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Google Teases a Big Gaming Announcement for March 19th (engadget.com)
27 points by rbanffy 28 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 45 comments

If it is the streaming thing the article mentioned, I just don't get it. How do they get around the fact you introduce round trip delay to every input? Do they somehow have a way to do client side prediction and reconciliation?

I was in the beta for their Assassins Creed test. For single-player AAA RPG titles it wasn't noticeable. I doubt twitch / competitive games will ever be the target audience.

Was it full streaming? Or did you have to download something to your own computer? Having to download only part of the game to stream it would be a bit better than the way things are now, but not much. I guess I'd have to try it to tell?

If it was full streaming, just go to the webpage and start playing, that would be cool. (Though, I suspect, a full streaming system would make playing multiplayer games nearly intolerable from a latency perspective.)

Full streaming right from Chrome. No plugin or downloads needed. Loaded the game in a few seconds. It was cool.

Yeah, then it's likely gonna have some latency problems. But latency will decrease with time. I'd imagine in maybe 2 to 5 years most US consumers might have the latency profile to use a system like that comfortably. Probably not now though. Especially if you're playing, say, Fortnite, against 95 other people who have their game loaded locally on a fast network. You're just asking for a frustrating day.

> But latency will decrease with time.

Only to a point.

For these streaming services to work, you really gotta have the data center within 1000 miles of you. If they only have a service in say, California, and you're on the east coast, well...even a round trip at the speed of light is about 30-35 ms. Add in the fact that electricity doesn't actually travel at the speed of light, processing time for routers, and delays for video compression/decompression, and you're looking at at least 60 ms delay on inputs that probably can't possibly be reduced.

I think even 1000 miles is a bit generous, since you likely don't get networking in a straight line between your house in the data center.

In Utah I get traffic routed through Denver and a few other states east of me before hitting certain servers hosted in California.

Unless Google has figured out a way to increase the speed of light, I don't think this new service is really going to change my mind about buying dedicated hardware to play games.

Google has racks full of equipment at every ISP in America, even the minor ones. They can bring this latency down to 5ms or less.

I wonder if a multiplayer shooter would be playable if the game was both hosted and rendered for all players within the same data center. You still have latency to the server when playing multiplayer, so if you eliminate that by hosting the game next to the computer rendering it, it might work well?

It was in the browser, although it only worked with Chrome so I assume they're doing some stuff that goes beyond/outside of web standards

I'm not sure how Google achieved it, but Parsec said they got usable browser game streaming working using WebRTC.


They dont, instead streaming companies are counting on people not knowing any better. From my competitive experience maybe top couple of percent (or even less) of player base is aware of such minutia as additional tens of milliseconds, influence of good mouse/keyboard, fast monitors, framerates. Most people are perfectly fine playing on a laptop(!), or FPS using controller on a console - those people wont feel any difference.

In the Assassin's Creed beta, the input lag was barely noticeable most of the time.

For competitive games it's likely unuseable, but for a game like Assassin's Creed, where super-quick input isn't very important, it's perfectly fine.

Additionally you can expect deals with game publishers for next gen games to include latency tolerant AI, aka easy easy mode, hidden from users, like autoaim in all console games today.

I was in the project stream beta and the latency was never noticeable for me. I have seen noticeable latency on TVs not set to game mode when playing on xbox, but did not see any streaming latency for the beta.

I was on a cable internet connection and the display occasionally pixelated during network slowdowns, but there was still no latency noticeable.

I assume that Google has enough data center locations that they can render you at the nearest one.

They are banking on a large segment of players just not noticing the lag.

It scares me because I absolutely do notice the lag, and I can see publishers wanting to move to something like this exclusively in the not too distant future.

There will always be a market for "non-streaming" games. Fighting games for example would be unplayable with streaming latency. I don't see games moving primarily to streaming for a long time.

I've long since moved on from competitive multiplayer games and I never measured it directly. But that said, I haven't noticed a lot of issues with Nvidia's game streaming service with casual use.

I'm not sure how good it would be for first person shooters, but it worked great for me when I played assassins creed on it. Note, I do have a 100 Mb fiber connection in my apartment.

I played a couple of hours of some Lego 3D game with game streaming and latency wasn't an issue at all. There are many games out there that don't require twitch reactions.

Many years ago, when the Netflix CEO said that they'd switch to video streaming sometime in the future, I thought it was a crazy idea: how could you possibly have so much bandwidth? (I'm not the worlds greatest visionary.)

I think things may go the same way for streaming. If it's cheap enough with no installation hassle, why not?

I don't think they get around it. For most genres except FPS the round trip delay doesn't cause any issues in gameplay. What's an extra 60ms roundtrip when most people have reaction times around 300ms?

Here we go again, someone is conflating reaction time with latency sensitivity...

Try the following: write a simple snake game in JS or whatever your preferred language is. However, instead of turning the snake in the keyDown/keyUp event handlers, start a 60ms timer and change direction only when the timer fires. Experiment with various time intervals and snake speeds to find out what’s the acceptable latency/speed region.

Have you by any chance done this? Care to share the results?

>What's an extra 60ms roundtrip when most people have reaction times around 300ms?

20% more.

You offer single player games.

Project Stream will probably allow those on Linux, macOS, and especially ChromeOS to play most games, including recent ones. Which may let people switch platform more easily and/or avoid dual-booting.

I wonder if the industry eventually plans to address In-App Purchase fees, it is always worth it for small companies since it offers payment process, presence at global level, marketing tools, international transactions and some protection against fraud. But if you are a big game development company those benefits don't add-up and you already would have those tools/frameworks already in place.

I've implemented IAP on Android and it is absolutely disgusting garbage looking API, worse than win32 api. Now it sits at 400 lines of ugly boilerplate spaghetti code. It turned me into firm believer that Google (at least Android branch) don't know how to do good API.

If it is Project Stream, Google better announce some serious partnerships alongside the service. Their best bet would probably be to outright buy a major publisher - maybe Ubisoft or Take-two has a price tag?

Why would they need to buy a publisher? I'm guessing they would just launch it as a subscription service which gets you access to stream games and then you would have to buy each game individually to play them.

That's a dubious proposition. Spend a fair bit of money on games only to have Google cancel the product later.

I mentioned Nvidia in another thread but they partnered with Valve/Steam to stream games you purchase there. Steam is unlikely to suddenly fold up and vanish.

Maybe, maybe not. I played assassins creed during the beta and they are actually giving me a full copy of the game soon so I don't see why they wouldn't be able to give users full copies to the games they bought if they ever shut it down.

If that's not an explicit commitment in their terms and conditions though, yeah, it'll be a pretty hard sell. (At least for me anyway. I take my gaming seriously.)

Google has an uncomfortable tendency to cancel projects.

> Why would they need to buy a publisher?

If it is a subscription plus purchase games service, they need guarantee of games available to justify the subscription price; either buying or partnering with an existing publisher or distribution channel would be a way to do this (making a deal with Steam where you link your Steam Account and any games you have on Steam are streamable would probably be a bigger win than buying a publisher.)

Probably Google's version of Twitch?

Actually they've had youtube gaming for some time now. Pretty sure Twitch is far far ahead but still, they have their version already

> Pretty sure Twitch is far far ahead

Stream quality is still far better with Youtube, especially outside North America. Twitch has better community and highlight clip feature.

They already have a competing product: YouTube. It could still be in that arena though.

Will anyone trust google after the number of projects they’ve dropped?

Will people ever stop making this comment on HN?

It's just not adding anything to the conversation anymore. I've seen it 50 times across the past 50 announcements of even the smallest thing Google launches.

Reader was discontinued five and a half years ago. Code search six years ago. Wave seven years ago. Plus wasn't discontinued, it just pivoted to paid G Suite-only. Sometimes well-intentioned products just don't make money. Let's move on.

I’d say, That’s a bit hyperbolic. I don’t think google has launched 50 things in the past half year, and that’s the time it’s taken me to shift positions and begin to consider this question.

It’s for Games and gamers. Gamers, especially PC gamers are a very different market than your general genial HN-going techie or casual content consumer. For them a well intentioned product which may “disappear” is something they have increasingly had enough of. Further google doesn’t have the brand reach of Sony, MSFT, valve, Nintendo etc.

If it is a concern I have, then it’s a concern other gamers will have.

while I admit it’s easy to dismiss my 1 line comment as matching some sort of pattern, it wasn’t written with that history in mind. It was written spontaneously and without an agenda.

Headline from February of 2021

"Google Announces The End Of Project Stream"

I can't help but think there's a good number of people who just won't use this because it's Google and they will assume it'll be gone in a year or two. I guess the same goes for game developers as well.

I think a lot of people really overestimate how pervasive this view is outside of this website.

And inside this web site. Who cares who's streaming your games? What matters is that it works and that the price is reasonable. It's good to have options.

To me it won't matter, if it gets shut down then I'd go to another provider. As long as they have data portability like GDPR specifies then there isn't a problem.

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