Stadia Isn't Starting Off Well, Even Judging By Player Counts On Free Games

from the stadi-uhhhhhhh dept

Since the day of Google's launch of Stadia, its video game streaming platform that was supposed to be the end of home consoles, the platform arrived to reactions that ranged from "meh" to laughter at how terribly the launch was going. Between that reception and the public backlash from the platform not living up to its promises, a whole lot of folks have cast very narrow eyes at Google's platform as a whole.

Some of the non-direct metrics when it comes to Stadia aren't any better. ArsTechnica took a look at the Stadia version of Thumper and its player adoption rate and it isn't good.

Thumper, along with Rise of the Tomb Raider, was a free Stadia Pro title for the month of January, meaning everyone who paid $129 for the service's "Founder's Edition" and "Premiere Edition" bundles has access to it (those bundles, which are the only current way to access Stadia, include three months of Stadia Pro service). As of this morning, though, only 5,515 people have registered a score on the leaderboards for the first stage of the Stadia version of the game, which separates such leaderboards by platform. That number was at 4,563 on January 15, when Ars conducted a spot check.

Now, there are a bucket full of caveats in all of this. That count only considers anyone who officially scored in the game, which requires completing the first level. That takes 15 minutes or so, but it's likely there are some percentage of players who have begun to play the game and have yet to complete the first level. There are also certainly some Stadia users who have signed up for the service and therefore received the free version of Thumper but haven't used Stadia at all. And, finally, Stadia is somewhat late to the game, meaning that some of its customer base may have already enjoyed Thumper on a different platform.

Cool. Now that we've got all of those caveats aside, the numbers are still bad. The Ars post mentions that comparing playership between Stadia and other platforms isn't entirely fair due to Stadia being so new, before adding counter-caveats of its own.

Then again, it's important to remember that all those players on non-Stadia platforms had to actually pay up to $20 to buy the game before playing it. Thumper has only attracted a few thousand Stadia players despite being completely free for everyone currently using the service since the beginning of January.

Caveats aside, the low player numbers for Thumper on Stadia aren't a good sign for a service that attracted widespread criticism in multiple launch-day reviews and is receiving growing impatience from many early adopters hoping for a larger game library. If a game that Google is literally giving away is only attracting a few thousand players on Stadia, we have to wonder how many sales publishers are seeing for full-cost streaming titles that can run up to $60.

In some ways, this is very Google. Find a cool idea for a service, throw a ton of development at it, and then roll it out before its ready for prime time. The company then relies on its massive reach to either improve the service to the point where it is more stable, or simply lets it die (remember Google Plus?).

Bottom line, there is no indication at this time that Stadia is a complete product. And plenty of evidence suggesting the opposite.

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Filed Under: stadia, streaming games, video games
Companies: google


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Feb 2020 @ 3:59pm

    I know my solutions are not everyone's.

    Years ago I decided I wasn't getting my money's worth out of paying for cable shows. I dropped out and today could careless what they charge, I'm not going back, ever.

    I've been away long enough to find other things to do. I no longer have any sort of connection to programs shown on tv. I have no desire to watch ads, encouraging me to go buy something I don't want. If I need something I know how to find it, where it's sold at, and at what price. No ads are needed to find that info.

    On the whole tv has turned into a wasteland I no longer find interest in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Feb 2020 @ 4:00pm

      Re:

      How odd, went to reply on the dropping of cable programs by small independent ISPs and wound up here when I posted.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 4 Feb 2020 @ 5:44am

        Re: Re:

        That dividing line with the comment link goes to the story ABOVE, not to the story below even though there's no dividing line separating the link from the headline. It's how this site is laid out and might confuse people new to the site. The idea is that you read the story to the end, then clink the link at the end. Many stories are longer than the screen height, so it would be silly to have to scroll back to the start of the article to clink a comment link, so the comment link is always after the article.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Feb 2020 @ 7:20pm

    Won't attract a large audience for now

    Stadia won't attract a large audience for a few years at least. People who have invested in their current consoles won't want to jump ship yet. Neither will those already heavily invested in a service like Steam.

    Gamers tend to be very vocal about owning what they buy. Consider the anti-DRM stance of PC gamers, or the outcry at claims Microsoft would prevent reselling used game discs. Streaming is not owning and many gamers will find this abhorrent.

    Lastly, Stadia also sets the bar higher. A traditional console requires electricity and money. Stadia requires elecricity, money and a decent, stable Internet connection. Even in first world countries, a decent, stable Internet connection can be hard to come by, particularly if you live outside of major cities. (And sometimes even in those cities, unless you're in the CBD, you're screwed.) People talk about Silicon Valley myopia and it kind of feels like that's what happened here. Google / Silicon Valley may have amazing connections that let them stream at 4K without a hiccup, but this does not mean the rest of the world is the same.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Feb 2020 @ 9:08pm

      Re: Won't attract a large audience for now

      Google / Silicon Valley may have amazing connections that let them stream at 4K without a hiccup

      No, Silicon Valley's always had famously bad internet connections, especially in relation to the amount of tech-hype in the area. Google has amazing connections; many of their employees do not.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Jajo (profile), 4 Feb 2020 @ 12:44am

      Re: Won't attract a large audience for now

      At these prices I don't see Stadia ever being a wide success. With more than $500 per year it doesn't even beat custom PCs, let alone consoles, which are just as easy to use.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2020 @ 1:19am

        Re: Re: Won't attract a large audience for now

        Wait, what's $500 a year?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Jajo (profile), 4 Feb 2020 @ 3:40am

          Re: Re: Re: Won't attract a large audience for now

          Oh, my very bad.
          I just saw $129 and 3 months and extrapolated that, but the real price seems to be 10 bucks/month.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 2:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Won't attract a large audience for now

            "I just saw $129 and 3 months and extrapolated that, but the real price seems to be 10 bucks/month."

            That's just the subscription fee. You need to add the individual game prices (which appear to be almost full retail).

            That 129 USD is apparently a package bundle meant to provide the illusion that you're actually buying a massive amount of great games and get to play them in high-rez for a quarter of a year.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 2:18am

      Re: Won't attract a large audience for now

      ^This.

      Stadia - thin client streaming - has been the white elephant for game developers for decades. It's never worked. And by the time we have the infrastructure supporting that development we'll be living in a sci-fi projection with an unhealthy dash of dystopia.

      I don't see bandwidth coverage out-expanding current bandwidth needs nor the gamer community abandoning their stance on ownership and DRM any time soon.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Feb 2020 @ 8:28pm

    or simply lets it die (remember Google Plus?).

    If only they had simply let it die, rather than forcing total Google services integration with Plus. (And ruining search operators, to boot.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jajo (profile), 4 Feb 2020 @ 12:39am

    Typical

    And how many months of Pro service were You given for this reverse psychology shilling piece?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 4 Feb 2020 @ 12:50am

    I never thought this would be a massive hit out of the gate, and the timing is probably its biggest killer. Other upcoming services allow a more established infrastructure and a more sensible way of you getting the games. Personally, I might have been in the market but with XBox's streaming platform tying into Game Pass - thus giving me a bunch of games I already pay for, there's no reason for me to switch before that goes public.

    But, I also can't help but think the game choices could have been better. Even for free, a 5 year old game that's already had another sequel and a 4 year old rhythm game aren't exactly going to excite the type of person who would stump up a premium to try out new tech. They'll either already have completed the game or would prefer to play something a little less obvious. People who buy into the system in the future for less money might be less choosy, but for the most part I'd guess lots of people just didn't bother with the games - not the system necessarily, but those specific titles.

    It's early days and it's a long way from proving anything regarding streaming as a whole, but this does seem to be the victim of bad timing and not necessarily giving people what they want from such a system.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      crade (profile), 4 Feb 2020 @ 10:46am

      Re:

      I would think the biggest killer is massive bandwidth requirements coupled with hard limits on responsiveness

      I've heard a lot about trying to overcome the problems with it but I haven't heard boo about what the benefits of streaming video games are as opposed to installing

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 1:37am

        Re: Re:

        "I would think the biggest killer is massive bandwidth requirements coupled with hard limits on responsiveness"

        It honestly depends on what you're expecting and what you want from the system. You're frankly deluded if you expect these systems to have twitch FPS capabilities at full frame, but that's not what Google have been claiming either. There's no reason why you can't have a decent game experience so long as you have reasonable expectations.

        "I haven't heard boo about what the benefits of streaming video games are as opposed to installing"

        Little to no extra hardware required, much easier to be portable than a full PC or games console yet lighter than a Switch or similar, no need to regularly upgrade the hardware since the processing is largely not on the client end, no need to wait for an 80-100Gb download and its inevitable updates. In the future it should be possible to stream games native to other platforms to the one you happen to own.

        It depends on your personal requirements and what you want out of gaming, but it's certainly not true that there's no advantage.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 3:16am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "It honestly depends on what you're expecting and what you want from the system. You're frankly deluded if you expect these systems to have twitch FPS capabilities at full frame, but that's not what Google have been claiming either. There's no reason why you can't have a decent game experience so long as you have reasonable expectations."

          Hrm. That "reasonable expectations" begs clarification. Reasonable to whom?

          Thin clients were given up as a bad job twenty years ago and - which needs repeating - the bottlenecks rendering the concept less optimal have never been solved. At the point where game streaming is viable you're still looking at contemporary distributed solutions being cheaper, easier to implement, and being more robust.

          "Little to no extra hardware required, much easier to be portable than a full PC or games console yet lighter than a Switch or similar, no need to regularly upgrade the hardware since the processing is largely not on the client end, no need to wait for an 80-100Gb download and its inevitable updates. In the future it should be possible to stream games native to other platforms to the one you happen to own."

          That's...either not very well thought out or relies on a lot of assumptions which contemporary tech and infrastructure can't back in vivo.

          With the current hardware in a mid-range smartphone beating a lot of consoles out of the race there just isn't any need to offload the processing to a server park. At the point where the enthusiast upgrades his GPU to accommodate a new game he's looking at resolution and load game streaming can't even come close to. Pot odds are, the games on the streaming service will run at 60+ FPS at max resolution on his clunky old spare parts rig, an older model business laptop, or his tablet.

          Secondly, most AA titles aren't THAT big, but even so, you still need to download those full 80-100 GB you refer to, multiple times over - just that it's in the form of the persistent 4K stream while gaming. Normally the "engine" in a game is about 5-10% of the code base, with the vast majority being the graphics. Streaming the game means you keep downloading all that data again and again and again rather than simply having it stored on your PC or tablet ONCE. You save a lot of compression by having the stream be that of an interactive youtube vid rather than a GPU/CPU-driven rendering, but certainly not enough to make up for even a week's worth of playing in even 2K res.

          Thirdly, about the future of streaming games of "other platforms" - I can only say that's more than just a bit naíve given that we've been sitting in the middle of multiple platform wars forever. Spotify, iTunes, Netflix, Steam, Origin...every developer has held their respective catalogue on their own exclusive platform with a white-knuckled death grip. The market has demanded a one-stop-shop for the recorded history of the consumer internet. It's that one mythical animal which would have ended software/music/movie piracy while allowing the stakeholders to make money hand over fist.

          And yet it's never worked. The very second someone opens a service like what you envision the incumbent industry closes ranks and has it shut down or rendered unpalatable. You actually believe that the gaming industry where the major players are EA, Activision, Capcom and, good grief...Sony...will end up for once not acting in sheer outraged full-blown douchebaggery - you know, the way they have so far?

          I used to be that sort of optimist, reckoning that if there was a big market and vast amounts of money to be made surely a successful company would see the light and follow the profits. Many who followed the early developments did, over the years.
          And it was those developments which made me coin the term "the copyright cult". You are relying on the enlightened self-interest of corporations which have shown themselves multiple times to be far more into the "iron fist" side of things. My take on it is that the sum of their investment consists of launching a number of AA titles on "streaming only" in an attempt to create a lock-in effect as they've done for consoles in times past.

          The only advantage to be found in game streaming remains this one; It offers the platform/developers full control over who gets to play. And that's not an advantage for the consumer.
          It is for the copyright cult, however, which is why they keep hyping it and sink so very much money into developing it.

          At the end of which, for the reasons given above - because physical reality is still a thing - game streaming still won't work anywhere near as well as simply downloading the game, installing it on the ever cheaper hardware, and running a minimal online profile.

          Installing still beats streaming, and always will unless we find ourselves a complete paradigm shift in network capacity and reliability.

          And it remains that way until the bar on "reasonable expectations" for game streaming has been lowered to the point where you'd still get a better experience on a five year old hand-me-down device.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 4:13am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Hrm. That "reasonable expectations" begs clarification. Reasonable to whom?"

            To anyone who understands what the system is and what it's realistic limitations are going to be. No, you're not going to be able to play CoD at the same resolution and reactive speed as a PS4 or high spec PC... but only someone being very stupid or deliberately obtuse would think that's what it's for. This line of thinking is like buying a smart car and complaining that it's not as good as a Honda. Well.. duh, it's not meant to be, but some people will be happy with that as a form of transportation.

            "At the point where game streaming is viable"

            I've heard very good feedback so far from the XBox streaming beta. What have you heard that invalidates the people using it?

            "With the current hardware in a mid-range smartphone beating a lot of consoles out of the race there just isn't any need to offload the processing to a server park"

            But, you're generally not going to be downloading and playing the full PC version to your phone.

            "Secondly, most AA titles aren't THAT big"

            The last couple I played are.

            "you still need to download those full 80-100 GB you refer to, multiple times over"

            ...and if I don't have a data cap, why should I care?

            "Thirdly, about the future of streaming games of "other platforms" - I can only say that's more than just a bit naíve"

            XBox Game Pass already allows access to PC games, and crossplay used to be a pipe dream until Sony got their ass kicked and were forced to join in. Also, most of these companies are moving more toward selling services than they are consoles, which have always been something of a loss leader hardware wise. If people don't fancy shelling out lots of money every couple of years to buy your hardware, why not sell them the access to your games without it?

            "every developer has held their respective catalogue on their own exclusive platform with a white-knuckled death grip."

            Most of those have been as much to do with the demands of their suppliers than the platforms themselves, at least those not outright owned by a supplier known to force exclusivity. Also, it would do you well not to refer to developer and publisher as the same thing, because they're really not.

            "Installing still beats streaming, and always will..."

            ...for certain use cases and depending on the requirements and the availability of options to the individual consumer. Another choice isn't so bad, and some people will happily take a hit in performance for the benefits. You're also making the mistake of thinking that people have to pick one or the other - some iterations of streaming allow you to do both.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 8:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Let's package my rebuttals to these, i think, to get the tech bits out of the way first;

              "To anyone who understands what the system is and what it's realistic limitations are going to be..."

              Meaning a decisive minority of people. In my expectation - and do correct me if you feel differently - the people who understand realistic limitations of the tech involved will more often than not be people who stand a good chance of already owning high-spec hardware.
              In short, given your original assertion, we are looking at the people able to determine what game streaming can offer also not really having much motive. The rest of the presumptive client pool will be the ones falling for whatever hyped marketing is out there.

              "But, you're generally not going to be downloading and playing the full PC version to your phone."

              No, but let's be somewhat serious. Name me one PC game with a GUI you could actually put on a phone screen and expect it to work without spending a lot of effort on it. Even elder scrolls online, despite a ported variant, plays like an entirely different game when you alter the relevant command variables. I'm not sure you can expect anyone to learn one version, then learn to play the game again differently when you already have flame wars with lines in sand drawn between console gamers and PC gamers about the importance of the mouse.

              "...and if I don't have a data cap, why should I care?"

              If you've got no data cap on your mobile connection then that probably means you are on a very high-end phone subscription. But at least if you want to raise portability as an advantage you should admit that you're talking about a potential client of a wealth class who can afford a certain waste of money.
              If you've got no data cap on your at-home connection it'll be possible not to care, yes.

              So to summarize from the tech view there are no advantages to be gained unless you are sufficiently wealthy to afford paying for the portability.
              And if your portability was in order to bring a full-screen console or PC game out with you pot odds are the conversion won't be satisfactory as compared to those big smartphone titles which already exist. It's a very niche market.

              I think if game streaming is to exist for long enough to be developed and supported you need a fairly big proportion of customers to prop it up. Sure, the copyright cult wants this badly so it'll get decent support, but at the end of the day it'll eventually fail if the market isn't big enough.

              And that pie is already sliced in too many pieces as it is. Even the guys running the switch admit that today they're competing for time, because there's just too much entertainment choice occupying the spare time of each customer.

              For a new form of entertainment to succeed it has to offer more than just a choice. It has to offer massive competitive advantage. Game streaming does not do this.

              OK, so now let's deal with the...hmm...social aspects;

              "I've heard very good feedback so far from the XBox streaming beta. What have you heard that invalidates the people using it?"

              The same issue as above - you've already got a smartphone or tablet capable of installing and running high-res major titles natively. Why spend the extra cash for a game streaming subscription, a tack-on bluetooth controller, AND an unlimited phone data cap? It's -again - a niche market.
              Also that it has the same issue as streaming TV - but in spades. Licensing issues around games make those around shows and movies look decidedly softcore. Attempts like crossplay have shown that if you put a gun to sony's head they'll play ball. But only then.

              "XBox Game Pass already allows access to PC games, and crossplay used to be a pipe dream until Sony got their ass kicked and were forced to join in. Also, most of these companies are moving more toward selling services than they are consoles"

              The xbox game pass is literally only usable because microsoft built windows 10 to play nice with the xbox. If you want to pull that into the debate, sure...but then we are discussing something completely beyond game streaming. And still, even microsoft doesn't believe they'll jettison the console, despite it being effectively redundant as far as their client base is concerned by now. I think most of the console makers would love to abolish the hardware side, but it simply isn't happening.

              "Most of those have been as much to do with the demands of their suppliers than the platforms themselves, at least those not outright owned by a supplier known to force exclusivity. Also, it would do you well not to refer to developer and publisher as the same thing, because they're really not."

              Sorry, but that is, more often than not, the equivalent of saying "Sony isn't the RIAA". It's accurate but in practice the terms are almost interchangeable. Given the licensing nightmare of copyright and patents involved in console game development it's rare that a developer has much choice other than abide by whatever the console OEM tells them.
              It's like saying that EA game developers don't haveto put Denuvo in their games.

              In this the best of all possible worlds, my dear Tartúffe, it is indeed within the bounds of imagination that for once you'd manage to get the publishers not to hold developers at ransom...
              ...but I wouldn't hold my breath. I'll give you that microsoft has managed to raise the bar, but Sony and Nintendo still makes Mussolini look like a liberal lite.

              "...for certain use cases and depending on the requirements and the availability of options to the individual consumer. Another choice isn't so bad, and some people will happily take a hit in performance for the benefits." (re: installing beats streaming and always will)."*

              But that's just the point. The requirements and availability of options for the potential customer group (see above as per reasoning) means there is no motive other than curiosity and a possible allergy to hard drives to make that selection. It's fine if someone wants to push that on to the market, but it's not exactly straightforward to present it on equal terms as the other available options. It's like saying that you've got a choice of cars - a Lamborghini, a volvo stationwagon, a GM SUV, and an electric golf cart.

              Sure, the golf cart exists as an option but it will only cater to a very small crowd with very specific requirements.

              "You're also making the mistake of thinking that people have to pick one or the other - some iterations of streaming allow you to do both."

              I think that'll be a case of already-installed PC/Console games with cloud-based savegame solutions enabling game streaming when you're on vacation/away from home. THAT is an add-on I'd call somewhat viable, but still nothing I'd say is likely to keep the cost of the server farm afloat. For anyone else it still means picking the electric golf cart as the family car. Which may be right, but the amount of cases it'll be right in is pretty small.

              My main concern about game streaming is still that what we are looking at is just one more attempt by big media to reestablish full control over what they've already sold once. I think it'll fail, for reasons outlined above. If people want to try it out that's entirely up to them.

              I'm just saying that before anyone buys the hype they should realize that there is plenty of money and effort invested in this particular attempt to pick people's pockets with a silver tongue. Caveat Emptor as it were.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 8:33am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Meaning a decisive minority of people"

                Who says it's aimed at a majority in its current form?

                "people who stand a good chance of already owning high-spec hardware"

                Fortunately, nothing about this concept forces you to trade in all that hardware!

                "For a new form of entertainment to succeed it has to offer more than just a choice. It has to offer massive competitive advantage. Game streaming does not do this."

                Then why is every major provider, along with some new ones, investing so heavily in it?

                "Why spend the extra cash for a game streaming subscription, a tack-on bluetooth controller, AND an unlimited phone data cap? It's -again - a niche market."

                Because (in terms of the xCloud stuff): a) I already pay for the subscription, b) I already own the controller and c) I'm expecting to use it over non-phone connections where there is no data cap.

                Your situation and needs might be different, in which case maybe it's not for you. But, that doesn't invalidate the entire concept.

                "I'll give you that microsoft has managed to raise the bar, but Sony and Nintendo still makes Mussolini look like a liberal lite."

                Yet, in the lead up to next gen, Sony have been forced to allow some crossplay while Nintendo are openly collaborating with Microsoft on some services.

                "Sure, the golf cart exists as an option but it will only cater to a very small crowd with very specific requirements."

                Yes, so why are you complaining about their existence?

                "My main concern about game streaming is still that what we are looking at is just one more attempt by big media to reestablish full control over what they've already sold once"

                You're concerned that the industry that has forced platform exclusivity on to multiple generations and already make a lions share of their software sales through heavily enforced silos are going to be gaining more control by adding another method to play games that removes the hardware purchase from the equation?

                We'll see how it plays out, but unless you're a PC-only gamer those concerns are largely moot from what I see.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Feb 2020 @ 4:30am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "Then why is every major provider, along with some new ones, investing so heavily in it?"

                  You mean as in why would Sony, for one, be screaming "Shut up and take my money!!" when tempted by a technology which lets them sell games AND retain full control over them without having to peddle the executive hardware as part of the deal?

                  I've said a number of times that the usual suspect line of the copyright cult will be investing as heavily into this tech as they can afford to, until well beyond the finding that it's a loss leader. Which it will be for sony, and, i suspect, nintendo at least. Not so sure about MS since they still have 95% of the PC's in the world as a market lever.

                  "Because (in terms of the xCloud stuff): a) I already pay for the subscription, b) I already own the controller and c) I'm expecting to use it over non-phone connections where there is no data cap."

                  Fair enough.

                  "Yet, in the lead up to next gen, Sony have been forced to allow some crossplay while Nintendo are openly collaborating with Microsoft on some services. "

                  "some". Yes, well...you know, with microsoft having turned from "Burn competitors at the stake!" to "Open Source is great!" I think there's hope for their xbox in this regard. Nintendo have history cooperating with MS, so fine.
                  Sony? I'll believe their cooperation, especially on the cloud, works when I see the pope distributing condoms on the reeperbahn.

                  "Yes, so why are you complaining about their existence?"

                  I'm more opposed to the hype and view that game streaming in general is the Next Big Thing when in reality it is a rather blunt attempt by classical copyright maximalist adherents to finally accomplish the "always online" verification mechanism they've wanted for so long.

                  So by all means, let's consider it an option, but lets be honest with the pros and cons. You mentioned wanting to catch xbox achievements on the go, and that's a fair one.
                  I mentioned performance, reliability, and would in many cases argue price as the con.

                  "You're concerned that the industry that has forced platform exclusivity on to multiple generations and already make a lions share of their software sales through heavily enforced silos are going to be gaining more control by adding another method to play games that removes the hardware purchase from the equation?"

                  Do you believe that, if the golf cart of our analogy were to become the new standard, the industry will seek to retain both options or try to phase out the less cost-effective one completely?

                  Microsoft is aware that they need to retain the hardware - and the high standards. They've been on an enlightenment roll ever since Gates jumped ship so I'll credit them with having cause for that assumption. Sony? EA? The only thing predictable about them is they'll try to screw the customer out of every dime they can reach, no matter how that makes them look.

                  Frankly speaking, MS will come to learn that accepting Sony in a joint venture wasn't smart. Ever since the rootkit there has only ever been one result of letting Sony into your PC.

                  "We'll see how it plays out, but unless you're a PC-only gamer those concerns are largely moot from what I see."

                  PC gamers are the 2:1 majority against console gamers, from what statistics I've come across, so the people for whom it is not a good thing if the gaming market is incentivized to drop quality down a deep well and abolish hardware support is not exactly a minority.

                  You want a golf cart sitting next to your car. That's fair.
                  Just be aware that having sold you that golf cart the company in question will be VERY tempted to stop selling the high-performance, low-margin car.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 6 Feb 2020 @ 5:35am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "You mean as in why would Sony, for one, be screaming "Shut up and take my money!!"

                    I mean that just because you don't personally see the need for something, that doesn't mean the rest of the market does not. The only way Sony will succeed at investing in streaming is if it does turn out to be successful. History is littered with the corpses of consoles where something consumers really didn't want was forced upon them.

                    So, if you're so convinced it will be a failure shouldn't you be supporting Sony throwing their money away rather investing in further capturing the market in ways that will work?

                    "Sony? I'll believe their cooperation, especially on the cloud, works when I see the pope distributing condoms on the reeperbahn."

                    Yes, they have a very poor track record. But, then again, if the future is collaboration and everyone is doing that but Sony, then Sony will be the ones losing marketshare. That's good, right?

                    "in reality it is a rather blunt attempt by classical copyright maximalist adherents to finally accomplish the "always online" verification mechanism they've wanted for so long."

                    But, it's already moving that way without streaming. All the major providers are moving heavily toward digital distribution over physical, even if you buy physical you still have to download multi gig updates to keep the game playable and all of them are moving toward only services where you outright rent rather than buy.

                    If you're obsessing over streaming as being the road to that end, you're missing all the others that also lead there.

                    "Microsoft is aware that they need to retain the hardware - and the high standards"

                    Expressly because they've been burned by the backlash to bad decisions they've made. If streaming is such a thing, they will make other decisions but bear in mind that they already sell XBox models without a disc drive. Why would they not also offer a cheaper model without the ability to play locally at all, if they think the market wants it?

                    "PC gamers are the 2:1 majority against console gamers, from what statistics I've come across"

                    That depends heavily on location and depends on what you choose to include as "gaming". The best selling games of all time were console only at the time of their release.

                    "You want a golf cart sitting next to your car. That's fair."

                    Happens to me all the time at one of my local car parks. The problem is...?

                    "Just be aware that having sold you that golf cart the company in question will be VERY tempted to stop selling the high-performance, low-margin car."

                    ...and not being in the market for a golf cart myself, I'll go to the next manufacturer who offers me what I'm after. Unless the entire market is so filled with consumers that buy golf carts that nobody bothers to make other cars any more, I will have that choice.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2020 @ 4:14am

    Good Will Gone

    I think that a lot of this is Google's own doing. The user base for Stadia is going to be fairly tech savvy. If there is one group of people that is weary of Google's commitment to a product it is definitely going to be gamers. I remember when Stadia was announced that I was super excited and then after that initial buzz went away I remembered all the products that I had grown to rely on from Google that were killed and I came to my senses.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2020 @ 4:48am

    Since the day of Google's launch of Stadia, its video game streaming platform that was supposed to be the end of home consoles, the platform arrived to reactions that ranged from "meh" to laughter at how terribly the launch was going.

    Since even before that, actually. Most savvy gamers took one look at it at the time it was first announced and said, "this is going to be total crap because latency, because unreliable internet connections, and because you won't own the games." And we were right!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 4 Feb 2020 @ 10:47am

    Like shooting your own horse before the race

    Between requiring a subscription and demanding that you pay full price for the games and setting the system up such that that payment only allows you access to those games and requiring a strong, stable internet connection that isn't capped in order to get the promised advantages and a downright pathetic launch lineup, Google would have really had to try to fumble Stadia's launch worse or make it less tempting.

    A game streaming service might be viable at some point in the future(in a country with good internet service), but Google's try was an abysmal take on it and all but ensured it would be DOA, such that the only question at this point it whether they'll spend the time and money to try to get it to a decent state or just chalk it up as a failure and drop it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      crade (profile), 4 Feb 2020 @ 10:53am

      Re: Like shooting your own horse before the race

      You forgot to mention the big up front investment to "buy" the hardware that is an expensive paperweight if the service doesn't do it for you

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 2:16am

        Re: Re: Like shooting your own horse before the race

        "You forgot to mention the big up front investment to "buy" the hardware that is an expensive paperweight if the service doesn't do it for you"

        Big up front investment? Really? $129 (not generally necessary unless you opt for that particular package or wanted early access) whose main component is a Chromecast that can be used for non-gaming services is excessive for you? Wait till you find out what Sony will be asking people to pay for the PS5 hardware...

        That seems to be the biggest problem here - there's so much FUD and crap about what the service actually is.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          crade (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 7:37am

          Re: Re: Re: Like shooting your own horse before the race

          When I looked into it, the non refundable 129$ wasn't optional.. I suppose that has changed now or will change? I couldn't even get a straight answer on that question from Google's store. It just seems to say "at launch" it is required, like they are implying this may change at some point but don't want to actually say so.

          They seem to have an awful lot of limitations at launch and no clarification as to when these will improve

          If FUD is an issue, tell Google to explain everything on their store page and clear it all up for us. There seem to be a lot of questions without straight answers from Google.

          How much internet bandwidth does this thing burn through in an hour of play?
          Can I use my existing controller for Player 2?
          If not, will I be able to in the future?
          Will there ever be cross platform play in general will this be case by case when specifically added by developers?
          What happens to our purchases if you decide to shut Stadia down for some reason?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 8:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Like shooting your own horse before the race

            "When I looked into it, the non refundable 129$ wasn't optional."

            Well, that pack was the "Founders Pack", which was what Google limited it to for their first release (you need the access code that comes with that hardware at the moment). It's also available on phones and PCs - from their site:

            "3 At launch, Stadia supports Chrome OS tablets including Pixel Slate, Acer Chromebook Tab 10 and HP Chromebook X2. At launch Stadia supports Pixel 2, Pixel 3, Pixel 3a and Pixel 4 family phones.:

            Either way, the $129 pack including a Chromecast Ultra, game controller and various memberships is hardly a massive investment even if you don't end up using the Chromecast for anything else.

            "If FUD is an issue, tell Google to explain everything on their store page and clear it all up for us"

            Well, it was clear to me but maybe Google could do better at these things, I won't argue with that.

            "How much internet bandwidth does this thing burn through in an hour of play?"

            https://support.google.com/stadia/answer/9607891?hl=en&ref_topic=9600480

            "Can I use my existing controller for Player 2?"

            https://support.google.com/stadia/answer/9578631?hl=en&ref_topic=9495415

            "Will there ever be cross platform play in general will this be case by case when specifically added by developers?"

            https://support.google.com/stadia/answer/9338946?hl=en

            Are you going to have cross-platform play?
            We're committed to developing an accessible and welcoming environment for all gamers and plan on working with top-tier devs, which include those who want to enable cross-platform play.

            "What happens to our purchases if you decide to shut Stadia down for some reason?"

            Presumably the same as happens if you stop paying for your subscription. Therein lies possibly the biggest mistake Google are making here compared to Microsoft.

            I'm not totally confident that Google are doing the right things here, but for people to announce this means streaming as a concept isn't going to work is just silly.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              crade (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 9:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Like shooting your own horse before the race

              Fair enough.. It looks like the launch limitations are basically "tv version" limitations and will remain for the TV version. The browser version makes a lot more sense to me although I'm still not the target market for sure.

              Yikes I didn't realize that all your purchases are only good while you keep paying them every month. It's a bit of a strange combination paying full price for a game that also requires a subscription to play. A hard sell for the premium titles I think assuming people know what they are paying for.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Feb 2020 @ 12:31pm

      Google would have really had to try to fumble Stadia's launch worse or make it less tempting.

      They could have revived Google Plus and forced integration with Stadia. Would that have done the trick? 😆

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2020 @ 11:32am

    Here's the problem.

    Tech savy gamers are going to have their savory fast internet connected to a ass banging machine that could mine bitcoins if not for the fact it was playing games with all of it's might.

    You have good internet because you have good hardware for that good internet to play games as best as possible.

    Who the hell has the internet connection to support stadia, tech savy enough to understand it, but yet playing on a chrome book or a hand me down dell machine they found in a dumpster?

    I'm sure these mutants exist, but I doubt they exist in any appreciable number since good internet is difficult enough to come by and ain't cheap in the US when it is available.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 4:24am

      Re:

      "Who the hell has the internet connection to support stadia, tech savy enough to understand it, but yet playing on a chrome book or a hand me down dell machine they found in a dumpster?"

      Well, game streaming will be made as easy to understand as netflix, eventually...
      ...but the main issue will be that for most people the resolution and stability they'll get streaming a game on their network will be outmatched by the performance on the hand-me-down dumpster-found dell. Hardware, especially in the budget to mid range, has become quite decent lately.

      "I'm sure these mutants exist, but I doubt they exist in any appreciable number ..."

      I'll expand on that; If you're a poor person you can still build a clunky old mid-range gamer PC on a shoestring budget. Assume you've got that and an internet connection. Stadia still costs subscription fee, game fee, etc etc.
      Meanwhile The Pirate Bay is one click away so essentially whatever your entertainment needs are in the gamer area, consider them met already.

      If you're wealthy enough and invested enough for the enthusiast or pseudo-enthusiast rig then there's no way in hell you'd go for stadia to play games with a resolution you could run as native in a 4" by 3" box in the top right corner of your 4K top-end gaming monitor.

      What we will see, however, is a lockdown attempt the same way we've seen previously, with developers launching triple-A titles only for the console in an attempt to make sure you needed to buy the xbox or PS to play a given game. Didn't work too well, and certainly not helped by the war between console brands fragmenting that market further. We'll see attempts to launch games on the streaming media alone, and the same shit-show will ensue, with Sony, microsoft and Google having their own dedicated platforms and exclusive games.

      To the game distributor branch of the copyright cult game streaming is that holy grail which will once and for all sink piracy, as long as every gamer is forced, by hook or crook, to use that service. The hype will be extensive and the astroturfing plentiful.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 4:38am

        Re: Re:

        "the resolution and stability they'll get streaming a game on their network will be outmatched by the performance on the hand-me-down dumpster-found dell."

        You're ignoring a number of factors:

        • That Dell's not very portable
        • Even if it is, a phone or Chromecast is more so
        • Performance isn't the biggest factor for all gamers, let alone ones in the market for a streaming device
        • Many of these services (including Stadia) are designed to work from existing hardware and not bespoke hardware

        "If you're a poor person you can still build a clunky old mid-range gamer PC on a shoestring budget."

        ...or sign up to a streaming service and use the hardware you already have

        "Meanwhile The Pirate Bay is one click away so essentially whatever your entertainment needs are in the gamer area, consider them met already."

        So, no new service will work because people can pirate?

        "If you're wealthy enough and invested enough for the enthusiast or pseudo-enthusiast rig..."

        ...then you're not in the market for this even if it works perfectly and you're being intellectually dishonest by mentioning them.

        "Didn't work too well, and certainly not helped by the war between console brands fragmenting that market further"\'

        ...which is why cross play became such a big and important thing in the current gen? Update your talking points, they're stale and mouldy.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 5:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "You're ignoring a number of factors:"

          The ones which actually don't apply in any practical or realistic sense?

          Numerous triple-A titles already run flawlessly on budget phones and tablets.
          Performance may not be the biggest factor for most gamers but it IS a deal-breaker if the option to have better such exists.
          And your comment re a phone or chromecast assumes the person in question already HAS a better option available. Or for some reason only has an internet-connected Smart-TV with a chromecast dongle and wants the hardware to play games without ever investing in a PC at all. That's...a pretty niche market you're describing.

          Also...
          "let alone ones in the market for a streaming device"

          That's circular logic. Why would a gamer specifically be in the market for a streaming device? Especially if their existing hardware already works better almost no matter how shoddy or obsolete it is?

          "...or sign up to a streaming service and use the hardware you already have"

          If you HAVE the hardware to begin with it will already work FAR better than streaming in anything but the most odd circumstances. You are, again, talking about a very niche market of people who in this case are still running hardware which was budget tech more than ten years back.

          Today you literally can't buy even an entry-level PC or laptop which doesn't have fairly solid gaming specs. Particularly true for AMD's low-end market but almost as true for intel. You're bringing an argument to the table which applies only to tinker-happy people so strapped for cash they assembled their PC from dumpster parts. For the mobile market it's similar - if you can afford a smartphone at all, it'll run games better than a streaming service, at the same price range (particularly so if you add the data costs).

          "So, no new service will work because people can pirate?"

          No, No new service will work unless it can be similarly convenient to the bay. We only have about thirty years work of empirical observation backing that assertion.
          And even if by some miracle the copyright cult gets their shit together for the first time in a century or more, there are still numerous other hurdles, chief of all that to anyone with any form of functioning PC, tablet or phone, game streaming is redundant.
          Sure, there are people who have functioning modern cars who desperately want to spend the extra money on a vintage model T as well, but not too many.

          "...then you're not in the market for this even if it works perfectly and you're being intellectually dishonest by mentioning them."

          Really now? You didn't read the "if you're poor/if you're wealthy" comparison I specifically wrote to cover both options?
          Or did you just
          decide** to get fucking disingenious and run some false equivalence troll rhetoric on me for the shitz'n'giggles? That was so low for a second there I thought I was debating Tero fucking Pulkinnen and meshpage.

          "...which is why cross play became such a big and important thing in the current gen? Update your talking points, they're stale and mouldy."

          "cross play" assumes a complicated licensing scheme between developer and console OEM's which hasn't worked too well for subscription services. Let me know when you only have to go to Netflix OR HBO to find the same range of shows, hmm?
          We KNOW, facts in hand, that the very second Sony or EA opens their own game streaming half of Stadia's big titles vanish only to reappear on theirs. We've seen this happening before.
          Cross play is pretty restricted with plenty of titles just not going on all consoles or the PC, and in general crossplay titles often being FPS/RTS-focused ones.

          And next time when I talk about oranges, please don't complain that my arguments are invalid because you're holding a mouldy *apple**.

          I seriously don't get it. Normally you're calm, collected, use good references...
          ...but the very second game streaming comes up you put up, as arguments, the sort of haphazard drivel I'd expect to see from that meshpage guy.

          Did you invest your life savings in Stadia? Have an allergic reaction to the concept of a hard drive? I could understand it if PC gaming's no good for you ever since windows '98 put you off that rig for keeps.

          But, for crying out loud, read what you argued in rebuttal. You have actually argued many of those mechanisms yourself on earlier threads. Particularly the one about "no new service working because people can pirate". Yep, they will.

          Which is why there are pretty damn strict conditions for a new service working which we've observed ourselves with spotify and netflix, for a start.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 6:42am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "The ones which actually don't apply in any practical or realistic sense?"

            Except, you've not shown they don't.

            "Numerous triple-A titles already run flawlessly on budget phones and tablets."

            But, not all of them. Why is it a problem to have other methods fill in the gaps?

            "And your comment re a phone or chromecast assumes the person in question already HAS a better option available"

            This just tells me you don't know what Stadia actually it. Those are the devices it runs on, it's not a piece of individual hardware. But, using a phone of Chromecast is cheaper and easier than building a PC rig as you suggest people do.

            "Or for some reason only has an internet-connected Smart-TV with a chromecast dongle and wants the hardware to play games without ever investing in a PC at all"

            Why do you keep bringing up an all or nothing false dichotomy. There are people who might own or use both for various reasons in different use cases.

            "Why would a gamer specifically be in the market for a streaming device?"

            For me personally, I would like to be able to occasionally run Xbox games and pop achievements while I can't be near my XBox. Streaming allows this. Also, I already own the devices that service would run on - stop thinking about this purely in terms of new hardware, you're missing the point of some of its appeal.

            "No new service will work unless it can be similarly convenient to the bay."

            Which is why it will work in the XBox ecosystem I'm thinking of - it will merely add a streaming option to the Game Pass I'm already paying for.

            "You didn't read the "if you're poor/if you're wealthy" comparison I specifically wrote to cover both options?"

            Yes I did, and it doesn't address anything I'm saying and introduces strawmen to boot.

            "Which is why there are pretty damn strict conditions for a new service working which we've observed ourselves with spotify and netflix, for a start."

            ...and if you can't understand the vast market differences that faced those services compared to the gaming services we're discussing, there' no hope for this thread. We're not talking about a plucky startup trying to establish new contracts with publishers... we're talking about established publishers doing things themselves, for the most part.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 8:35am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "But, not all of them. Why is it a problem to have other methods fill in the gaps?"

              Do we - really - need to go into why it's never worked to have umpteen subscription services to fill a gap more appropriately covered by having one convenient place to go? We've got about 30 years worth of online piracy based almost entirely around the fact that the copyright cult was dragging its feet around rather than collaborate. If you want physical goods of any kind you've got about half a dozen one-stop online meta-retailers offering to get you whatever you want...but no one has ever managed to make even a single online store or service where you could get media access.
              That aside, saying it'll fill in the gap isn't quite accurate - MOST pc and console games aren't going to play well on a phone or tablet simply due to the UI issues. Even if you get yourself a separate controller aside.

              "This just tells me you don't know what Stadia actually it. Those are the devices it runs on, it's not a piece of individual hardware. But, using a phone of Chromecast is cheaper and easier than building a PC rig as you suggest people do."

              You forgot the sentence right after that; "Or for some reason only has an internet-connected Smart-TV with a chromecast dongle and wants the hardware to play games without ever investing in a PC at all."

              Oh, wait. You didn't forget it. You just ignored it in your comment then saw fit to include it in your next response
              How about actually reading what i write rather than respond to what you would like me to have written?

              Yes, i know stadia runs on a chromecast. What you are implying is that the market consists entirely of people who own smart-TV's but are loath to get themselves a PC or smartphone.
              I repeat - that's a VERY niche market.

              "Why do you keep bringing up an all or nothing false dichotomy. There are people who might own or use both for various reasons in different use cases."

              In fringe cases there certainly are. The same way you MAY end up owning four different generations of game console, a mac, an old intel, and a modern PC. Generally speaking you won't ever end up using more than one of them. We're back to the electric golf cart again. Some people own one in addition to their car but that's pretty damn rare. Even rarer if the cart is all they have. your choice of transportation is, in the end, up to you.
              Just bear in mind that the market as a whole won't float that golf cart as a viable utility vehicle.

              "For me personally, I would like to be able to occasionally run Xbox games and pop achievements while I can't be near my XBox. Streaming allows this. Also, I already own the devices that service would run on - stop thinking about this purely in terms of new hardware, you're missing the point of some of its appeal."

              Well, no arguments.

              "Which is why it will work in the XBox ecosystem I'm thinking of - it will merely add a streaming option to the Game Pass I'm already paying for."

              Gamepass and Xbox are a bit of a different animal - microsoft already owns the OS most PC's run on so they have an automatic hook in that market.

              "...and if you can't understand the vast market differences that faced those services compared to the gaming services we're discussing, there' no hope for this thread. We're not talking about a plucky startup trying to establish new contracts with publishers... we're talking about established publishers doing things themselves, for the most part."

              Microsoft is a special case and I'd argue that with total ownership of 95% of the PC client base to begin with and xbox integration to the PC already in operation they'll stay unique. I'll grant you that is a different animal.

              Stadia, however, or sony's attempts, are not.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 9:05am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Do we - really - need to go into why it's never worked to have umpteen subscription services to fill a gap more appropriately covered by having one convenient place to go?"

                Not really, but since the majority of the streaming services coming up are additions rather than replacements to existing things that's not the same problem. Also, I dare say that Google offering a streaming service that's largely using existing games is rather better than them trying to launch yet another competing full console into the market while competing on game exclusivity.

                "Yes, i know stadia runs on a chromecast. What you are implying is that the market consists entirely of people who own smart-TV's but are loath to get themselves a PC or smartphone."

                No, I'm implying that you're ignoring most of the argument so you can make stupid assertions like that. Why does smartphone or PC ownership factor into whether you might wish to use streaming on those or other devices? It might mean you opt against it, but not everybody who owns those things is going to automatically be out of the market for streaming.

                "Stadia, however, or sony's attempts, are not."

                ...and I've already addressed the mistakes I think Google are making here. But that's a different argument to the one about streaming as a whole. Like it or not, there are many reasons why people will consider it, especially as it involves way less commitment and outlay than some are implying it needs here.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2020 @ 11:44am

    Streaming?

    No thanks, I prefer to own my games

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2020 @ 1:22am

      Re: Streaming?

      No thanks, I prefer to own my games

      Depending on the EULA, this might not even be possible in the future, especially if copyright law has had a go at savaging the corpse.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 6 Feb 2020 @ 1:41am

        Re: Re: Streaming?

        ...and even if you do "own" your games, the content you get on a physical disc usually needs a large patch to get working properly nowadays, even if you don't need online content to play it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Feb 2020 @ 4:37am

          Re: Re: Re: Streaming?

          "...and even if you do "own" your games, the content you get on a physical disc usually needs a large patch to get working properly nowadays, even if you don't need online content to play it."

          Which is why for some developers the wise choice has been to wait for half a year until all the patches are out, then grab the final-patched DRM-free version from the bay and install that one - whether you bought the original game or not.

          If it weren't because I believe in Hanlon's razor I'd have said that some developers probably launched the game bugged in an attempt to make sure their customers would come back to their websites...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Feb 2020 @ 12:33pm

    I’m sure someone has mentioned this before, but I can name another big reason why Stadia might not be getting off the ground: data caps. And unlike damn near everything else with Stadia, Google can’t control that particular variable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 4 Feb 2020 @ 2:00pm

      Re:

      If memory serves didn't they try(and I use that word very loosely) to brush that concern under the rug by arguing that ISP's would pay attention to user needs and adjust service accordingly?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 4:26am

        Re: Re:

        "If memory serves didn't they try(and I use that word very loosely) to brush that concern under the rug by arguing that ISP's would pay attention to user needs and adjust service accordingly?"

        I hope not. If google actually used that excuse they were flat-out lying or have somehow gone gullible beyond belief...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 9:22pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Quick search on TD for Stadia articles and... they did.

          They're a glorified price hike and the clear result of the lack of competition in broadband. In an interview with Gamespot earlier this year, Google VP Phil Harrison tried to downplay the impact caps would have on the service, insisting the broadband industry has a long history of staying ahead of consumer demand:

          ISPs have a strong history of staying ahead of consumer trends and if you look at the history of data caps in those small number of markets...the trend over time, when music streaming and download became popular, especially in the early days when it was not necessarily legitimate, data caps moved up,” he said. “Then with the evolution of TV and film streaming, data caps moved up, and we expect that will continue to be the case.”

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Feb 2020 @ 4:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Quick search on TD for Stadia articles and... they did."

            Hrm.

            Hanlon's Razor or Grey's Law?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 6 Feb 2020 @ 11:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I'm familiar with Hanzon's razor(never attribute to malice what can best be explained by stupidity), but not getting any useful hits for Grey's Law(no DDG, I do not mean lawfirm or lawncare).

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Feb 2020 @ 6:42am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Grey's Law: "Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice."

                Considered a variant of clarke's third law. You can find it in a subsection under the wikipedia entry for "Clarke's three laws".

                "There is no moral guidance in this Law. What it actually suggests is that when severe incompetence is at work, it will probably spark accusations of malice, in part because few are willing to accept that such extensive damage could result from mere stupidity. It also warns that the two causes [incompetence and malice] are superficially indistinguishable, and that such accusations may be unwarranted, no matter what the scale of damage. "

                • add-on from the "wikidump" section.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  That One Guy (profile), 8 Feb 2020 @ 10:29am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Ah, thanks.

                  In this case I don't think it's either really as it's hard to see any malice involved, rather I suspect it's mostly a case of a clueless exec who hasn't had to deal with the ISP's in years simply assuming that since they've never had a problem that wasn't solved by telling someone else to fix it that means that everyone else would be in a similar situation.

                  Either that or massive denial/dishonesty, unwilling to face that the streaming service is DOA or unwilling to admit that lest it ensure that an already terminally shaky service be swamped with negative publicity.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 2:20am

      Re:

      "I can name another big reason why Stadia might not be getting off the ground: data caps"

      That's one of the biggest criticisms, really. Plenty of us outside the US don;'t have that sort of thing on our connections. At least Microsoft included South Korea and the UK in their beta testing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 4:40am

        Re: Re:

        "That's one of the biggest criticisms, really."

        Plenty of others of the similar or bigger magnitude. Data caps is a show-stopper, but so are many other problems with game streaming.

        One of which I haven't heard much of so far but is pretty much guaranteed is market fragmentation.
        Netflix started out pretty well back in the day, until HBO, Disney and a few others started launching their own streaming services and terminated the netflix license to carry their content. The multiple platform fragmentation drove people to The Bay back in the day and will do the same here. "Sing yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum"

        Secondly, most people who have a PC, tablet or smartphone at all can already conveniently access plenty of games which by and large work better installed locally than game streaming can offer. That being the case there really isn't any incentive for anyone to make the switch. You mentioned portability the last time we discussed this, as I recall, but precisely that is what we already have on numerous triple-A titles running flawlessly on budget phones and tablets already.

        With multiple serious issues and no real incentive, it's gonna be a tough sell to ship game streaming to the public. And that in turn invites the clarification that game streaming only makes sense to invest in if you can rely on a very large user base.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 5 Feb 2020 @ 6:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "One of which I haven't heard much of so far but is pretty much guaranteed is market fragmentation."

          I hear what you're saying, but the videogame market is vastly different in a few fundamental aspects to the movie streaming market. The primary ones are that mainstream consumers are already pretty closely tied to a particular distributor, while outside of Disney & HBO most people didn't use to care too much whose logo was at the start of their movie or TV show. Plus, everybody still has the option to use other methods of accessing their games if they don't care for streaming. This is not an all or nothing scenario, and games are well ahead of that in terms of encouraging people to not pirate as much (especially on consoles) and digital sales.

          "most people who have a PC, tablet or smartphone at all can already conveniently access plenty of games"

          Yes and no. Without streaming my smartphone can't access Gears Of War, for example, but XBox streaming will offer it. That PC doesn't help me much in my work break room or staying away from home. If I don't have a dedicated gaming PC and my partner has to use the main one for work, it's nice to have another device lying around, and so on.

          Streaming is not for the scenarios that are adequately met by something a person already has access to, it's for filling the gaps or adding new options. It's not there to try and replace someone's current gaming rig.

          "With multiple serious issues and no real incentive"

          You keep saying that, while waving away the incentives I keep mentioning. If they're not for you then that's OK, just don't pretend they don't exist for others.

          "game streaming only makes sense to invest in if you can rely on a very large user base."

          ...and Google, Sony, Microsoft, nVidia and Valve are already investing in it. It's not going to replace locally installed games, but there's definitely a market for it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Feb 2020 @ 4:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "If I don't have a dedicated gaming PC and my partner has to use the main one for work, it's nice to have another device lying around, and so on."

            You know that "dedicated gaming PC" today basically means "equipped with a GPU card" these days, right? Even budget laptops can run quite a lot of games on intel/trinity integrated graphics.

            Now for an enthusiast who wants 100+ fps on 4K res with super-sampled AA and every setting on "ultra", the choice may indeed be that of having dual flagship GPU's on top of an intel i9...

            But I've successfully run modern high-spec games on obsolete, cheap, and both obsolete and cheap hardware.
            Many mid-range PC's will blow the console straight out of the water performance-wise. What I keep saying is that in order to have a PC as suited for gaming as a console is there really isn't a need to specifically look for high-end PC's.

            It's a bit like asking a car dealership whether they've got a model suited for the highway. Cue the funny looks.

            "...and Google, Sony, Microsoft, nVidia and Valve are already investing in it. It's not going to replace locally installed games, but there's definitely a market for it."

            If it works at scale, and while it lasts. We'll see.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 6 Feb 2020 @ 5:40am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "You know that "dedicated gaming PC" today basically means "equipped with a GPU card" these days, right?"

              Yes? How does that make any difference to the one PC household I just mentioned?

              "But I've successfully run modern high-spec games on obsolete, cheap, and both obsolete and cheap hardware."

              Good for you. Why do you think the average consumer can be arsed to do that?

              "If it works at scale, and while it lasts. We'll see."

              We will. That's why I'm holding back judgement until we've seen how the overall market operates rather than calling everything a failure based on the first couple of devices from non-gaming companies to have exited beta.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Feb 2020 @ 6:50am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Yes? How does that make any difference to the one PC household I just mentioned?"

                Well, mea maxima culpa...I have an issue thinking of a gamer without a PC (laptop or otherwise) of their own. I'll admit it exists but it certainly isn't an intuitive leap to make.

                "Good for you. Why do you think the average consumer can be arsed to do that?"

                I would think the average consumer does what is easier and more convenient?

                "That's why I'm holding back judgement until we've seen how the overall market operates rather than calling everything a failure based on the first couple of devices from non-gaming companies to have exited beta."

                Fair enough. I must admit if I had told my old self back in the 2000's that microsoft would eventually come up with a working OS my old self would have thrown that clunky old pentium running Windows 98 at my future self.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2020 @ 4:05pm

    Even if this whole game streaming thing was a viable concept (which I'm not at all convinced is the case), Google trying to release a new console brand in this kind of Early Access, work-in-progress manner would kill off any chance of success. Consoles live or die on first impressions.

    It should've been made to work before release and there should've been a big launch, with exclusive titles. Like every other console brand has had when they were new. They needed to show they're serious. To tell the world "you want this right now," not "maybe something will come out of it eventually."

    Especially since, unlike a normal console which buyers could continue to play even if the manufacturer called it quits, the Stadia will turn into an expensive paperweight and take the games they "bought" for it with them the moment Google gets bored with it.

    Now its too late. Stadia is firmly in the category of "yet another fleeting Google experiment" and people are understandably hesitant to buy something when they'll never know if it'll still work in the morning.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Feb 2020 @ 1:00am

      Re:

      "Consoles live or die on first impressions."

      True, but the idea of Stadia is that it's a service as well as a "console".

      "It should've been made to work before release and there should've been a big launch, with exclusive titles."

      Nah, that was last gen physical consoles. Next gen is moving in a different direction.

      "Especially since, unlike a normal console which buyers could continue to play even if the manufacturer called it quits"

      Well, only because the backlash caused Microsoft to not do that anyway. Now, as the marketplace is heading more toward services you can expect all companies to be trying to do this, you just won't see it as their primary goal for a long time unless Google really hits it big (which I doubt they will).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dudhit, 12 Feb 2020 @ 2:46am

    an article not about epic or steam

    As someone who games all day. this article was the first i'd ever heard of stadia, then again it might be USA only thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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