Video Game Streaming (to Play, not watch) Catch-All

Badferret wrote:
jrralls wrote:

IF, conditional statement, it works as advertised, is this the beginning of the end of consoles?

I have no idea if Google/Stadia has legs, but I'm now 100% convinced that streaming is the future (maybe a streaming catch-all is warranted?) and maybe a very near future.

And thus this thread is born! Other threads may be for specific video game streaming services but this one is for streaming video games in general.

What say you GWJers in 2019? Is the next console cycle the last console cycle because streaming video games will make it all moot? Or is it a fad?

I'm excited by the possibilities.

Lots of variables will factor into the equation. Subscription prices, exclusivity of services and permanency of libraries, etc.

But color me optimistic out of the gate.

The idea of playing "real-ass real games" on any random browser you find yourself in front of regardless of hardware specs sounds incredibly intriguing.

Bring it.

CNN has a write up on it today. I'm interested to say the least.

I don't think it's a fad. I also don't think it will be an overnight change.

Google's new venture seems like it could, at least, add some new standards to how to stream games.
Were they a single outlier, I'd be less inclined to think this delivery method is here to stay, but you also see Microsoft moving in this direction. They've been divorcing the XBox brand from a strict console to more of a service and expanding where you can play XBox games. Ventures like that and efforts Playstation has made to make PS4 playable through other devices, as well as the popularity of the Switch ("I'd love to have that on the Switch," people say about everything that's not on the Switch) speak to a desire people have for flexibility in where they play games.

That said, I think the major players will, for a while anyway, still produce a dedicated console to which you at least download games (and Nintendo will continue to do so for several decades after everyone else stops). These will exist alongside streaming options. With this generation we saw PS4 Pro and XBox One X existing alongside their less powerful editions. The option to stream games rather than pick up a dedicated device may have a similar co-existence in the future. People who are dedicated to gaming as a hobby will probably still want to console experience, maybe using streaming options as a supplement. But, there's probably a market out there for people who wouldn't mind picking up a few games and streaming them without having to make the investment in a $300+ console first.

I think that's right that for this next gen, consoles and streaming will live side by side. My sense is that, while Google included 4k/8k on their roadmap, that probably requires widespread 5G coverage? So, 1080p for this gen, while the consoles can push 4K HDR right now.

But, since everything is on the back-end, when the streamers are ready they can leapfrog the next consoles with a patch.

Still, it seems like Google is confident that they have solved even for low latency in multiplayer and I assume that Microsoft has as well.

I'm most curious about Sony, both because I would subscribe or pay a la carte for their library in a second but I'm also curious if they have the networking infrastructure to compete with the Googles and Microsofts. Or do the partner with someone. I'm kinda of inclined to think that this is why they are skipping this year's E3. The rumors are they are just as commuted to streaming as Microsoft and Google but maybe they are behind, or more likely they are just confident in their position.

And let's not forget Amazon, which has sunk a ton of money into gaming and still hasn't really shown anything yet. Fire Streaming powered by AWS? Or do the lease out infrastructure to Sony?

And what of Steam and Epic? Again are they going to partner with cloud providers or build their own capacity?

We are truly entering Clarke's first law territory here.

The Digital Foundry analysis video says they recorded about 166 milliseconds of input lag playing AC:Odyssey on Stadia. Input lag playing the same game on an X1X was also 166 milliseconds (High end PC was about 70). I was surprised that the input lag was so high on the X1X. I recall though, that I had problems with the perceived lag when I first started playing the game last fall.

But, it looks as though they were testing it in Google controlled conditions on Google's network. Aside from bandwidth issues and caps, I think real world results might vary a bit more.

Also, I think it's interesting that the only game they've really let people look at is AC:Odyssey. It's a game that I think already has unusually high input lag compared to many other games.

I wonder if the predictive code that mitigates lag in on-line games can play a role in ameliorating input lag, or if some games are already doing this.

What would be an acceptable level of lag for streaming games?

Depends entirely on the game.

Twitch shooter? 100ms, and even then, high level players will demand better.

Turn based strat? 300ms or more.

If I notice it = Bad
If I don't = Good

That's the extent of my lag knowledge.

I don't know how you can't be excited for this technology though. There are so many people that have interest in PC gaming but were never willing to spend thousands of dollars to have a great gaming PC. Just a personal anecdote I'm always forced to buy the console versions of co-op games with friends even though I'd much to prefer to use my nice PC. If stuff like this gives options for my friends to play this version with me instead that's great.

Badferret wrote:

And what of Steam and Epic? Again are they going to partner with cloud providers or build their own capacity?

Steam just pushed out Steam Link Anywhere last week, which lets you stream any game you own from your own PC.

The Steam Link Anywhere program, launched in beta today, lets users stream games from "any computer running Steam" to:

Any other computer running Steam (even on a different network)
Any mobile device running the Steam Link app (sorry, iOS users are still out of luck)
Any Steam Link hardware box (if you can still find one)

I have it set up (which was quite easy to do), but haven't actually tested any games.

Question: Does streaming mean the end of modding and non-programmed in cheats? Because I’m not sure how you would do either if it’s all streamed.

I think there is definitely going to be some generational resistance here where old school Gamers will want to own their games while Gamers who have grown up with Netflix will be much more OK without really owning their games. On the other hand, I don’t actually “own” my steam games and that’s where I’ve bought 98% of my games over the last ten years so as long as they have some type of ownership fig-leaf like Steam has, it might not make any real difference.

I live in one of the UK cities with the, on average, worst internet connection speeds. I get that streaming will, at some point, become the norm, but I can’t but help see an idealistic view in the Google Stadia announcement with this thing.

There seems to be a real push within the past half decade of “play your game on any device”, but am I the only person that doesn’t really care about this too much? I don’t want to pull out a controller on the bus and squint at dark souls on my mobile phone screen! For me, I have my setting of where I play games. Maybe, when I think about it, it is nice to just be able to ping a game from my pc to the big tv, but i barely use my steam link at all for gaming downstairs from my PC.

If we all had the internet infrastructure of South Korea already it’d be great, but most places just don’t right now.

Saying that, pricing and games available are what matters most at the end of the day. The most popular games these days, or biggest money makers, are multiplayer. If streaming can crack that problem, then it can truly take off.

I just tried the PS Now client on PC, and it worked surprisingly well. Sony software on PC has traditionally been kind of garbage so I wasn't expecting much, but it really did just work. I streamed some Ni No Kuni and it was weird having a PS3 game on my PC, but otherwise worked perfectly. You can run it full screen, but it looked a little grainy, so I left it running in the default window size. I can definitely see myself using this regularly if the TV is taken and I want to play something from the PS Now library.