Now, I have recently started playing on GeForce NOW, nVidia's offering. However there it's much closer to an EC2 model: I'm renting a machine, and I log into my Steam profile and play games that I purchased there. If I want to move that to my own PC, I can. I like that pattern much more.
I use Shadow now and it is much better. I have full control over the PC/VM, and install whatever I want from anywhere. I'm also super impressed with the latency - I can play multiplayer competitive games no problem.
I'm on a Mac so cloud gaming makes sense for me. I was going to build a PC but the cost was too high. Much cheaper to just pay ~$15/month.
This sounds like an ad, so to get back on topic -- if Amazon's Luna doesn't let you install whatever you want, it wont be able to compete.
Must keep clicking/typing into it
The only downsides are related to the max storage and shared CPU. Apparently they have future offerings for $50/mo that add up to a TB of storage and stronger CPUs.
The days of owning a game and playing it forever are so far gone that there are adults graduating college who don't remember a time when you could expect to own a game and play it forever.
It's also not quite the same to compare something you definitely could get working with more effort (like spinning up an XP VM) to something where there is literally no way at all, like when OnLive went away.
They do sell Sid Meier's Railroads ($9.99), and if you check the support forum it may be obvious if they've fixed this problem.
Having to buy it twice isn't optimal, but you get bug fixes and a DRM free installer you can download and keep and manuals in PDF form which beats trying to keep old floppies or CDs in good condition. I've bought quite a few old games I had from them for just that reason.
They also do fine as a purchase platform for modern games, but it's less than perfect because modern games are supported and some smaller publishers choose not to push updates to their offerings on GOG.
I haven't tried hard to get it to work (i.e. completely wiping my local data, maybe just having a corrupt savegame would also cause new games to fail to load?)
In general, there are almost always easy to follow guides online that take 30mins or less for getting older PC games to work on modern systems. If you care, you can get it working. This only changed relatively recently, and only because producers knew they could count on people being too lazy to take the minimum effort necessary when they can just buy a new game on steam.
That said, I think there's a tendency to pooh-pooh the "gamer" concerns about streaming far too much in the rush to declare that the state of technology couldn't possibly be an obstacle to launching a product. Just from this year two of the most popular games with non-gamer audiences were a samurai adventure that sells itself on its HDR visuals that wouldn't look so great compressed (Ghost of Tsushima) and a party game where you wouldn't need to be a stereotypical FPS gamer to notice and be infuriated by relatively small amounts of input lag (Fall Guys). Yes, people who don't play games all the time will be less demanding, but don't forget we're still talking about them playing games.
I used to be a gamer, playing hours competing online every day around the Diablo 2/Warcraft 3 times but have since largely lost interest in it as a hobby.
These days I'm more interested in killing a half hour here and there, sometimes a rainy sunday afternoon. Almost exlusively more narative driven or not very mechanically demanding single player, often turn based games and couch coop.
I'm pretty happy with my Switch as the only gaming device, but I find it a hassle to look up which games are out, check reviews to see if their worth buying, maybe wait for a discount and wait for download. Then feeling bad for not having finished most.
So a service which I can just pull up when I feel like it, and click on a random game and immediately start playing for a while then either move on or come back is very attractive to me, and unlike other streaming services I don't care much about owning the product.
That said, I have never tried cloud gaming service, but for the convenience I'd be willing to make quite some concessions. E.g. keeping the Switch for the 2-3 fast paced party games I play.
This has happened to me...
I don't get this statement. Don't you need to purchase an Amazon Controller for $50 and if you want a good SoC and 4K capability you'll also need to purchase a Fire Stick 4K at about $50 which brings the total to $100.
As for Stadia - there's no need to purchase a Stadia controller or Chromecast 4K. I've used an Xbox controller and Chrome to play just fine.
So it does seem there are lower entry options for TV use.
At least the subscription model and game selection seems better than Stadia.
edit: Also, it seems to me like the target audience is for the same sort (and I’m not trying to denigrate) that watch movies on their TV with internal speakers or can’t fathom why you’d pay more than 30 bucks for headphones or earbuds. Some people just don’t care about the latency, hiccups, or compression artifacts. And that’s fine, but I’m not part of that group.
Why sell software and hardware once when you can sell software, the hardware it's hosted on, and the support and services to manage that software and hardware every single month. It's why companies like Adobe and Microsoft have tried to push their main, relatively static software packages like Office and Creative Suite over to a rent-seeking model. And it's why selling cloud services is all the rage.
It's not a good way to do things, it's not good for any consumer or user of those things, but it prints money on a stable and continuous basis in perpetuity, because people lose everything they paid for when they stop paying.
That's why cloud gaming is going to keep coming up year after year, no matter how impractical or stupid it is.
 For the vast majority of users, the difference between any given version of Office or Creative Suite and one released five or six years prior is nearly zero. Almost nobody needs to continually buy these.
I, for one, prefer the subscription model for some things. I like that I can dip my toes in and out of the Photoshop ecosystem without having to shell out hundreds up front. I prefer to rent Netflix for a month rather than purchasing DVDs or Blurays I may watch once or twice. And when cloud gaming is baked (it will be a long time away for me as I live in a small island nation) I will love being able to play any game from a huge range with no outlay other than my monthly subscription - no hardware requirements, no upgrading, just a few bucks a month, and only on the months when I choose to keep my subscription.
My only caveat with cloud gaming is that mouse + KB is non-negotiable, I'm not sure how realistic that will be. I will not play shooter or strategy games with a controller.
This is where NVidia went wrong. They're basically providing that sort of thing, but wanted to present it as their own game service as though all the other storefronts were just backend plumbing. Not a bad consumer experience, but also not what publishers are licensing when they stick their game on Steam.
Some LCD TVs alone can add 40-60ms of latency, and software can add another couple of frames. Often 30hz frames, too...
Which kind of sucks if you grew up on CRTs and arcade games that often managed much lower latency.
But I guess it means that game streaming really could offer a console-like experience if as much non-network latency as possible was eliminated...
The issue here is how much will ping time add to that when streaming a game. Consoles hover in the 100ms are depending on game. PC's it's highly dependent on video hardware, but I good gaming system, display, and keyboard/mouse will be around 70ms.
The issue of streaming game ping ms in part comes down to human reaction time, which averages around 200ms-250ms. Given this, you want a ping time that doesn't add enough latency to the setup to put you above that 200-250ms reaction time, or you start to perceive more noticeable input lag. Given 70-100ms baseline, you want a bandwidth ping absolutely no more than about 100ms on top of that.
The math squares with my personal experience as well. I've played a few streaming services, and when my ping gets to the 100ms area I start to notice a little difference. It's often sill playable, but if it gets higher it can be very distracting.
I agree, that part is nice. However, once I've dipped in a toe and know I want to OWN it, I can't. The non-saas option is gone.
So now I have a perverse incentive to argue against you, for my own sake. Because the more people like you enter a market, the less likely that market is to provide a single purchase product.
I was like you, years ago, but what pulled me to the other side was "couch convenience". Might be similar to the other convenience factors you list. Unless you're playing competitively (where %s matter), there's something great about playing a game like Control while lazing around on the couch
> It's not a good way to do things, it's not good for any consumer or user of those things
> no matter how impractical or stupid it is
Hard disagree on this take.
I would personally love a stable, smooth gaming-as-a-service experience - where I can pay based on my usage level, access any games I want to, pick up my saved game from any device, and never have to worry about sitting around for hours waiting for updates or downloads.
I expect there's a _massive_ market for that. You may not be in it, and that's fine, but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it.
Here's the thing though. Those downloads and updates have a massive efficiency factor. Once you have downloaded your assets, they don't have do be downloaded again to be used.
With these game streaming platforms, it doesn't matter that you have downloaded 100GB in screen frames. They can only be used once and then are discarded. In some cases this is a benefit - on Flight Simulator 2020 the servers only have to send you a fraction of their terrain data. But that's a small part of it.
> stable, smooth gaming-as-a-service experience
Netflix and the like work because you can buffer. Is your connection a bit choppy today? Hit pause and let it buffer a bit, hopefully it will stabilize. But games do not tolerate ANY latency issues. Even things like Steam Link - using only your local network - can struggle if there's too much traffic or interference.
Then there's the business model. I don't want a 'subscription'. If I buy a game today I may be spending $60 upfront(if the game has been out for a while, often much less), but I can play as much as I want.
Do you have fantastic internet connectivity, an under-powered device, and you want to quickly shuffle through different games from an online selection? Ok, this could make sense.
Still, this sounds like a far better deal for corporations, as opposed to consumers.
The 100GB of streamed frames happen while I'm playing so I don't care.
This benefit is for those who value their time highly and want something to 'just work' without having to bother with installing stuff, updating, buying and setting up new hardware every year, etc.
Imagine you only have 30 mins a month to do gaming... Like many busy adults... With a PS4 or PC, you'd spend most of your 30 mins waiting for updates to complete.
Or you could just start Steam a few minutes before your monthly 30 minutes I guess. If you have the internet connection required for stable cloud gaming, you won't be spending long waiting for the patches anyway anyway.
It’s also wildly expensive at that point. How much are you paying to game per hour? Much more than going to a movie.
However, I agree that this system is very likely to NOT benefit developers, it will be the publishers that make the cash and it will become a haggling point in dev/pub contracts as to the amount, of any, the devs see from these continuing fee arrangements.
All said, I cannot see a time when I’m willing to go in for full game streaming as a stand alone product. I can imangine paying for Microsoft’s game network or something if I wanted a console this generation. But I have 7000+ DOS games, and a few external drives full of Windows games, and then emulators and ROMs, so I think I’m good for gaming and don’t fit the target for a streaming service.
The word docs I still use end up having 3 dozen copies in my downloads folder from different versions sent via email. It's a nightmare.
If it requires a $6/mo subscription for the cloud based equivalent of a $100 consumer software package, I'd gladly pay it.
Hiccups and artifacts are largely solved and where they aren't, the market tolerates it just fine.
There has been a whole decade of this stuff. The arguments are literally from last decade and they weren’t issues even with the inferior infrastructure then.
I dont think any of these services have proven themselves as a profitable endeavor on their own yet, but as far as advertising or a competitive ecosystem for a larger brand, theyve done really well.
Yes. Its that high. PS4 sold ~115M units. XB1 ~50M. Switch ~70M. Steam has ~100M MAUs. There's overlap in those, and those numbers also really under-represent China and the huge PC gaming scene there, but I think we're in the right magnitude.
By and large, this group's interest in cloud gaming would only significantly extend to being able to access the games they already play on the hardware they have, when out and about. Xbox, Nvidia, PlayStation, and whatever Valve releases will own this group. They're not re-buying games on Stadia or Luna and locking themselves into that platform, nor dealing with locked cross-saves, cross-achievements, cross-social, its just not happening.
Second group: Lets say iOS users. Representing 1.5 billion people worldwide, significant overlap with the previous group. These users probably wont get too heavily invested into any cloud streaming service, because they are all inaccessible on their mobile device. Yeah, there's a Luna web app: I'm sure it'll be horrible.
Third group: People with bad or no internet. 160 million Americans lack broadband. Some of them still buy game consoles and suffer through weeks of downloading updates. Most don't. Online play sucks, but 150 ping is manageable. You learn to play with the ping. These people will never use any cloud streaming service.
We could go on, but the point I'm reaching is: I, too, have no clue who will be signing up for these services. It really feels like these cloud companies just have graphics cards laying around and are supremely uncreative with how to get value from them. Or, they want to own the world and its taken them thirty fucking years to recognize that, hey, gaming is a thing and boy are they late to the party.
Gaming hardware is not expensive. A Switch costs $200; a brand spanking new Xbox Series S, $300. You don't need a two thousand dollar PC to play all the great games out there. Stadia and Luna want you to buy their controllers and their dongles, the upfront cost is not zero, and consumers are not blind to the ongoing cost and expensive games (Game Pass anyone?! Its a fucking steal! And it practically comes with xCloud! Why do people still think Amazon and Google can compete with this?)
If there was some investment vehicle which allowed me to specifically short Stadia and Luna, I would put every cent in my savings and retirement into it, down to the last penny. Cloud streaming has a future, but it won't be via these two products.
Maybe their target demographics are different, they want attract a new set of gamers who were not serious about gaming earlier.
I bet that will change yet again when they get older.
I really like your perspective: there’s millions of consumers out there with different priorities. You don’t have to “get” it you just have to appreciate that they exist.
The only place I can think of in the US with fiber are university dorms.
Outside of providing a cheap substitute for hardware, the only other use case I can see this for is for MMO's that have drastically changing environments like Rec Room, VR Chat or anything like 2nd Life
2. Anything above ~25mbps connection will give you the optimal experience you can have
So no, you do not need Fiber, you just need a decent broadband connection.
Also for most people in the US, 4G has significant usage caps.
Of course this speaks nothing to the average prices these consumers pay. However, its probably a lot cheaper to wire up an area less than the size of California (Japan + Taiwan) with a much more massive population density. If everything else was equal (its not) it would have surprised me for internet to have been more expensive in Japan or Taiwan than in the US.
While definitely nowhere near the majority of the US, there are many metro areas with large residential fiber to the home (FTTH) deployments. Suggesting it is only available at university dorms is massively misrepresenting reality.
In pretty much all the areas I've lived for the last decade, FTTH has been extremely common. I'm certain lots of other people have had very different experiences from me. Lots of other people have had experiences vastly different from yours.
Booted up "Just Cause 3" (first one I spotted that was supported and I had). The first bit of the game has you on top of a plane shooting at ground targets.
I'm on a 40Mb/s connection with 22ms of ping to 220.127.116.11. All wired ethernet, no wifi.
The latency was awful, felt like ~1s from mouse move to action. I could not aim at the targets at all.
0/10 unplayable ;)
> “We worked with the Safari team to ensure that some of the things that weren't there are there, and that allowed us to kind of get to where we are today,” Luna head of engineering and technology George Tsipolitis said.
I'm surprised Stadia on iOS is not out yet, considering iOS 14 adds vp9 and by some account, it actually works right now if you spoof your user agent. Maybe very soon.
So much that's in the app store has, essentially, no need to be a DRM protected binary distributable.
(Unless, maybe, the app store channel brings some significant value.)
Seems to me like the only way this could possibly work is if the games are designed with streaming in mind, but even then it seems hard... Remote Desktop in Windows, for example, feels laggy even on LAN (connecting to another computer in the same house).
The problem here is that Luna is going to soft launch with all the features + that Stadia was to launch with (but has yet to deliver). If they succeed, Stadia is going to be in a weird situation. The power of Twitch shouldn't be underestimated and it steals the thunder of the killer feature w/ was youtube advertised.
It looks like another Half Baked Google product thats going to be crushed by competition.
I'm positive it's the future of gaming. There are countless benefits for both users (don't need to buy a dedicated gaming machine, don't need to download or install games, improved security when you're just streaming video instead of installing all sorts of software) and developers (easier to prevent cheating, stops piracy, subscription model for pricing). Previous methods of gaming just feel outdated in my opinion.
I feel like it's an easy prediction. Gaming desktops will become more and more niche over the next decade or two. Consoles will turn into streaming devices with controllers. I imagine next generation consoles will have a cheap version that just stream games on a monthly subscription, and a pro version with actual hardware. Two generations after that will just be streaming only versions.
When it works well (and it usually does for me) I think most non-pro players won't notice any gameplay impacting latency.
The biggest issue right now with the service is lack of games.
I have doubts about google's commitment to it and most of my reservations have to do with that rather than the service itself. I've played hundreds of hours on it on all kinds of internet connections and it's been great. I've even played destiny 2 through my phone's hotspot and it worked fine.
I also don't like their subscription model, TCO is way too high compared to console. You pay monthly and you still pay full retail price for the games.
I wound up getting Doom for PS4 and it's awesome. The HDR makes it look fantastic.
Totally blew me away. I still can't believe I'm streaming a fast paced shooter game in multiplayer and it works without a hitch.
I've found it generally works very well, but with the occasional hiccup.
I can't comment on how it compares against the other services, I presume they're roughly as good as each other.
Stadia has felt pretty magical, I just open chrome and go, I don't notice any input lag, and I also have the option to grab my controller and play on a TV. It has a few hiccups every now and then, but nothing bad at all. It feels like the future.
i guess it must work for some people, but my 100Mb canadian internet was definitely not good enough.
Cloud gaming when done right is amazing.
OnLive was nothing short of magic in ~2010-2011: quite smooth, easy-to-use, decent library of games (for their time).
LiquidSky (in limbo/defunct for the past 3-4 years) was actual magic: you could play any game from your regular Steam library, and it would be streamed to you. No "your game doesn't support our service yet".
GeForce Now is sorta decent, but suffered (and probably still suffers) from connection issues, long wait times, clunky library selection and installation process etc.
Latency is really only an issue for fast paced action games (FPS, bullet-hell twin-stick shooters, precision platforming). So you need to be really close to a datacenter with a good line to it to not "suffer" (for some definition of "suffer"). I played Batman Arkham <something> on OnLive and a friend of mine played DOOM beta on LiquidSky, and we were both more than satisfied.
Having tried it myself, I don’t think you’re off point on anything you’ve said.
The latency is substantial (and I’m on Google Fiber) and my wi-fi caused regular hitches. Which could be my hardware, but it’s not like my hardware (Unifi gear) or situation (typical suburban environment) is odd.
My issue with using it is their software model. Google is notorious for closing things I use and enjoyed, and I don't want to effectively throw away AAA titles
I'm not convinced by this, because RDP feels laggy even remoting to a vm on the same machine
It's not ready. I played Infamous 1 and 2 and it would get choppy during complex events and the latency was noticeable. Sometimes my character would just keep moving until it registered on their server that I let go of the joystick.
If I had a bad experience what chance does everyone else have on slower connections?
PUBG, on the other hand, was perfectly playable (although I have never played it natively so can't compare). If I were a skilled player, I might have noticed the latency, hard to say.
I'm on Linux, so I was interested to try games I can't run easily. Unfortunately, chrome on Linux doesn't have VP9, so 4k resolution was not possible. It also didn't fit my wide-screen aspect ratio, so I had black bars on the side.
You can compile it yourself or some such hacky thing, but the whole point of Stadia for me was not to futz around with that stuff.
Note that this was from Vancouver, with hard-wired ethernet on ~300Mb/s cable. If you are closer to the server (California?), your results may differ.
Can't wait for them to upgrade their servers to Ampere GPUs.
Another game streaming experience: I sideloaded the XBox Game Pass app on Nvidia Shield TV Pro and stream the xCloud games that way. Input lag feels acceptable in this unsupported environment.
It’s really disappointing to me to see every single form of entertainment becoming a subscription service. It’s also the same problem you see with various apps/software trying the SaaS model, even when it doesn’t make sense.
Are we going to have exclusive games requiring multiple subscriptions to enjoy the content you want? Will we move away from being able to purchase games to run them locally?
Moreover, if Games as a Service (GaaS) becomes the de facto way to release games, is it going to encourage longer titles with lots of grinding/farming to ensure people stay engaged for months at a time? Will it slowly kill off sub-20h, more story-focused experiences that can be completed in a fraction of one month’s subscription price?
Also, it really bothers me to see that almost every single one of the FAANGs feels the need hop on the bandwagon. First it was music streaming, then movies/TVs, and now it looks like gaming is next. You can argue that competition is good but really we just have exclusive content siloed across various services and priced in such a way that likely only the large tech companies can subside it with their other offerings (e.g., ad revenue or premium phone sales).
I feel that streaming can't really take over all of these universes. Sure it may dominate some of the AAA titles I don't care about where latency is not an issue, but I can't see it taking over everything. And for it to become even remotely popular we'll probably also need some breakthroughs in terms of latency.
Some gaming communities even have a lot of power in terms of pushback for bad things. Look at the fighting game community (FGC) where they basically boycotted Street Fighter x Tekken, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite and other titles there were either doing crappy stuff.
We can resist crappy things pushed to us.
+1 for this. The best game I recently played was Return of the Obra Dinn, which incredibly seems to have been an essentially one-man effort: Lucas Pope wrote the story, did all the programming, designed all the art, and composed all the music.
Big companies can push all the crap they want, but unless they find a way to stand between indie developers and their audiences, I think we can look forward to great innovative games for decades to come.
At least it's clear that you don't own it and if/when the service vanishes... have keep nothing.
Unlike many recent games/apps where they require being online to use... then when the service disappears - even though you own the product - you're screwed!! That pisses me off even more.
SaaS, and streaming in general, is very much anti-consumer, especially for those of us who value reliability over quantity. It's sad, but in most cases piracy really is the most pro-consumer option, even without considering the price (although in my case I usually just don't bother and go for other forms of entertainment).
The next generation of consoles already seems to include two versions, one with support for discs and another one (cheaper, of course) which is digital only. I'm tempted to rant about how this is a ploy to incentivise people to eschew physical games and go digital only, but I would be fooling myself, since physical games are also DRM-riddled and they might just stop working if some software update so decides.
Even then only if you're lucky
And while I'm pretty sure I can still stream a random French band with moderate success from today in thirty years, I'm not so sure if I can stream games released today then. As an enthusiast I can turn to emulation, retro systems, reverse engineering to get old games going if I own a copy. Music streaming is delivering a byte stream from storage. Game streaming is a whole different beast.
Even something like billiards, players with enough wealth to have a room with a table would do so.
Personal libraries were a commonplace shortly after the printing press, as were broadsheets and then newspapers, all of which were purchased and owned. Music was impossible to 'own' before recording technology, but ownership of musical instruments, and the ability to use them, was quite widespread.
Same with TV: as soon as it became possible to record (and hence own) broadcasts, people flocked to VCRs, and had to win a court case to retain the right to do it.
My conclusion is that some people, maybe most, do wish to own the means of entertainment, and have historically purchased said means whenever they are able.
The current concern is that the ability to own, lend, and retain access to any of it, is vanishing completely. And, specifically with server-enabled games, the ability to experience almost all of them is guaranteed to vanish in just a few years.
We had game rentals too. Either way, I would argue that the shift from rentals and subscriptions based around exchangeable physical goods, to an exclusively streamed experience is a big shift, and a big deal.
Most games and sports had traditional rules that were passed on in a folk tradition, and only around the 1800s were rules gathered and written down.
1. You cannot touch the sacred cow $60 game price. You can go lower, you cannot go higher.
2. Reoccurring revenue & upsells/addons are every business' wet dreams. The game is done, sell it at $60 and shift 9/10ths of the team onto the next game. 1/10th of the team remains in bug-fix/content-churn mode to fulfill whatever season/battle pass scheme they're peddling. Release a new game with the same stuff ~2-4 years later.
3. Singleplayer games are dead because studios haven't figured out to get cheap secondary/ternary monetization out of them (for cheap.) A lot easier to make a digital hat than keep your design/narrative team making expansions.
To address the actual post: Amazon is hopping on because they have the technical capabilities... Unfortunately they don't have the game-industry/consumer-oriented know-how to make this a success. It's going to be a 'neat tech demo' but they'll never get a foothold because it's not solving an actual problem consumers are having at the moment.
That kind of became a meme last year (?) when EA exec mentioned it as a reason for scrapping a title... a few months before they released some top-earning single player games that pretty much proved it wrong.
There will always be single player games. We just got an explosion of multiplayer in the last decade because lots of people have networks which can support it, some new genres became popular (battle royale), and skins are good for monetization. But single and multi player can coexist just fine.
Several AAAs for the upcoming gens are going higher.
While they certainly aren't as common as they used to be, this is quite a stretch. Some of the Playstation's most popular exclusive titles have been single player games: Ghost of Tsushima, Last of Us 2, God of War, etc. Same thing for Nintendo: Breath of the Wild, Mario Odyssey.
3. "Singleplayer games are dead" is a myth that people have been repeating as a mantra for over a decade now. Yet some of the biggest AAA releases are still purely singleplayer experiences. Singleplayer games aren't dead. They never died.
I am merely 23 years old yet I still remember when I used to pay 50€ instead of 60€ for new games on Steam/Retail. And now it's going closer to 70€ for some games. For consoles, I've seen anything between 60€ and 90€. So, at least in Europe, this doesn't seem true.
> 2. Reoccurring revenue & upsells/addons are every business' wet dreams. The game is done, sell it at $60 and shift 9/10ths of the team onto the next game. 1/10th of the team remains in bug-fix/content-churn mode to fulfill whatever season/battle pass scheme they're peddling. Release a new game with the same stuff ~2-4 years later.
That's definitely true for the megabudget games like GTA. There still seems to be a sizeable niche that for pure single-player experiences though, for which I am glad. I find them to be far from dead; there are tons of upcoming SP games I am excited for and I see no reason for this trend to end anytime soon. There are also still expansions. I mean, there's a lot of AAA SP games on the market and coming out.
> 3. Singleplayer games are dead because studios haven't figured out to get cheap secondary/ternary monetization out of them (for cheap.) A lot easier to make a digital hat than keep your design/narrative team making expansions.
The problem with secondary/ternary monetization is that the market will probably saturate quite soon; most people aren't going to pump money into 5+ live service games at once.
This is a good point that worries me. Also is the anxiety that carries having too much choice, like when choosing what to see next on Netflix. Now if you pay 60USD for a game you are compelled to finish it. With thousands of games to choose from, and being able to instantaneously switch between them, then I guess it means videogames as we know them would be over. Probably split in seasons, becoming super addictive and shallow just to get you engaged.
For someone like me that rarely plays games, I'll probably sign up for a few months to play something that interests me then cancel it after I lose interest. I'll enjoy not having a console I hardly ever use sitting around collecting dust.
The fragmentation with movies/tv platforms has been awful, but Spotify has been amazing for music. I've probably listened to more music than I could ever afford otherwise. I don't think the price of movies has really changed either and you can still purchase them, so people are definitely making a choice to go with streaming over physical ownership. Go to any Goodwill and you will see shelves of discarded VHS and DVDs. I don't think people want to buy the VHS, then the DVD, then the BluRay, then the 4K BluRay and whatever 8K thing comes after anymore. Technology is changing so rapidly that's it better to pay a pittance each month now and wait for the next better thing just around the corner.
You can get two pairs of shoes for that at Payless shoes. They will last at least 6 months. Is anyone out there paying $360/year for running shoes? If anyone is interested in this product I would LOVE to hear about your reasoning.
What is the real difference between Sneakers-As-A-Service and planned obsolescence?
If my Nike shoes only last 3 years (or go out of fashion) and I need to repay $120 to get another pair, is it any different than paying $3 per month?
Also, at least for me, having a more expensive internet connection (needed for game streaming services) would actually cost me more than a high-end gaming machine and way more than a console.
But regarding the argument that we will have a bunch of different service which we would need to subscribe to: Is that really a downgrade?
We already have exclusives for consoles. There a number of games you can play only on Xbox. Then there are the games you can only play on PS4. And then there the PS3 games, which you will need yet another console because there is no backwards compatibility...
One way or another we already have this fragmentation today. Subscribing to multiple services actually seems cheaper for me.
The thing is that I've probably spent the same on games as I have on Netflix for the past 10 years. But now I have a Steam/GoG/etc.. library with over 1000 games I can take with me and maybe even share with my kids some day. I have nothing remaining but memories from Netflix.
The current situation doesn't serve everyone either. You need a decent desktop computer or console, the space for it (desk, monitor, tv, peripherals), and an interest in even owning all that crap to play many modern games. And more to enjoy them at any decent fidelity. That's a crappy deal for whole segments of the population.
Imagine if we were going the opposite direction, from streamed games to locally-run games. You could ignore the upsides and just focus on the downsides all over again. Ugh, the greedy companies now want me to invest $60 just to play their ONE game, and put wear and tear on my own $1000 machine? Hell no, capitalism suxxx!
I built a desktop computer just to play Stellaris on anything more than the tiny galaxy. I bought $900 of parts that fit in a shoebox sized case I could carry onto a plane. A subscription service with a good CPU would have let me enjoy the game without all that. There's downsides, there's upsides.
Well, we've been living in a world where to play certain games you had to make a several hundred dollar investment into a platform. Platform exclusives have been a thing for a long, long time. To an extent only having to pay a dozen or so dollars for a month of service to get access to some exclusive game sounds a lot better than having to shell out several hundred dollars for yet another console when I've already bought three.
It's by design. MS made it clear 8 years ago that they wanted Digital and to move on from Physical media. It's an inevitability, the question is how can we migrate licenses from platforms. I like how movies are handled with MoviesAnywhere.
Disappointing in what sense?
It's basic economics. Companies that have shifted towards subscriptions (Adobe, Autodesk, Amazon, Ultimate Software, Disney pre-COVID, etc.) have significantly higher valuations when they shift their services to subscriptions for obvious reasons.
Shouldn't that kind of terrify you? Microsoft is not known to be a good corporate citizen when they have a monopoly.
Microsoft is about as far up in there as anyone could get with the possible exceptions of Lockheed or Boeing, and they now own GitHub, NPM, LinkedIn, and others. Go into the concentration camps down in Texas and they’re running Exchange on Windows, happily provided by Microsoft. One day they’ll be regarded as IBM is today for so eagerly participating in the holocaust. (Or, hopefully, moreso, as IBM seems to have recovered and is even branding things Watson after their founder who met personally with Hitler.)
Amazon, operators of Twitch and now Luna (and of course AWS) actually built and maintain a custom, airgapped, on-prem AWS region for the CIA, on CIA property, to hold their spying data (and presumably drone videos and the like). They run a whole special AWS internet-connected region just for the US government, too, with the associated dictated-by-federal-regulation racist hiring policies for staff that can enter the building.
I see zillions of people happily using Twitch, and I wonder what percentage of them know that they’re giving money and brand awareness to an organization that helps the US military conduct mass murder by drone, or run a global network of torture prisons where anyone the CIA likes can be held forever without trial.
I’m super angry about the subscriptionization of software, to be sure, and I’ll cosign your rant. I’m making a point of switching to Davinci Resolve (Blackmagic) from Premiere because they specifically reject Adobe’s bullshit “pay for this FOREVER” model and let you buy it outright up front.
I’m far more worried, though, about what happens when a majority of people are necessarily furnishing their data wholesale to companies who will happily provide all of their user data to their largest customer, the US military, on demand, without oversight. I think that’s a far bigger danger to a society that already appears in many respects to have become a military dictatorship.
I sure hope I’m wrong about where all of this is headed, because it looks really, really bad.
Apologies for jumping on board the rant thread.
* Many subscription services have managed to return good value to consumers, for example Netflix. Other services are more contentious but I would argue are also good value: Amazon Prime, Spotify, and Costco.
* I've never worked at a large tech enterprise company but I believe the following statement to be true: Large companies are risk averse and can only focus on a handful of board-approved moonshots at a time. Seeing another large company do it serves as a carpool lane for it being approved. Employees at company #2 are incentivized to work on (and be bullish towards) those cloned projects because they offer the most opportunity for quick advancement.
I personally find it hilarious that the "smartest minds" at "the best companies" are still doing little more then a grown-up game of monkey-see monkey-do.
I still worry about these streaming platforms. Ease of use goes up, but it turns the industry into a subscription economy.
Maybe attention fulfillment maps better to subscription than to purchase, as there's less buyer's remorse? I still don't like it.
You distribute with Amazon Luna, I assume you get some sort of money, something like for every hour played on X game you get $0.0000005 or something silly like that. Basically you get a rough amount of money from people playing your game every month.
I fail to see how that is any different then a Steam or GameStop based distribution.
You find a publisher, they setup and get all the boxes/discs/what ever figured you and every month you get a cheque of all your sales.
From a game developer point of view, it's the exact same.
Even better than that, you could get $0.0000005 for every hour spent playing or watching on twitch. Or maybe separate numbers for twitch vs plays, but in theory does Amazon care if a million people play alone and don't broadcast, or if one person plays and a million people watch?
They don't need to pay additional money, they don't need to install it. One advantage is that there's no barrier to trying out your game. The other is that your game now runs on anything.
Just look at all the games people never even get to entertain the idea of playing because they only own a tablet, macbook, underpowered computer, wrong/no console, etc. Getting your game into their hands through a service like this surely impacts your business.
I don't buy much, but when I do, I purchase things and use them often. I don't rent much at all. Moviegoing and attending concerts are my biggest "rental" purchases.
Then they're pretty damn slow at making it, considering Stadia's first demo came out almost 2 years ago.
Interesting that they positioned it as a new product and not a prime offering, as increasing prime subs was always one of amazon's main drives recently (keep spinning that flywheel).
They had a similar streaming integration with their games engine lumberyard iirc, and used it for some of their first party titles though as far as I remember, none of their first party games have taken off.
Interestingly, in googling I found there is a "prime gaming" option that amazon has, so I'm surprised this offering wasn't folded into that. Maybe the low uptake of prime gaming means they need to position it as a separate service to get press for it, or maybe the increased cost to serve can't be justified without charging an additional subscription.