Google Stadia

  • Announcement

    Youtube Video

    With EZA reactions

    Youtube Video

    Digital Foundry Performance Testing

    Youtube Video

    I thought it was a very interesting reveal, and I'm pretty disappointed by the Allies' treatment of it.

    They judged it as a traditional console announcement, as if we were watching a PS5 reveal. Obviously from that point of view, it would be disappointing, as you'd want to see exclusive games, exciting IPs, and so on. But it was clearly not about that.

    Of course, from a hardcore/traditional gamer perspective, it's not immediately exciting, but that's not who this presentation was aimed at first and foremost. It was aimed at developers, and more specifically I'd say at publishers. The main selling point of this whole thing is that through Stadia, you'll have access to an audience of a billion users, as opposed to less than a hundred million on any given console. It really is Netflix for games. That's the key aspect, and you can bet Ubisoft and all the other big companies fully realize the potential of this thing.

    It is the future, whether we like or not.

    I'm not saying it will catch on and blow up as soon as it launches, and I highly doubt Google expects it to. They might burn money for the first few years, but they know that down the line it'll be extremely lucrative. Whether you'll be buying games individually, paying a monthly fee, or even playing for free and have to watch ads, we don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was the latter, at least in its first phase.

    What they're selling is convenience, and it's a lot more valuable to the masses than some technical nitpicks. We can have doubts about their performance claims all we want, but they're not idiots, they've definitely thought about all the potential issues way before any of us did. It's clear that they're going all in on this, and if one company has the money and the expertise to pull this off, it's Google.

    In a way, it's the concept of the Switch, which everybody loves, but cranked up to 11.

    It may not be perfect at launch, it may not take us away from our beloved PlayStations or Switches, but 5 years, 10 years down the line, it'll be the mainstream way of playing games, I'm almost certain of it.

    Yes, there were quite a few cringy moments, maybe they overhyped it and the presentation dragged on a bit, but overall, it made sense and the potential is obvious. So I feel like the snarky reactions from the Allies, particularly Kyle, came off as petty and short-sighted.

    What did you think?

  • Project Stream performed amazingly well. But, I worry about bandwidth limits on my current connection, how well it will work on popular competitive titles and the fact I've spend thousands of dollars on a Steam library that as of now, I wouldn't have access to with a service like this.

    This is definitely a service for "someone else." We've been going this way since the announcement and dissolution of the Phantom, the beginning of OnLive and the current state of PS Now and Utomik (haven't heard of that, have ya? ;) ), as well as other services like Jump (subscription based gaming). We'll see if the US's management of infrastructure and regulation of internet providers helps make it a sustainable type of service.

  • I don't know exactly what I think. My roommate and I talked for maybe 30 minutes about the industry in general as well as this. Here are some rambling loose thoughts.

    I'm beginning to notice that as more people begin to use tech, kids and younger adults seem to be more and more tech illiterate instead of improving and Stradia is probably another example of profiting off of this. I'm 24, I'm the last group of kids born without PCs or internet in the household but most of us had them by 2004. I remember the early days of the internet, learning things from forums, and just learning about computers by doing. Converting mp4 to wmv so it can play on Media Player. Downloading music off of Kazaa, Napster, Limewire. Learning about computer tech from forums instead of magazines or books. That kinda thing.

    Nowadays people don't want to learn about computers, they don't care about the prices they pay for "convenience", and they don't know what they are missing out on when they play video games on a potato phone instead of a good TV with a controller. People pay money to stream music when I grew up getting it free very easily. Same goes with video. People spend $1000-2000 on an iPhone that they pay to watch movies on and play video games on. They don't care that they're missing out on a big TV with proper surround sound. Just play it through your shitty phone speakers and watch through your scratched up screen protector.

    The general masses don't care anymore, so why the hell should they care about the quality of their games? I don't think Google Stadia is for us gaming forum dwellers but for some kids who wanna play a game by pressing one button. People don't care that a PS4 is basically the best all-in-one media centre out there when they can have their Macbook or Amazon stick, and call it a day. I'll never and I mean NEVER compromise my entertainment centre. It brings me too much pleasure in life to have a nice TV, a nice set of speakers, a good game console, and a solid couch to sit on. I have friends that can live out of a backpack and I just can't do that. I need my cozy living room but they don't. They don't need anything more than a bit of space to sleep, their bag, toothbrush, bed, laptop, and phone. They don't care if the movie quality sucks on the laptop - its fine for them. I think the same goes for gaming. People in general don't care if it doesn't look as good or work as well.

    Times are changing. I hate to admit it, but times are changing.

  • @dipset I don't think anything "changing," the audience is growing. Gaming is not a niche thing, and while the same niche group want a certain quality and fidelity, the new audience just wants to be entertained. And that's OK.

    The more of them there are, the closer we get to the higher quality experience being in reach of more people, and the far reaches of the niche market will just grow.

    It's been this way in entertainment for years, and the availability of high quality content has never been better.

  • @sazime

    I think what I'm trying to say is that I acknowledge that gaming and technology users are growing in general. All across the board. And with that growth, people don't care about the how and why. They just pay their $10 for Spotify, $15 for Netflix, $10 here, $10 there, yadda yadda, and just have these all-in-one experiences instead of really fine tuning them.

    Not to speak on behalf of us all but I feel kinda like a car enthusiast who likes to tune his car whereas the general driving masses like something that can get them from point A to point B cheap and efficiently. It's less about the recreation and more about the function. Where I like to immerse myself in a game world, others prefer to get 20 min of Fortnite in on the subway on their way to work.

    To each their own, but by "times are changing" I mean that more people are gaming - or better - streaming (in a general sense) and its become something more practical despite how I see it as almost backwards in some ways (i.e. Spotify vs my own personal library of music files).

  • This is doesn't do anything for me, i love the idea of streaming games on any device in 4K 60fps, but from what we learned by watching every online game launch there will be problems, i would rather have a $400 Console that can run my games than hope my Internet can keep a staple connection.

  • This is me right now. I grew up with P2P downloading, torrents, physical games on a console, physical movies on the shelf, physical hardware in my computer. Today people use Spotify, Netflix, iPhone to game, and now Chrome. I get how old people scoffed at CDs now. "Whadda mean you listen to music in the car?!"


    I. GET. IT. NOW.

    Signed by,

    A man who is only 24 years old

  • If this is a subscription, it better be cheap. PSNow died the day they announced pricing, and they never really recovered. If it's a platform you buy proprietary games on - they better have a storefront as good as Steam with literally every QOL improvement that Steam has.

    Hope they know what a minefield they just waded into lol

  • I watched a good chunk of the presentation. I'm immensely skeptical about the potential of playing games via streaming a video feed. The shine of the presentation did however do a good job of reminding me that there is an under-served market for this. Obviously, that market has all these caveats carved into it, but because I'm so negative about this stuff I found it noteworthy that I had positive visions associated with the concept.

    OK -- all that said I'm still skeptical about this specifically because there was no talk about what it will cost the consumer.

    If streaming your games isn't cheap, there is no market for it.

    It's not that people "don't have access" to the non-streaming local hardware option, it's that they don't want to buy it. Or they have the hardware but don't want to buy every little game just to sample everything.

    If you have the dough, you can play whatever games you want. Money obviates the need for buying a worse substitute. And if Stadia is too expensive for what you get, there would be no reason someone would pick it. The service would obviate itself. I know there was talk about doing big server side calculations with more GPUs than presumably a regular console would not match, but I'm saying that is/will be a small part of the selling point.

    If Google wants the public and those GDC developers to think this will be successful (obv. the two are related), they should have given cost information even if they don't have the final price per month or whatever.

    Assuming we had the cost information (and the "what you get" information, like the ownership question and what games are available), the next level of skepticism is whether this business can thrive. @Axel, you said you doubt Google expects it to blow up, but I'm still concerned about where that line is. I don't really know, but I feel there must be a point where not having enough users makes the business unprofitable. Cost per user might be too high, getting licensees onboard might be too hard, etc. if the company doesn't have enough scale or, in the case of things like servers, customer density.

    I know Netflix works and is successful, but I think it is a mistake to use this as the fount of optimism. Ironically, the fact that games have such a high ratio of "hours of entertainment per dollar" means that substituting the local hardware model with "hey, we'll send you each hour of entertainment using servers and bandwidth" is inherently that much more expensive than movies.

    How are the developers being compensated is another tier of skepticism. I've been seeing this tweet linked around:

  • @dipset I totally feel you, and just to clarify, I never said I like it. But I see it as inevitable, like you said, the huge majority of people don't know any better or simply don't care.

    We'll soon be the equivalent of music enthusiasts buying vinyl records, movie enthusiasts buying Blu-Rays, while the rest is happy with Spotify and Netflix.

    And it's funny because in some ways, I've already transitioned to some of the modern convenience aspects of gaming. This gen I've only bought games digitally for my PS4 and Switch. And I love it, saves me a lot of space, and physical editions feel irrelevant to me anyway in the new era of day-one patches and no manuals. And when I moved countries a few years ago, I was very happy to only have to carry my console and not a whole box of games along with it. Maybe in 10 years when I can't re-download certain games I'll feel the sting, but right now I'm all in.

    I doubt I'll play on Stadia, at least not throughout the next gen, but 2 gens from now, who knows? Stadia essentially makes the entire concept of "gens" obsolete at this point. It's scary because that's what we're used to, but I can foresee some advantages too, like no more backwards compatibility issues. Microsoft is clearly moving towards this too.

    Let's see how it goes!

  • Stadia just isn't something for me. At least from what they showed at the event. I currently don't have any problems playing games on my consoles or PC. Well, assuming the developers released a competent product. Brandon Jones said jokingly during the conference, "Oh, thankfully we're finally solving this problem that we all despise. I'm like, I never had an issue with that.". I feel the same way but the games industry could always use more competition. So I don't hate it.

    Something that would change my mind is great exclusive titles. I don't have any allegiances to a single console manufacturer or PC storefront. I simply go where the best games go.

  • I think they didn’t talk pricing for two reasons. One, they can be very flexible, especially with the infrastructure Stadia gives you. Suddenly you can have trailers that offer you the first 2 hours right now for £10, taken off the total price if you choose to purchase. Suddenly you have an ad based service for certain games where you just watch an ad every 20 minutes and get to play for free.

    Announcing costing would work against the objective of this conference, which is to get publishers and devs talking with Stadia where among other things, they can discuss what pricing models they would and wouldn’t be willing to have for their games.

  • Banned

    @tokyoslim PS Now is dead?
    Is that why it is making 3 times more revenue than Gamepass and controls 52% of the subscription gaming service market?

    As for Stadia... I give almost zero fucks. Having seen several previews regarding the latency in controls, I am certain this isn't for me.

    And that is what I keep seeing. "This isn't for us" but then I wonder who the hell it is for. All the literature brags about the display capabilities with 4k60, but this gen of consoles has proven that nobody cares about power
    Casuals? That market is already covered by, well, everything else. The kids in my after school program all play Fortnite on their Xbox's or go to the library and play on the PC's there.
    Unless they can capture that audience of fad hungry kids, I honestly just can't see this taking off.
    If Microsoft with all it's gazillions of dollars can't convince people to play on Xbox or subscribe to Gamepass, I don't see Google having much better luck.

  • Banned

    I don't even like streaming movies.

    Can't believe how positive the reception is. People have such low standards. 4K streams already look poor compressed to speeds of only like 20 mbps, and now that they're combining this with games they want to add input lag to every action, as well as delayed picture, when internet service providers in the United States are buying out their competition, making deals to stay out of each other's areas, which allows them to deliver a product that is only standard and has monthly bandwidth caps. The Netflix age disgusts me. Subscribers sacrifice so much for convenience. Who gives a shit about how graphically powerful the server is when the game plays like shit? I can already picture developers coming up with ways to accommodate the horrible input lag and picture delay, like slowing animations.

  • @chocobop

    That developer brings up a good point that I never thought out. I do not want to live in a world where games make money on a per hour basis. Its going to cause risk mitigation by making addicting but shallow games that are padded for length. Or just pure addiction monsters like Candy Crush. Quantity over quality.

    We've seen this model with music on Spotify where sub-par albums get put out for the sake of having quantity to make more money off streams.

  • @el-shmiablo I'm not comparing its popularity in comparison to other streaming services. I saw that same report, (which is built on estimated data and not hard data). I'm saying that while those are impressive marketshare numbers in that context, per that same report streaming indicated that streaming games services only make up about 6 % of the market revenue in total. PSNow is roughly 3-4% of Sony's gaming revenue... Which is great, I guess, but not something I'd put 400+ million dollars plus yearly upkeep into. I'm happy for the few million people out there that use it. It's just not a very big number.

  • I get the presentation was mainly aimed at Devs/Publishers but they also had to be aware this was going to be streamed and that gamers would be watching. From a gamers stand point this seems interesting. Being able to play AAA/indie games portable is in large part why the Switch is so successful. Like many though I need to see how well this works in practice and how much this is going to cost. It could be my third party system of choice if it works well and can hit 4K 60 FPS. However, I can't really get too excited for this right now, there's still too many unanswered questions. I think it would have made a much better splash if they had one high quality exclusive that people really wanted to play, or at least announce a high profile dev that is making an exclusive game for them. Time will tell but this thing could be pretty cool.

  • Reports saying you need 25mbps to run a 1080 60 game, so in my country i need to pay almost $1,400 a year over what Google are gonna charge me for me to stream a 4K 60fps game.
    FYI i pay $400 a year for my current Internet.

  • I was also a little disappointed in the Allies reactions to this. I expected skepticism but they were very down on everything about this.
    Do I personally care? Nah. Do I want this? Nope. Do I think it will work as advertised? Unlikely.

    But I'm happy this exists cause I want companies to try new things.

    I will say though if there is one thing that will make me care about this, it'll be that couch co op feature working.

  • @axel said:

    I'm pretty disappointed by the Allies' treatment of it.

    @Inustar said:

    I was also a little disappointed in the Allies reactions to this. I expected skepticism but they were very down on everything about this.

    Since Jones has tweeted about this now, I'd like to ask you two of similar opinion why you were disappointed by the Allies genuine reactions from their perspective of gamers watching a stream that Google hyped up as "the future of gaming". I personally value the Allies having real, no bullshit reactions to things, and that includes them calling out a conference that is mostly comprised of a string of buzzwords and basically begging devs to use their datacenters and servers to create new experiences that Google can then take the credit for. You can't expect EZA to react to everything in a positive manner. The world isn't always positive. The conference they watched was a whole lot of nothing, worse a whole lot of alternative facts, ignoring all the downsides to the ideal version of what Google was presenting and pulling wool over people's eyes, so I very much appreciated every time EZA pointed out what Google wasn't saying.

    Aside from a couple of pretty minor seeming side tools like the texture swapper thing, all Google seemed to really be offering with their vision of the future was the raw power and networking needed to run theoretical projects that they're seemingly relying on others to gather around and create for them. I would even argue that they pushed to do this so early, so no matter how the industry eventually gets to this vision, Google is now positioned to take credit for it. We know Microsoft is going to be having similar talks soon, and it'll be interesting to see how those talks differ from what Google presented.

    @Axel said:

    They judged it as a traditional console announcement

    Because Google set expectations like this:

    Of course, from a hardcore/traditional gamer perspective, it's not immediately exciting, but that's not who this presentation was aimed at first and foremost.

    Then don't gather everyone to watch this. Label it as for those groups of people primarily.

    It is the future, whether we like or not.

    That doesn't mean people have to enjoy a bad presentation of it, that leaves out the flaws of it to make the service look better than it actually is in hopes of attracting investors and partners.

    In a way, it's the concept of the Switch, which everybody loves, but cranked up to 11.

    Except it kind of isn't, because this is reliant on you always being able to hover around very good wireless networks to take advantage of this. I guess you can see it has pros and cons just as the Switch does, but it is a different pocket entirely.

    Yes, there were quite a few cringy moments, maybe they overhyped it and the presentation dragged on a bit, but overall, it made sense and the potential is obvious. So I feel like the snarky reactions from the Allies, particularly Kyle, came off as petty and short-sighted.

    I think snarky is exactly the reaction Google deserved with such a dishonest conference that treated people like idiots and brought a famous Youtuber on stage to simply repeat everything already said in a charismatic way to try and stir up a positive public perception of an idea for something that doesn't actually even exist yet. You say it made sense, but they took forever to say what could've been expressed much quicker if they cut through all the flowery propping up of the information they had for us. Of course what they're saying has potential, but they're also not the only ones to think of this, so acting like they are is even worse. There's nothing petty about Kyle and the others pointing that stuff out. That's a genuine reaction to being talked down to in that way and calling out nonsense that others might otherwise harmfully buy into. They did the right thing, and I'd argue Kyle and the others are fully aware this is probably the future. They're not being short-sighted of the potential things like this holds someday. They're being practical about the problems that still exist in the way of this, which were completely ignored in Google's conference, and which affect a large portion of their audience that Google currently seems less than concerned with.