Google OnLi- uh, Stadia


That Motherboard article covers the tech issues about perfectly.

I have symmetric Gigabit internet with no cap in a major US Hub. I’m a total outlier here. I might be able to play with Stadia. I already stream games locally using Steam or Parsec, and even using excellent local networking hardware the experience can be uneven. I can’t imagine how much worse it would be with the internet in the middle.

And that’s not getting into the creepy factor here.

While some subset of players might feel like gaming is public/performative by default, I, at least, prefer my gaming to be largely private. It’s one thing for friends (and game companies) to see my achievements (which I already find a little weird). It’s quite another for machine learning or human agents to analyze my gameplay habits in order to sell me shit.


actually its stadiums


There’s so much naysaying on this thread that I had check if I was still reading Kotaku. Does Google’s solution leave a lot of questions on the table and comes with drawbacks baked into the design? You bet! But Google’s entry into gaming doesn’t mean that everyone else is going to close shop. To me it just means more options. Don’t live in an area with good internet? The console makers will happily sell you some hardware. Worries about indies? Itch will continue to be a thing. You prefer games with tight reactions? That hardware at the data center can be replicated at home with this newfangled device called a “PC”. I dunno, maybe see how this plays out before going all pessimistic about it?


i absolutely refuse to be optimistic about anything involving google

to be clear, if the price is “not being able to stream video games from anywhere provided i have ridiculously good internet”, i’m happy to pre-emptively shit on huge companies having free reign on collecting my data, monopolising infrastructure and controlling how we consume/produce entertainment

if i wanted to be a REAL stick in the mud i would say given the challenges facing humanity at the moment this is a truly wasteful use of intellectual and technological resources and emblematic of capitalism’s failure to allocate such things appropriately


lol its 166ms of input lag

thats worse than onlive


One big upshot is a greater accessibility of games to people who have decent enough internet access, but can’t afford game consoles which cost hundreds of dollars at minimum. That increased access can’t be underestimated.

Whenever the topic is brought up on the Bombcast, Jeff has a perspective of “I have tons of problems with this, but the level of convenience for your mainstream consumer, and the level of control this gives publisher/platform-holders, makes it a guarantee that this is the direction the games industry will likely go in”.

It’s probably an inevitable thing, though that doesn’t mean I’m cool with the implications this has for games preservation, considering we’re already seeing situations of older online games that just aren’t made accessible in any way.

(also as Austin mentioned, their showcase of “just plug an image in and bam, instant art style!” is some really crass motioning towards automating out artists from the development process)


That’s about how much input lag I have. As a person.

This is worse than me is what I’m saying.


What if… in an effort to reduce input lag… they get rid of user input.

That’s right. Putting the emphasis back on the video in video games! The future is watching!


I hear you and appreciate what you are saying here. Yes, if google succeeds, having another way to play games with a low entry cost at their highest fidelity is great.

But, I really wonder who this is going to reach that aren’t already playing games. Is there a large audience of people with good networking hardware and internet, who want to play games, and can’t already (or would save money by playing this way?). Or will that audience come to exist in a few years? If that’s true, then I’m willing to come around here, for sure. I admit, I’ve been wanting to try Sony’s service because it would let me play Bloodborne, and eventually Horizon Zero Dawn, so in some way I’m actually the target audience here.

Contrast this with Microsoft’s similar play (to make Xbox software + maybe streaming, not a hardware + software play alone) and I can’t help but feel that Microsoft’s is a lot more grounded, and I don’t know, trustworthy?


This is an axiom we would all do well to live by.


I wanna be clear, I’m referring to game streaming as a whole avenue, and not just Google’s thing. They’re significant in being the first to make a major public push, but this is a structure that will likely envelop the entire games industry in one way or another.

To the question of “how many people would game streaming really appeal to”, I’d say A Whole Lot. The entire games landscape changed with mobile smartphones giving a wide audience cheaper, easier access to games. For as uber-profitable as games have become, most people in general demographics just don’t really play what we consider “traditional AAA” games because the upfront hardware cost is pretty big, and they don’t easily fit into the lifestyles of people who aren’t enthusiasts.


These are the things that I’m hoping and praying are journalist’s first questions when they see this. I’m a bit worried that the “cloud gaming” technical side of things is going to obfuscate every other conversation, esp. the ones regarding data and how they plan on relating Stadia to the hellfire that is Youtube’s Gaming Community.


Having participated in Project Steam with Odyssey, this is intriguing, but leads me to wonder if I started a game on Stadia, could I export my save if I wanted to transfer to a traditional experice on PC.

That said, if they had a partnership with Nintendo that incorporated their current/back catalog, I’d probably jump in. In fact, it would be cool if Stadia just turned out to be a Netflix equivalent for previous gen console titles. There should definitely be a better way to revisit older games.


Some real pipe dream talk coming out of Google at this announcement, especially when taken alongside some of the latency numbers that people are reporting from the event.

Pessimism is warranted, tbh. The streaming future is a 100% capitalism wet dream; they get access to a mass market while also simultaneously gaining absolute ownership of the product. It would be fine if things were being presented as “hey this is for OTHER people who can just stream things if they want,” but that doesn’t seem like that’s how this is being positioned, nor does it seem like (again, wrt the capitalism wet dream) how it would actually turn out if the service got big?

That’s all mobile ended up being–a tangential gaming market that provided a separate avenue for some revenue that didn’t really influence the traditional market much (outside of the borrowing of as many shady business practices as humanly possible.) This… doesn’t seem like that? This feels like the hope is that it ends up being a replacement, which imo would absolutely eliminate certain genres/high reaction time games regardless of how good people’s internet magically gets (on top of, again, just being fundamentally bad from a consumer point of view wrt ownership.)

Like, how much am I going to have to pay per month in most countries to have internet that’s fast enough to get a fighting game with both input delay from streaming and input delay from a wireless controller to feel as good as just using a PS4, or even a Switch these days? Am I saving money at that point?


The only thing that goes through my mind is if I really should be excited about Google becoming even more ubiqutous than it already is. For me personally the answer is “no” and I’m also not very keen on what this might mean for small-scale developers if it ever catches on.


I don’t understand who this is for really.

It’s affordable? Consoles are expensive but so is really good internet. I’m fine with paying for a console and having budget internet.

It has all the biggest games? Well, first off I don’t like those games, but secondly if you’re drawn to the most graphically intensive games do you really want to play them with tons of lag on your PC or on a phone?

This seems to just give more power to the AAA companies. Developing for this as a modest team would be a total nightmare.

Also culturally, this seems like it could have games reach a wider audience, but all they’re going to see are these big name games, which will probably just end up reaffirming their thoughts on what games are. This seems like if the barrier to entry for movies was high and then Netflix launched with nothing but Michael Bay and Zack Snyder movies.

EDIT: Pokemon Stadia would slap tho


I’m definitely confused as to why they didn’t really talk about the business model of it. Are they selling games or is it a subscription or is it both?

If it’s a subscription, are devs paid per play like a Spotify or in some kind of overarching content deal like Netflix? Will they inordinately screw over indie creators like those services have been known to also?

I saw someone on twitter float that similar prospective services are planning to pay devs per hours played, which if accurate would fuck over indie devs in particular massively.


It’s amazing how far off game streaming is from being a viable mass-market thing. Like, I’m as worried as the next person about the implications as a tool of capitalism, but even with strides in video encoding efficiency, we’re still far afield from even 720p60 streaming being viable for a quarter as many people as buying a console is viable for. The trends of awful internet plaguing the US are caused by the exact same system that wants to exploit the control that this mechanism provides. Even by the standards of capitalism, this is self-contradicting.

Google isn’t going to wave their tech solutionist wand and make all the systemic problems plaguing internet services magic away, nor make bitrate requirements halve themselves. We’ll get maybe a handful of exclusives for this thing, maybe from CDPR, almost certainly from Crytek, and perhaps some other weird european devs that make nonsense choices off the rebound of PC elitist pandering becoming unsustainable. Even if they do some wild physics or rendering fuckery only possible on this platform, though, it just won’t stay economically viable.

On top of that… y’all know how fuckin unstable streaming can just be, even with everything technically in order? or how many people who buy the convenience boxes are alienated by constant random technical difficulties? If the whole pitch for this is “more convenient gaming”, that pitch will fall apart or just be patently untrue for most people under the weight of janky connection issues.

It’s already been brought up here, but just like every other streaming service since OnLive, the best you can say is “Neat… but who is this service for?”. I’m pretty sure the answer is still like, kids who have parents paying for hefty internet but won’t get them a fancy computer? or people who just wanna dip their toe in looking at stuff running on highest settings? There’s no potential for a stable user base making back the constant investment of absurd server costs.

also seriously that controller straight-up looks like a shady knockoff bluetooth controller. The awkward patent-dodging shape mixed with gaudy colouring on the base of the sticks makes this look like something i use to play retroarch on my phone with random disconnects and weird input issues.


The tech industry depends on these kinds of wildly unsustainable, technically unfeasible “innovative solutions” to drive investment, the only thing actually keeping them afloat. If Google was just a rentseeker looking to sit atop its hoard of money and data, none of this would have happened. Silicon Valley needs the next big thing, the next leap forward to justify the billions of dollars pumped into it by the financial markets because housing and wealth management collapsed in 2008.

Anyone reporting on this without a hefty dose of scepticism about the sheer technical, class, and infrastructural hurdles facing this solution without a problem is doing so irresponsibly.


The question of how much impact these streaming pushes will have on the games industry is up in the air (people still buy physical media for movies and TV despite the availability of digital and streaming options), but to the question of “what’s the point of this / what market does this serve”, I’d point to PS Now which, by Sony’s financial reports, made $143 million in a recent fiscal quarter.

That isn’t Fortnite money, but it’s more than any of their big ticket first-party AAA games typically make by themselves. Even despite the latency issues, the lack of usability in most areas of the US, and the surprisingly high cost of a monthly PS Now subscription, there is a sizeable amount of people who pay for that streaming service.