Stadia - Google's vision for the future of gaming

I hope Jon Scarr doesn’t regret his tattoo!

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The tech is solid so makes sense they’d want to shop it - but who needs it for gaming? Maybe Sony? Someone like Netflix who’s willing to go to court in a way Nvidia wasn’t with GFE? I could potentially see Epic or Valve dipping their toes in on a service like that if they want the headache that goes with it.

Ironic.

Stadia was, as far as I can recall, unique for Google in that it was obviously a loser the moment they announced the monetization and lineup. Usually there’s some reasonable debate to be had, but with Stadia not so much. They priced it like it needed to make a profit on day 1.

I assume this allows it to turn Pelotons into those dynamic biking adventure things a lot of indoor bikes have, so you can pretend you are biking in the mountains or w/e.

Is it mandatory for projects at Google to have the lamest names ever?

Awww, a final embrace for dying heroes before the end.

Sony owns the Gaikai tech already

Well you can stick a fork in Stadia finally I guess.

I think Microsoft are poised to be the leader for cloud stuff (if it catches on in a big way), but they need to sort out the basic streaming experience and make it more solid latency-wise. Everything else is there for them already.

Stadia had great core streaming tech, but Google fucked up literally everything else.

They also have a MOU already with Microsoft, regarding using Azure for cloud stuff.

Microsoft is the clear leader but they’re burning a truly astonishing amount of money to get there. Maybe that’ll pay off, maybe it won’t, either way consumers win so who cares?

Right, as far as I can tell there’s nothing going back to the servers in any timely fashion.

I’ve had some rides where the bike resistance settings got out of sync with the video stream. Sometimes it was unclear if the resistance settings were just wrong. At least once it was clearly just out of sync by about a minute; instructor says “let’s kick it up to 65 resistance!” and the bike (and resistance UI on screen) jump to that about a minute later, and so on.

But none of that has to do with latency or timing going back to the server. That’s just a separate problem of how the ride settings data and the video desynched at the outset.

Google now behaves the way Microsoft used to behave.

I wonder if I should get on with playing Borderlands 3 with more urgency, if it’s in danger of being gone one of these days? I’m guessing they’ll still support existing games for a while.

Maybe a Google engineer will see a new career opportunity to pad his move up the corporate ladder and launch a “new NEW” Google product called “Google We Won’t Trash Stadia Games You Rented From Us” and then sunset it to the Google Graveyard 6 months later when it doesn’t rake in the money for Google.

This is the most thorough dismantling of a technology I have ever read. I feel bad for Google after reading it.

I worked in cloud computing. Gaming is one of the toughest kinds of apps to support, and doing it right is prohibitively expensive.

Here are some assumptions made by PC game developers that aren’t necessarily true when the game is running in your cloud solution:

  • The user has a keyboard
  • The user has a mouse
  • The user’s devices are physically connected to the machine
  • I can write to anywhere on the disk, and it will persist between sessions
  • I can update my app on launch, and the update will persist between sessions
  • The user’s hardware won’t change drastically between sessions
  • The hard drive is physically connected to the machine, and I don’t need to expect network latency when reading the disk
  • I can use 100% of the GPU
  • Users of my multiplayer are going to have different IP addresses
  • My anti-cheat service is only going to run on consumer PCs

Basically, to make this work you need to:

  • Refactor the games to even work in the cloud. You have to pay the original team heavily, or spin up a porting developer, who will take twice as long and still be expensive. You pay extra for every update or DLC, which you get after everybody else.
  • Have a dedicated gaming machine for every user. Incredibly expensive since you can’t divide these up into multiple virtual machines, and in off hours you’ve got overpowered machines that are just sitting idle.

Even if you do all that it doesn’t solve the “last 20 feet” issue. You can spare no expense getting a high fidelity image to the customer with low latency, but if they don’t have a perfect Wi-Fi setup you’re dead in the water. Your customer with high speed internet may be bouncing between two devices in a mesh, or may have unpredictable throttling by their provider. These aren’t problems for using productivity apps like Blender, but are fatal for gaming.

I’d guess Google underestimated these challenges or figured they’d build clever solutions once it got popular.

Hitman 3 was a practical case where I realised that Stadia isn’t actually PC when they listed out the supported platforms and savefile importing - most of the dev things @DoubleG mentioned Stadia put on the developer side, which meant that for devs it was basically considered a completely separate platform to support. If you consider Stadia not as PC but another platform…there are a lot of other platforms to support first. Aren’t Xboxes also basically PCs with a couple custom APIs?

I think the smart move would be to use the Stadia tech to do Android on PC - they’d get subs from most of the mobile game streamers I bet, and while it’s old PC gaming hardware it’s still overpowered hardware for Android. And this would hilariously allow for Android on Stadia on Android phone “Androidception”.