Google Stadia sounds like a bad idea


I used to joke that when Asimov hypothesized about the future he assumed the number of people working on engineering solutions to problems (hunger, disease, space travel) would increase exponentially as the computer age progressed. Instead we got this fascinating rainbow of ways to waste time.

I still talk about this but it’s not really funny anymore.

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For Google, I don’t think the cost is prohibitive, by any means. I mean, you can use a Tesla-equivalent GPU in Colaboratory for free so they’re already pretty experienced at throwing out high-end hardware for others to use.



Did a search on these comments for “net neutrality” and got 0 hits. Kinda surprising, because this is a prime example of why net neutrality is an absolute necessity.



That’s why I said this is for a different audience - not ‘gamers’. It’s for casuals. Casuals have no problem with things ‘gamers’ completely get wound up over like F2P. And I’ve played several racing games on PS4 Now, like Grid, Sega & Sonic All Star Racing, Project Cars - they’re quite playable, though you’re not going to dominate the leaderboards.



You’re right, it isn’t funny in a comical sense. However, what is funny is how serious and earnest a large number of people are about everything related.

That’s what gave us so-called geek culture. 10+ seasons of Big Bang Theory among them, on a recursive meta-level.

Gaming, however, is a special case among this ways to spend your time, especially in matters of infrastructure.



I don’t think VR MMOs need fast reliable internet any more then existing MMOs do. In other words you can fake it good enough for a lot of interesting gameplay, but it does make some types of multiplayer interactions harder. If you play something like WoW now you can occasionally see other players move across a path and then jerk to a substantially different position because they changed direction and some combination of you or the server missed the original message and only caught up later. Also sometimes you get disconnected from the server and can actually move a significant distance, and observe a lot of terrain, and even monsters/objects before your client decides it is never getting back in touch and gives up. You can get a good feel for how much can be papered over. It has a lot of interesting complex game play (esp. in the raids), but at the same time you can sometimes see the limits of what can be done (esp. in something like some of the older naxramis raids where they pushed a little closer to the edge of what could be done - one of the bosses forced you to move in a specific way or die, and you had to learn not to pay attention to what everyone else was doing, and just watch the cues from the boss because many other people would visibly be doing it wrong even though they were actually doing it right and would come out OK, if you did it they way they appeared to on your screen you would die).

Now if you have a low power device trying to do AR (mixed reality) and it doesn’t do most of the logic on the device, yeah, it would need reliable low latency internet. It might not need to be fast though. If the shapes are pre-cached, or simple to describe.



If there had literally been a dozen failed Netflixes (and no successful ones), video streaming would, rightfully, be viewed with skepticism. Static video streaming is a whole different ball of wax than game streaming. The minimum acceptable level of broadband defined by video streaming was laughably slow, and a good portion of country lacks the min specs for game streaming and will continue to do so for a good few years.
I’m not discounting that this might be big one day, nor that it doesn’t have its uses now - but as a pretty niche service. Given the current market size (and the likely time before it’s any bigger), this is exactly the kind of time and market scale that gets Google ventures shut down.

It failed (the writing was on the wall, anyways) and got bought up by Sony to cannibalize for its IP. (As they also did with OnLive.) And it’s a working service but more as a party trick than as a viable business. It wouldn’t exist if it weren’t run by a company that could afford to not make any (or even lose) money on it.
So yeah, as you say, it’s way too small a market (and significant growth too far in the future) for Google to be interested in it. (So I’m not sure why they are.) I’m expecting they’ll figure that out before too long, though.

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Yes and lots of pundits were dumb. They argued about if Netflix could make money when so few people could stream video at high quality, not if it could ever be done at high quality. They ignored the fact that technology progresses and that Netflix was betting on being there before a real competitor could close them out of the space. Not looking past the immediate limitations is a common failing of pundits.

The argument here is that physics may never allow many of the most popular genres of console games to ever work on streaming services, even with extremely low ping times twitch games don’t work. Even with some of the in home steaming services the network latency is too much for quick inputs.

Steaming games would probably work great for turn based 4X games like Civilization where the current DLC+expansions model feels like a a rental service already, but those aren’t supper popular for what was claimed to be the target demographic for this service.

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im curious how much machine learning and prediction google could throw at this. run multiple future scenarios so the next few frames for several situations are already available by the time the player chooses.

also curious whether there are client side components for each game - similar say to video drivers which often contain optimizations for specific popular games. for vr, perhaps you could send a full “sphere” of video and then the player can rotate their head without talking to the server.

maybe it’s all just about a super fast connection, but existing multiplayer games already have tons of prediction code involved, and most modern games already have deep enough rendering pipes that input is several frames behind display. it wouldn’t surprise me if google is trying to extrapolate from that.

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Is this where that “arrow to the knee” thing comes from?

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That’s from Skyrim, a much easier game.



Ok, serious question: if Sega announced this, would we be as skeptical? Because “Google” does have some serious baggage when it comes to any service they offer.

…is probably an outlier. And, I have to ask, how do you know if it’s really “fair”?



It means many multiplayer games are plagued with users who use modifications that perform auto-aiming, x-ray vision, infinite resource gatherings, and many other cheats that make people want to quit playing. A lot of game company resources are tied up in the constant mod war and in policing games to ban cheaters. If there is no software on the client side and only something that serves up images and takes in input, then those cheats aren’t possible.

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That’s the thing, the Souls games are know for being notoriously hard, but also very fair, in their own way. They are basically a violent Groundhog Day the video game. You will die, but on each death you should learn what you did wrong and not do that the next time.
Every time you walk down this one ally you will be ambushed by that guy dropping down on you, so just roll away right after that land mark and then turn around and stab him, it works every time. Until you’ve been off doing other things and completely forget about it as your walking by…

It could be called unfair, in that bosses often can kill you in only 2-3 hits where you will likely take a dozen or more hits to kill them. It’s fair in the sense that most bosses have tells and patterns you can learn to avoid there attacks and you can learn to fight most of the flawlessly. (I never have.) It’s also fair in that it doesn’t read your inputs to let the enemies react before your character can act on those inputs. Some games have done that to increase difficulty.



So Cheaters will have to fall back on whatever “pay-to-win” scheme the distributors are hawking. That’s win-win for the company. :wink:

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There are games where I see this working for and for mac owners they would have more access to games. Other that than I’ll take local games thank you very much and I have gigabit Internet.

Funny the whole “It takes too long to download” argument goes away when you have fast enough internet that would reduce the latency of the streaming services. Go figure.



I had no idea that was a thing. Bizarre. How do they maintain the pretension that they are better or skilled players? Or is that just not important?

Unless any opponent can one shot your character at any time, the scales are likely tilted in the favor of the player; you probably just don’t notice it—and that is by design.

I’ve never played Dark Souls, but if it comes to the Switch, I may take a chance on it at some point when it goes on sale, but I’ve come to understand that even very difficult games are not necessarily exactly fair or biased against the player in any meaningful sense. It’s weird and counterintuitive (if you’re a player), but designers have many means at their disposal to enhance that experience playing — which is why anyone plays these games.

I watched a thing from GDC a while back about this, and the examples chosen were all from big titles, but the takeaway is that this is like a magic trick for a game designer to put the finger on the scales for the benefit of the player, and then do their best to conceal that, since a lot of these games are mostly about the experience of playing, and not about the skill per se.

Perhaps Dark Souls is an exception to this. But I’d bet real money that it’s not, and you just can’t see where the assists have been hidden from you.




It might be just me, but this also seems really boring compared to the anticipation for a next-gen console or new platform.



It’s been out for a while

I’m not going to try and argue that Dark Souls never “cheats” for the player, there are definitely very obvious “here let’s make this fight easier for you” moments, but it’s also not at all a game designed to appeal to the mass market. On one hand you have a game like Battle Field One that has a level that puts your character in metal plate armor and gives them a mini-gun with near unlimited ammo as some sort of power fantasy, and on the other had you have Dark Souls, where even late game, with good equipment and levels, running into an early game enemy without being ready can lead to death.