS3 configuration that claw back a few vital milliseconds here and there to lower end-to-end latency.

 

 

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2014-sony-creates-custom-ps3-for-playstation-now

 

 

For the PC-gaming based systems, they might be more flexible, but still have to have powerful GFX cards attached to every system.

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1 minute ago, mushashi said:

 

In Sony's case, I believe they actually use dedicated hardware, as in actual PlayStations. I suppose you can view it as a form of the sharing economy, utilisation of a piece of hardware isn't 100% of the time for most consoles that get bought, probably barely even 20% of the day, if that for most people. Microsoft will probably have to use a similar approach, given how consoles are a PITA to emulate properly.

 

 

I guess you'd get some savings from sharing hardware, but not that much given that most people are at work during the day and asleep at night. The usage patterns of your customers are going to be the same regardless of whether the console is local or in a data centre somewhere. The majority of people are going to want to play from 8pm until midnight.

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17 hours ago, hub2 said:

It's inevitable Amazon will get into this space too.

 

MS have Azure, Google has Google Cloud, Amazon have AWS. Also: https://www.amazongames.com/

 

And then one of them will white-label it so Sony/AB/UBI/EA can create their own services. Not sure Nintendo would do it for a while.

 

Nintendo are already doing it. With Assassins Creed.

 

It's Japan only, mind you, and they're called Cloud Version (there's already a Resident Evil one out in Japan).

 

But everyone thought it was such a shit idea (because you pay to play) in the Switch thread that it didn't spill out into it's own dedicated thread. Guess when Google announce it, and it's free, then it deserves it's own thread...

 

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