Stadia - Google's vision for the future of gaming


Are you arguing that companies are not allowed to hype new products unless it can serve the needs of 95% of the population?

Yes rural people won’t be able to use this. No they don’t have a choice in a matter. No one is calling this as the death of offline gaming though so who cares? The laws of physics means it’s still impossible for game streaming to work for a lot of type of games, and the latency will never work on cell networks outside of 5G (and even less people will ever have good 5G than have fiber today).

It is always going to be inferior to playing games on real hardware, all it does is open up the possibility of high end-ish gaming for those who cannot afford hardware that costs more than a Steam Link or Chromecast. Why is that bad?


I did enjoy the one-week trial of PSNow that I did back in October, because it let me try out Bloodborne without paying $400 for a PS4, but I would not pay $20 a month for that service. Possibly $10.


I pay out the ass for the best internet you can buy in Idaho. It’s still not good enough for game streaming.

Not that I think the technology is a bad idea or not worth investing in. I just know that unless Google has stumbled upon some magical, Pied Piper-esque compression, there won’t be a market for it here.


People seem to be making up all sorts of strawmen today. I’m not saying companies can or cannot do anything. I’m saying that it is naive, short-sighted, and generally arrogant to ignore the structural inequities that under-grid our wonderful online Utopias. I am all in favor of all sorts of technical innovations, new distro methods, streaming, whatever, as we explore different ways to play games. What I don’t like, personally, is the way that the entire tech industry effectively ignores the fact that our infrastructure in this country is pretty much gated by class at the same time online access is becoming more and more crucial for everyone. I’m fine if you don’t care, that’s for you to decide. And I’m not angry or upset or anything at all. I’m just pointing out that all too often companies like Google and Microsoft and Apple, et al, act as if most of the world is like the neighborhoods their CEOs live in.


But your talking from a strictly american viewpoint. most of the contientn of europe for example is ripe for this market. Even in the statesA huge amount of the gaming populace resides in the large coastal cities. They’re shipping these prodcucts because there is an obvious market for them.


But again you are doing the same strawman thing you are accusing me of doing. I don’t see how by making a service that allows game streaming for those who have the benefit of it is ignoring those who don’t have shit internet. Google is a large company and has put a monumental amount of effort into expanding Google fiber, it’s not like they decided "hey we have game streaming for a select few people lets nix this whole other division of the company.

How are Microsoft and Google ignoring the fact that a lot of our infrastructure is shit by having a division of developers working on video game streaming? Isn’t that pretty much cancelled out by the fact that they have dedicated hardware divisions making it possible to play the next generation Xbox games?

I just don’t understand what you want them to do? The only company poised to make any difference in Rural America’s shit internet is SpaceX with their low orbit satellites. Google tried to make a difference and got royally blocked at every avenue they could get. This effort does literally nothing to stop any initiatives that benefit those with no internet, it just gives those people with good internet extra capabilities that are physically (by both the laws of physics and the political climate we have) impossible to achieve for those in rural areas.

edit I do care about the real shit internet. Hell I live in a very populated area but due to misc circumstances my last house could not get better than crappy 25/4 DSL, despite living 2 miles from where I live now with 100/15 for the same price. It’s ridiculous but this thread seems the wrong thread to grand stand about it though.


Yes. As I noted upthread, I’m an American, speaking mostly about the USA, and about American companies. Also, the rest of the world includes large areas of cell-only access or limited/no access as well. I have nothing against companies rolling out products for the areas where they are likely to sell; that’s not the point I was bringing up. It’s the voluntary blinders that we often wear to shield ourselves from much of reality that sort of irks me.


I hear you. I don’t expect companies to do anything. And I don’t oppose these streaming services/systems. I simply would like both awareness of and discussion of infrastructure issues, which are largely rooted in race and class in this country. That’s all. And no, I don’t expect Google or MIcrosoft to lead that charge, but it would be nice if their resources could lend a hand.


So there’s two things I don’t understand about your argument.

First, how is this different from basically any other product? “How dare anyone be so non-sensitive as to discuss Battletech on this board? It’s a game only accessible to a narrow mostly western and well-off segment of people with gaming PCs. Paradox is actively disfranchising billions and billions of people who only have access to smartphones”. Clearly you see streaming as fundamentally different somehow; I just don’t understand how.

The second is that streaming is probably going to make gaming more accessible to people with limited means, not less. The implied promise is that you won’t need to pay $300 for a PS4 just to play Division 2, you can just use your $30 Chromecast or your school-provided Chromebook or the smartphone that everyone probably already owns.

It’s like you’ve gotten the socio-economics of this exactly backwards. The people on this board are not the target market for streaming: I suspect most of us own at least two of gaming-capable PC / PS4 / Xbox / Switch, and can play the games locally in better quality and with lower latency. So the target for streaming has to be the people who can’t or don’t want to spend a lot of money up front for a dedicated gaming device.


Without wanting to put words in other people’s mouths, there’s a difference between releasing a game and calling something your vision of the future of gaming.


I’m more concerned about turning all of gaming into a service. If it’s just about the time spent on a particular game and all games are vying for your $10/month, where does that leave concise, single player experiences? Or single player in general? It seems like it benefits the massive AAA behemoths at the cost of everyone else, making this even more of a winner-takes-all industry.


Increased use for high speed and low latency Internet leads to demand which leads to more infrastructure in places that don’t have it, which leads to all the opportunities that come with better Internet access. I think this would be good for rural Internet options if it becomes popular.


If Google’s service works just fine with a browser, what does selling a hardware box do for Google? Shouldn’t it just an app that runs on any smart TV, roku, etc?

Either it can run standalone android games, or it has magic latency hardware in it, presumably?

I guess it could basically just be another at making Google TV a thing.


Hopefully you’re right, but there are definitely areas of the US that can not be profitably served with internet infrastructure we have today. Maybe with low Earth orbit satellites in 5-10 years.

I guess the question is: how much is it worth to give internet to every single person in the US? Is there a cost at which delivering internet to that last person is too high?


Not every smart TV device supports controllers, and not everyone has a smart TV device.


True game streaming* continues to be a solution for an environment that doesn’t exist - a world where most people have excellent, reliable Internet connections, graphics hardware is hyper-expensive and is the limiting factor in game development, and mandatory upgrading of hardware is frequent.

In fact, we live in the opposite world. Graphics hardware that’s “good enough” is cheap and widely available. Most games these days don’t rely on pushing the envelope in terms of graphics hardware, both because the cost of developing the art for cutting-edge development is prohibitive and most customers prefer a well-thought-out “good enough” art style to hyper-realism. The lifespan of a PC or a console has never been longer, because there’s realistically little reason to upgrade frequently.

Meanwhile, most people in most places have flaky and erratic Internet connections (even in places where the connection speeds look good on paper) and game streaming continues to be the worst-case scenario in terms of cloud computing - it’s extremely large number of computations per user, and hence runs into terrible problems at periods of peak demand. It’s the polar opposite of the low-computation but high-volume traffic places like Google and Amazon normally deal with. If I have to wait half a second for an Amazon page to refresh I barely notice; if I have to wait half a second for the screen to refresh while playing a shooter it’s a ragequit moment.

The fact that a behemoth like Google may be getting into true game streaming is interesting. But it’s the equivalent of GM announcing they’re getting into the movie business or Disney saying they’re making a self driving car. Given the amount of resources they command, it’s perfectly possible they will revolutionize the business. They’re operating outside their wheelhouse, though, so it’s more likely this is another Apple TV.

*We need to be careful not to conflate true game streaming with services that allow people to play a variety of games for a flat fee per month. True game streaming means doing all the work of the game - graphics rendering, AI computations, etc. - in the cloud, with the user having essentially a dumb terminal.

A service that merely gives access to a variety of games for a flat fee doesn’t require any actual streaming at all, and indeed XBox Game Pass does exactly that on a conventional console.


Well said. I’ve been thinking the same thing. Those without the resources for gaming hardware are very likely living in areas with sub-par network infrastructure in their community (speaking for the US mainly).

Certainly not writing off Google’s efforts here as there might be an audience. Perhaps people whom are mainly phone gamers and don’t want to bother with a traditional console?


I wouldn’t want to play games exclusively via streaming, but I’m extremely excited for when I can use streaming as an option to continue my native gaming experience when I happen to be out somewhere else with a good connection.


Yeah, I don’t get the handwringing personally, it’s not an either/or situation. More options is a good thing.


That’s a good point. It’s just that the streaming model is most suited for a fee-based service model.