Google Stadia won't just need low latency, it needs a big pipe

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" Google Stadia won’t just need low latency, it needs a big pipe"

Well, that’s me out then. I find it difficult enough to play games while stood on terra firma.


Symmetrical 300Mbps is $50/month in Minneapolis, MN. The suburbs definitely have 20Mbps. The data cap thing is interesting, though.


Holy crap. I just had resurfacing anxiety from my childhood watching that Pitfall video. I forgot how nervous that game made me.


Google Inc: Solving irrelevant problems with untenable solutions since 1844!

(Edit: I say this wearing a t-shirt I got while working there with a picture of a prototype stereo 360 camera rig on it…)


which would use up an entire 1TB monthly data allotment in 65 hours of game time.

65/30 = 2.17 hours per day of gaming. Sounds reasonable, no?

No? Then maybe a good way to manage your gaming addiction…if you exceed your cap after one week by playing 9.28 hours per day, you will have an enforced 3-week withdrawal phase before your next fix.


The bandwidth is hardly the worst problem for a lot of games, it’s the latency. The video will have to be encoded, shuttled to your PC and then decoded before you can react to a frame of information. In a lot of online FPS type games, adding 50ms of delay makes a game damn near unplayable.


Google Stadia won’t just need low latency, it needs a big pipe

Pipes?? But I thought the internet was a series of tubes! How can you expect me to keep up with technology if you keep changing the infrastructure??



Regardless of the hype, even Google, if pressed, would probably say Stadia is not for hardcore FPSers. These are the people who think the 8ms latency of a wireless mouse is too much. There’s no way they’d sign up for a streamed game platform.


without 4K streaming video to tide you over. Go outside!

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Anybody remember the days back when World of Warcraft first started? A friend of mine managed to max out the DSL data cap for his whole (shared student rental) house in only two days playing back then, and WoW is still (kind of) around now. And we know it was him, because nobody else was home that weekend, and Wireless wasn’t a thing yet.


It was him but he didn’t hit the cap because of WoW.

College dude + Alone for a weekend = ALL the Pr0N


The solution is clearly to move to the Kansas City area where Google Fiber is still doing new installs (in some areas). The pay for the monthly subscription, and the cost of all the individual games, and then really enjoy it for a year or two before they shut down the service with no warning.

Sounds perfectly fine to me, i’m sure they will refund the cost of the games or offer Steam keys for them. /s


Yeah, the lag issue is not one that’s going to go away given the, y’know, speed limit of light. They can probably fudge it a bit with software trickery but even in an ideal setting the latency will still get you killed in a fast fps…

The thing that gets me about this is google’s arrogance, they present it as if it’s something new yet the failure of onlive wasn’t that long ago. Setting aside that it’s another digital service to subscribe to i’m sure it’ll have its place but a console/pc killer it ain’t and perhaps you shouldn’t invest too much money in it lest you lose all your games when they eventually shut it down.


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Full disclosure: My last company did this: Frame. BrightCanopy. Generally things work pretty well for games that aren’t too latency dependent, but you do run into issues with fast twitch/hard core gamer/competitive stuff.

I suspect Stadia based game developers will target more latency resilient games (or fail miserably).

One thing to keep in mind for those numbers. They seem to be worst case where everything on the screen is in motion. If you have small patches changing at any given time, the requirements will be much lower, assuming you use an efficient codec and a barrel full of tweaks.


The flipside is, they are printing money and even a failure keeps them in the news and churns up some interest for awhile.

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What if you live with other people? An internet connection that used to be fine for a large household without thinking about it now needs to be closely monitored.

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No matter what Google says, the latency will make many games feel really bad even if you have unlimited bandwidth and no cap. However, here in Canada where we almost always have a cap it really feels like a non-starter.

I mean, fighting games already feel bad a lot of the time online compares to in person, and there is no server hop involved, just P2P lag.

Somewhat ironically, the games it will work well for don’t tend to be graphically intense a standard mid-range gaming rig should do just fine.

This feels like a Google project where we should bet on how many years it lasts before they abandon it.