Google Stadia sounds like a bad idea


Why would you buy a console from or develop a game for a company with a history of getting bored and shutting down popular projects?



Is that where all the money is? Seems to me I keep reading about FPS games being held aloft by a small number of “whales” shelling out for premium content. Turn-based strategy would handle well enough, I expect.

But I expect all these conversations have been had before.



The 30th company to try streaming games over the internet to home users while rendering them in the cloud is not in any way revolutionary. OnLive announced a very similar service a decade ago. Maybe technology has advance to the point were it is really viable now, but back then it ranged from marginally playable to almost not worth trying.



They’re even better at receiving bits of data at their data center from your computer - they’re getting this right now!



I think this is a different audience. Casual to mid-core who want to pay 50 cents/day (or whatever) to play a game with no hardware investment and who won’t really notice the input lag.

AC: Odyssey, for instance, is not really a twitch game. You might have trouble with some of the epic bounty hunters or high level arena, but really all the inputs have plenty of slop. Most people won’t even notice the difference if they have decent 25mbps+ internet (I know that’s a big ‘if’ in the US). The only games it’s truly unsuited for are really twitchy platformers like Celeste or Super Meat Boy, or really twitchy PvP shooters like Call of Duty online.

I will keep my gaming rig, but I can see how the cost could make it attractive to a lot of people, like F2P mobile crapfests which we all agree are terrible but normal people love them anyhow and spend tens of billions of dollars on them annually. Normal people also won’t know that Google will get bored after two years and shut it down.



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Are there any Google+ discussion groups covering it?



Let me check my Google Reader feed for some news articles on it…



To be fair, they shut down a bunch of products that were popular but didn’t make any money. Don’t look for search and gmail to go away. If this is profitable, it’ll stick around.

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Steam is like the Netflix option to download a movie to your computer and play it. This is like streaming a movie through Netflix. Except a game isn’t a movie - as mentioned, you don’t get to buffer video because you’re necessarily sending keypress information and then receiving video frames in response within a small fraction of a second.

The better comparison is to OnLive (RIP), Gaikai (RIP), and a number of other failed game-streaming services.
Neither the adoption of broadband internet nor the economics really allow this kind of business to work right now. (Though someone like Google, which is already doing cloud computing of other kinds is probably best situated to make it work, for that portion of the country with the requisite internet speeds, anyways.)

Yeah, this feels like another one of Google’s half-assed forays into gaming technology that get shut down within a year or so.

OnLive made the exact same claims when they started up in… 2003. The same was true then.

Well, except that this idea isn’t new and has failed a dozen times already because of fundamental problems with the idea and existing infrastructure (rather than specific implementations). Most of the country doesn’t have the speed necessary to make this work, the economics on this are dodgy, on top of which I’m not really seeing any information from Google that shows a serious focus or understanding of what’s needed. The announcement video was incoherent and they were talking about things like style transfer, which is neat but irrelevant (and of questionable utility).



Google loses interest in things that aren’t directly contributing to its ad business, data processing, and data collection (and the last two only because they target more ads). Last quarter advertising (Adwords) was 87% of profits. Everything else is noise.

That leaves GMail, Search, Docs, DeepMind, Android, Maps, Cloud, YouTube… which they’re okay with even if they’re losing money because they’re collecting exploitable data (like Maps) even if making no real money (Docs).

So the challenge for Stadia is how they can keep Google from getting bored with them - either by delivering ads or delivering enough exploitable new data, maybe through livestreams, poaching some of YouTube’s traffic.



I’m not entirely sure what market they’re trying to fill here. The gaming market is already incredibly crowded and over-optimized, that anyone looking for any particular gaming experience can get what they want fairly easily (at least those willing / able to pay subscriptions and high speed internet). Is this supposed to be supported by the notion that people want more portable / subscription-based games? The former is packed to the brim with the likes of Nintendo Switch, Steam, iOS, etc. Who wants the latter when there are numerous budget games available on Steam? Perhaps they’re trying to get the hard-core gamer that doesn’t want to spend ~1k+ on a serious rig? But is there a real advantage over buying a console other than you can use this on a laptop? And we’re not even talking yet about game libraries.



I don’t hate the idea of streaming games but it does make me extremely apprehensive. Publishers would have much more control over your game, not that you truly ever own anything these days but it would be even less so now since the game would 100% live on their service. They would also have more of an excuse to get you to jump in on game service subscriptions which is not something i’d be terribly interested in.



They could create a multiplayer game with no cheating. That might be worth something.



I remember this same kind of talk a decade ago when OnLive tried it. Several companies have tried it and it never works. If nothing else, basic physics gets in the way. The MAJOR disadvantage here is that it’s Google, and now that it’s announced, it’s not the new shiny anymore so the talented people at Google can’t afford to care about it anymore.

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This isn’t just bad because it’s technically inadequate. It would be disastrous even if the latency was better than home rigs, because it represents the death of diy gaming.

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

The real casualty of their business model isn’t milliseconds, it’s culture.



i was a part of the beta testing for stadia, and i was surprised at how well it worked, even on my crappy comcast connection. sometimes on wireless it would pixelate during graphically intensive fights or if someone else was using the internet, but as soon as i plugged into the router it was smooth as butter. there wasn’t really a noticable lag. even though i just built a new gaming pc, i might still go the stadia route for some things in order to be able to game from any computer/phone/smart fridge that happened to be around. it really depends on the pricing.



AR doesn’t need to involve much in the way of Internet. For example a mapping app overlaying an AR representation of a route needs no more internet access/performance than a normal mapping app (i.e. could be entirely offline, or without client side storage does OK on today’s cell networks). I have a bunch of VR playstation games that use basically (or actually) zero internet access…

…and I really really really don’t want a self driving car to be talking to the internet, not in a mission critical way, and in fact, probably not in a not-so-mission critical way. Like I want it air-gapped. I expect existing ones aren’t air-gapped, but “only” do things like software upgrade and debug dumps over the air.

Now that said, while I think your examples weren’t great, lots of things need more reliable high bandwidth then most of the USA has (streaming HDTV is marginal in a lot of places, 4K isn’t really doable in many more). Lots of things would be better with lower latency.

So yeah, we could use more deployment of existing high speed internet technologies, and/or better ones (as always that last mile is expensive!)



They are trying to build a Twitch competitor with built in games that is watched through YouTube. There is a highly lucrative market through advertising on streams and skimming a percentage off payments to content creators.

And they have an army of “influencers” they can promise an ad revenue bump to if they shill Stadia hard.

But hey if those revenues fund laying Google fiber infrastructure in my area I’ll sign up for Stadia today.

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Funny thing is, if Google threw their hat into the ring with and Ouya-like device, I would say they have a shot at making a go of it.