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The Google Stadia Backlash Has Begun



While people are still grappling with the technical ramifications of Google's stadia platform, gamers have taken deeper, more troubling questions. What do mods look like in a world of game streaming? What happens to game preservation? What happens if Google dwarfs gaming has the same name as search, browsers and advertising? And most worryingly of all, what happens later

In the immediate aftermath of the Google Stadia announcement, the public discourse is largely centered on the technicalities.

There is a little bit of excitement mixed in with all of that. What's the gaming experience like when your connection is in the same room? What are the potential levels of fidelity like when are they in a single console, or a single PC? What's exciting about think about.

That's exciting to think about. But there's no such thing as a free lunch, especially with a company that wants to carve itself up.

The biggest complains or concerns against stadiums can be categorized into three broad aspects. The first is a backlash against Google itself. Google does not have a history of launching and then abandoning products

even ones that users really love. There's Google+, the company's alternative to a Facebook-style social offering that never really took off. There's like Google Reader, which fans of RSS readers still miss today. Google Health, a service to broaden access to health and wellness information, which shut down in 2012 after "not having the broad impact that we hoped it would". Google's orkut social networking service found some popularity overseas, but it did not gain traction in the United States, so that was killed off in 2014. Google's allo messaging app was shut down this month.

It's not just virtual products that Google has a history of walking away from. The most damaging indictment of the company's attitude in the past week is the rollout of Google Fiber in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville has become the 12th city added to the fiber project back in 2017, and the Internet conglomerate is rapidly becoming more and more expensive.

But Google largely underestimates the technical scope of the project. The plan was to roll out across a series of shallow trenches, where the road is covered with asphalt. Worse still, the pits and asphalt were too thin, resulting in the rubber patching and, in some cases, exposing the cables and wiring.

Google had to recover. AT & T and Spectrum sued the conglomerate to block a city's ordinance granting Google access to electricity poles in the city. Google's rollout, as evidenced by the company's refusal to challenge the judge's ruling.

But the technical challenges proved too much, and after all the disruption Google announced it was shutting down the Louisville project, less than two years after signups began. The experiment has not been a total failure – Google's presence forced AT & T to roll out gigabit services faster than they would have ordinarily. It's a galling lack of respect. What do you think? .

Rightly so, people have questioned what would happen if Google took the same approach with games.

Image: Konami (VG Museum)

Part of the reason why emulators are so revered is because the video is played on during the localization process,

In the modern era, that preservation problem has been about hardware and more about compatibility. GOG and Night Dive Studios are great examples of making a living doing just that.

But have on Windows 3.11 going? And that's just the compatibility problems. Archivists also have to deal with the degradation of physical media: cartridges that are not longer work after 15 or 20 years.

Preserving these games is only possible “/>

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Cloud gaming does away with that process entirely. In the way of actually playing a video game. 19659002] But it means you're totally reliant on servers for that game, or the platform holders that offer them, being online forever. And that's never, ever the case. Even if communities have tried to keep playing online games, they can run afoul of copyright holders and copyright issues.

With cloud gaming, that's not possible.

Now that might not have been a great deal for games that are being offered via traditional, local storage mediums. In the interim, things like the next Assassin's Creed the next Fallout Battlefield 6 or whatever the next AAA game is.

And what happens when games are designed, is it just for the purpose of a cloud service?

And what happens to the future of mods? Some of the greatest games today exist as a result of mods: Team Fortress 2 which went on to inspire Overwatch ; Counter-Strike which the foundations of esports in the West were built on, what borne out of a Half-Life mod; Fallout and Skyrim communities.

Do developers have to build new systems and models to make existing mods playable in a cloud gaming context? Do new editors have to be made for people to access the files?

Google does not have that anymore, but that's another bruising reality: there's little to no money in preserving older games, let alone the effect spent to make

Part of Google's Stadia pitch is not just frustrating for gamers, but so is the technical limitations of existing hardware that frustrates developers.

Take the idea of ​​elastic compute. Instead of relying on the power of a single console, Stadia could design multiple data center PCs, allowing games to become even higher resolutions, with even more fidelity, to populate in-game worlds with more people, more things to do, and just more stuff.

That's why we're just starting to get involved in a litany of performance problems. CPUs in consoles that make it difficult to calculate the movement of too many NPCs at any given stage.

But how do you keep it alive? can answer that. And to be precise, it's not a new problem. It is a question of the people of the United Kingdom. Steam, the nature of gaming services in 2019. more general. Even without cloud gaming, there is a segment of gamers who – in all likelihood – spend hundreds of dollars a year on a hobby without having anything tangible to show for it.

re paying for access, not a product. Should that company decides your money is no longer worthwhile, there's bugger all you can do about it. And the same applies for pricing and access more generally.

But in emerging countries and continents, where modern gaming has failed to penetrate due to a myriad of issues (socioeconomic conditions, internet

What happens in those places when there's nobody to stop?

The third and most instant backlash to stadia was the technical possibility, as if stadia would function at all. A lot of that conversation was dominated by the here and now. Some Australians have rightly pointed out that the spotty, broken rollout of the NBN means a service like Stadia is much less enticing than it should be. But the majority of criticism actually came from Americans. Australia has better internet-on-line, so it's not that easy

Google Stadia's chief Phil Harrison told Kotaku that only 30mbps is required for streaming 4K content, with the 1080p / 60fps stream for Assassin's Creed: Odyssey needing 15mbps (though 25mbps what is recommended). If you consider that most Australians tend to stream content at 720p or on smaller devices, where the trade-off of lower resolutions is more acceptable, it's not unreasonable to think that, as of today, a solid chunk of the Australian diaspora would be able

There's the rollout of the 5G network to consider as well, the advancement of the NBN, and what happens to future compression technologies and next-generation video encoders like H.265 / HEVC / AV1.

But even if we make some concessions for the practical bandwidth requirements, there's still the latency problem.

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John Carmack's quip this week about gamers playing with unoptimized TVs is interesting as a reminder. Who is really, really does not give a shit.

There is a point where "some lag" becomes "unplayable", and what that looks looks like varies enormously for different games. Narrative adventures or episodic titles like Life is Strange should have no qualms running on any service.

But the whole Stadia project is not designed to bring single player games to the world. It's an extension of YouTube's largest source of content creation – gaming – and the community that exists within that. Google can minimize the latency in multiplayer games. very small margins for error.

Fighting games are a great example. A lot of these games have extremely tiny response windows. Take the simple parry technique, a motion introduced in Street Fighter 3 that required pinpoint timing. It's not just a neat feature, but a measure of skill that happens to be one of the greatest and most iconic moments in gaming's history:

[19659002] Parrying a super like Daigo did 15 correct taps up or down on the stick. just one successful parry is only between six and ten frames, which amounts to about one-tenth of a second at best to respond, or 100 milliseconds.

The average reaction time of most humans is between 210 milliseconds to 250 milliseconds for a visual prompt, around 170 milliseconds for an audio cue, and a little less than that for physical stimuli (being touched, for example).

When you factor in the time someone has to respond

Initial tests from Eurogamer found that Google Stadia had around 166 milliseconds of lag , with display and Wi-Fi connection delay included. That's more than double what you'd get from a PC playing at 60 frames per second. League of Legends Rainbow Six: Siege It's also far, far too much than what players would consider acceptable for a lot of esports titles. Apex Legends Fortnite or Battlefield .

Of course, if anyone can make it work it's Google (or Microsoft). The biggest downfall for cloud gaming services in the past has always been infrastructure, which is the biggest component in making a service like this work. The streaming element is a problem that's already been solved. Stadia, and while it's certainly a huge challenge, it's worth remembering that they were finding ways to solve the '80s and' 90s as well

As more devs shift their focus or start investigating the cloud gaming experience for themselves. The Stadia controller directly connects to data centers, rather than a Chromecast or another device, is one way of tackling this.

It's also worth remembering that Stadia does not have to solve all these problems. Companies are excited about the current gaming market – not necessarily its potential to subsume the existing audience. There are plenty of emerging markets that are due to the cost of consoles, TVs, gaming PCs and associated peripherals, and for those who are looking for a low or mid-range phone, relying on their own mobile connection, opens up a whole new world. Stadia has left them out of the loop entirely.

But that does not mean Stadia is a service that should be welcomed with open arms. Google does not just need to convince people that it can stick around for the long-haul. Google's handling of the shifting trends on YouTube certainly does not engendered a lot of faith, and it's natural for people to be concerned about what the gaming market looks like after a conglomerate starts throwing its weight around. Google has not allayed those fears just yet,


This story originally appeared on Kotaku Australia.


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