Google Might Announce a Game Streaming Platform Next Month

AlphaAtlas

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GamesIndustry.biz claims that Google has sent out a round of invitations for a GDC keynote address on March 19. While the invitation was particularly short on details, as both gamesindustry.biz and Kotaku's Jason Schreir note, its not hard to guess the direction Google will take. They recently streamed Assassin's Creed: Odyssey for free as an early test for Project Stream, and Schreier speculates that "their focus will be more on building a platform than a console. Wouldn't be surprised to see them put their streaming platform on both their own hardware and other people's." I've watched others play AC: Odyssey during the test, and Google's streaming service offered a better experience than I expected, but what kind of platform Google will announce next month is still anyone's guess.

The invitation includes a .gif image of a hallway with a white light at the end of it that becomes blinding before displaying the date of the keynote and the slogan "Gather around." "All will be revealed at the Google Keynote," the invitation promises. "10:00am on March 19, 2019. Find us in Moscone South, San Francisco."
 

andrewaggb

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They're going to have their work cut out to impress me. I do not understand how game streaming can be fast, seamless, affordable, etc. It lacks all the qualities that make netflix and tv streaming work (cacheable, bufferable, low server cpu resources, latency insentive, etc). But my internet connection is pretty good and my devices are all wired, so maybe. But it's gotta be expensive to run - you'll need alot of gpu's even with oversubscription.
 

gamerk2

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They're going to have their work cut out to impress me. I do not understand how game streaming can be fast, seamless, affordable, etc. It lacks all the qualities that make netflix and tv streaming work (cacheable, bufferable, low server cpu resources, latency insentive, etc). But my internet connection is pretty good and my devices are all wired, so maybe. But it's gotta be expensive to run - you'll need alot of gpu's even with oversubscription.
They'll recoup the costs on subscription fees, but yes the latency is a problem. Even top tier internet connections are going to be 1-2 frames delayed simply because all the processing is done on the server.
 

Youn

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if they offer it for free to demo a game, that'd be cool...
 

Jovian

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This will be awesome for games that dont need perfect latency. Which is most of what I play. Google already has all my info due to my gmail account so I wouldnt mind a streaming service from them
 

PeaKr

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What about the possibility of google nerfing graphics quality, introducing compression or some type of AI/scripting to make the service cheaper to operate or to lower latency. Think they won't?
 

Armenius

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What about the possibility of google nerfing graphics quality, introducing compression or some type of AI/scripting to make the service cheaper to operate or to lower latency. Think they won't?
I wouldn't be surprised if they advertise it as "console quality."
 

joobjoob

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With Googles well documented passion for gaming as an art form and storytelling medium I am not surprised. I am certain they have been planning and preparing for this moment since the beginning. Top up $3.99 Now to read the rest of this comment and get one free paragraph per day for one week get a and a custom rainbow hippo avatar free!
 

andrewaggb

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They'll recoup the costs on subscription fees, but yes the latency is a problem. Even top tier internet connections are going to be 1-2 frames delayed simply because all the processing is done on the server.
Yep. If you assume 60 fps as a target, then the frame time is 16.7 ms. if you assume a ping of 25-60ms then there is a variable 2-4 frame delay added by the network. That's over and above the delay's by your hardware (keyboard, mouse, tv/monitor) and the processing time on the server for the game to generate the frames and the encoder to compress them. If the video codec requires any buffering (eg 1 or 2 frames in either the encoder, decoder, or both) then those are additional frames of latency. I'm very curious what the effective latency ends up being. If it's just the 2-4 frames it's probably a good experience in most games. If it's more like 8-10+ frames then it's going to be game dependent.
 

Liver

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What? I thought the end of net neutrality killed the internet? Google told me.

My internet is so slow. I can’t game anymore.
 

Darunion

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Yep. If you assume 60 fps as a target, then the frame time is 16.7 ms. if you assume a ping of 25-60ms then there is a variable 2-4 frame delay added by the network. That's over and above the delay's by your hardware (keyboard, mouse, tv/monitor) and the processing time on the server for the game to generate the frames and the encoder to compress them. If the video codec requires any buffering (eg 1 or 2 frames in either the encoder, decoder, or both) then those are additional frames of latency. I'm very curious what the effective latency ends up being. If it's just the 2-4 frames it's probably a good experience in most games. If it's more like 8-10+ frames then it's going to be game dependent.
So many people have enhance mode or whatever enabled on their tvs which adds frame latency and don't even realize it. Also a lot would stream playstation games as well to devices. I imagine that a great majority of people could be content with this product. Of course as with anything, you can't sell it to everyone, the question becomes will this make them enough money to be worth it?

I wouldn't want it now that I have a decent gaming pc, but prior when my pc was over 12 years old, I might have gone this route.
 

seanreisk

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I don't know if this will work or not. My feeling is that it won't be a great experience.

What I do know is that at some point the big game companies are going to ask, "Where is my money?" In the past you bought the game and ran it on whatever computer you could afford. Now, between you and the game there is another company, Google, with a huge hardware investment, and Google also wants to make money. That money has to come from either the game developer or from you (and it's pretty easy to figure out who going to pay). Then there is a fourth party, your ISP, who is going to want to know why you are using more of its product than you were using before. Your ISP is going to make decisions on whether it can afford your new consumption rates.

The trick for these companies will be figuring out how to dice up the costs so that you pay them without seeing how much more it's costing you.
 

Aireoth

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I will never sign up for a game streaming service.

Sadly I think I will be in the minority and fear that gaming will be dead to me in the next decade.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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While not for me, I see the appeal of these services. A subscription fee gives you access to games without needing a large upfront investment in a capable PC or consoles. If the service is good, it will likely take the game industry by storm.

That said, I wonder how good any service can be that has an input lag equal to the round trip ping to the server plus that of your TV... I mean, for some it might not be bad, if you have a fantastic network connection and your route to the server is good, but even so, the encode decode times for the frames will add lag.

And then there is the impact of ISP data caps...

I just hope it doesn't become successful to the point where studios start abandoning support for local PC gaming. I'm all for a variety of choice in the market place, up until the point where the race to meet the demand of the lowest common denominator impacts the rest of us.
 

masquap

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This will be awesome for games that dont need perfect latency. Which is most of what I play. Google already has all my info due to my gmail account so I wouldnt mind a streaming service from them
They've already got the fist in, might as well go elbow deep!
 

refraxion

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They're going to have their work cut out to impress me. I do not understand how game streaming can be fast, seamless, affordable, etc. It lacks all the qualities that make netflix and tv streaming work (cacheable, bufferable, low server cpu resources, latency insentive, etc). But my internet connection is pretty good and my devices are all wired, so maybe. But it's gotta be expensive to run - you'll need alot of gpu's even with oversubscription.
I use GeForce Now regularly on my shield TV. Works great.
 

Lakados

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For RTS titles, RPG's, or anything turn based, this could work. For FPS titles or other fighting games were every frame counts I don't see this happening yet but I could see it getting there in the future. For instance if a FPS title was built from the ground up to be run on that platform and took input lag into account or had other ways built in to compensate for it then it very well could work "well enough" for 99% of the players out there.

Also remember while Assassins Creed, or Fortnight or any of those titles are impressive, the bulk of the industries money comes from stuff like Angry Birds...
 

darrpara

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I mean, I already have Google Fiber so this would be interesting for non FPS games for sure.
 

LMT MFA

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If the industry ever goes to streaming games only, I will cease to be a gamer on that day.
You can always go build model ships. :)

On another note; watch them cancel it within two years, 1 year and 9 months after everyone else has hailed it as dead on arrival.
 

zkostik

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While not for me, I see the appeal of these services. A subscription fee gives you access to games without needing a large upfront investment in a capable PC or consoles. If the service is good, it will likely take the game industry by storm.

That said, I wonder how good any service can be that has an input lag equal to the round trip ping to the server plus that of your TV... I mean, for some it might not be bad, if you have a fantastic network connection and your route to the server is good, but even so, the encode decode times for the frames will add lag.

And then there is the impact of ISP data caps...

I just hope it doesn't become successful to the point where studios start abandoning support for local PC gaming. I'm all for a variety of choice in the market place, up until the point where the race to meet the demand of the lowest common denominator impacts the rest of us.
I highly doubt it can be a threat to consoles, much less PC gaming. I mean Project Stream was not too bad. I was actually getting pretty good latency on my gigabit FIOS. ACO was very playable and playing on a table with xbox controller was fun. I totally see it having some use for folks who don't want a console or don't want to invest into a gaming PC. My issue was that IQ was alright at best. In my book it would be called terrible but service did pretty well to adjust that to ensure latency was reasonable. It wouldn't be usable for FPS but for RPG and slower paced stuff or single player it has a chance to exist. Not sure it would be good for a game demo unless you just want to demo the story or the like as visual detail is pretty much lost. Anyway, I really cannot complain about free testing and I hope to get my free ACO which still apparently nobody had gotten added to their account. I would say that this was the most playable streaming service yet. If they can improve 1080p IQ, it can be an alternative to play games on non gaming hardware. I was previously thinking about it can be useful for folks that travel, but likely not due to internet being of utmost dependency for this to be viable.
 
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Spidey329

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Even a big budget wont save this in the end.
I don't mind them throwing tons of money at it though as the tech improvements will bleed to other areas (video latency, codecs, etc.).

As others said, fast-twitch games likely won't get there. But slow paced games could be done, or games designed specifically for the tech with mechanics that mask or use the latency as part of it.

Other alternatives would be to somehow pass off only portions of the workload. Stuff such as non-visible large-scale AI simulation, or camera mode (e.g. you enter cameramode, take a photo, and the render gets returned from the cloud with render settings set to 11).
 

bigdogchris

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A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a YouTube gaming/streaming thing that had a different colored UI than YouTube has. It was sorta like Twitch. Never heard of it before that day. Not sure if that is what this is but I can't find it now.
 

zehoo

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Let me know when they've solved how to go faster than the speed of light and use it for data transfer.
 

polonyc2

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I'm not a fan of streaming games...but I did participate in that Project Stream test in December for AC: Odyssey and found it ran surprisingly well...I think a lot of people will sign up for this
 

Qthulu

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The problem is ...most of the US still has shit broadband...I live right next to a major city and I'm stuck with att dsl. Many more are far worse on sat or data limited cell hotspots.
 
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my only complaint about this is my bandwidth caps. i played hte hell out of the assassins creed streaming beta, and almost destroyed my bandwidth caps in no time.

i wouldnt use this for a twitch shooter, but for something like assassins creed, it wored out just fine.
 

gamerk2

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So many people have enhance mode or whatever enabled on their tvs which adds frame latency and don't even realize it. Also a lot would stream playstation games as well to devices. I imagine that a great majority of people could be content with this product. Of course as with anything, you can't sell it to everyone, the question becomes will this make them enough money to be worth it?

I wouldn't want it now that I have a decent gaming pc, but prior when my pc was over 12 years old, I might have gone this route.
Meh, most of the time those post-processing effects only account for ~40ish latency, or 3-4 frames. That's a lot more then the 8-10 some of us think would be typical for this type of game streaming.
 

Darunion

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Meh, most of the time those post-processing effects only account for ~40ish latency, or 3-4 frames. That's a lot more then the 8-10 some of us think would be typical for this type of game streaming.
I dunno, has always made fps games unplayable for me. If I dont have all post-processing and frame smoothing turned off I can barely play on my tvs.

I guess my point is people play with these modes and dont even notice it, 8-10frames may not even be noticed by the same crowd either. Slower games it wouldnt matter. It does open up more gaming to people who may not be able to afford higher end pcs or consoles.
 
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