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Luna – Cloud gaming service (amazon.com)
267 points by metahost on Sept 24, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 284 comments



I'm not sure I would get back on one of these. I used OnLive back in the day, but now I can't play those games any more. It was a subscription with lock-in, and now that it's out of business I can't even choose to be locked in.

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'm an avid cloud gamer. I used GeForce NOW at first, but it had limited game selection.

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.


I can highly recommend Shadow aswell, a friend of mine uses it and for online multiplayer it is a really nice option. It I didn’t own a decent PC I probably would choose that to play my Steam games.


Does it have a time limitation? I mean if this has the power of a Nvidia 1080 for 13€/month one could surely use this as a blender renderfarm 24/7...


I was actually thinking about the same with respect to training machine learning models; but I think they might have something in terms and conditions prohibiting that


Auto shutdown after 15-30 min of inactivity, keepalive stuff is against tos and permbannable

Must keep clicking/typing into it


+1 for Shadow. I can play competitive FPS games and actually beat people running traditional rigs.

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.


Also going to sound like an ad, but I stream PC VR from a cloud Shadow PC to my Oculus Quest over 5GHz Wi-Fi (effectiveness is really dependent on your proximity to their data centers) but it is really remarkable how effective it is. It is more lag than streaming from a local PC but not to the point where most games are unplayable. I can also play the same games with the same saves from my phone with their app using a Bluetooth-paired gaming controller. Couldn't be happier with their service.


Shadow is great - for a few dollars a month, I have a full second PC so my kid can play along with me.


I have tons of PC games I "own" but can't play anymore. One of my favorite tycoon games was Sid Meier's Railroads, but it can't run stable on any machine with more than 4GB of RAM. Sure I could spin up a Windows XP VM but that's not a reasonable solution in any way. Same thing with Full Spectrum Warrior, just doesn't run on modern OSes. I can play Unreal Tournament 2003 or older Call of Duty games or... if I can find someone to play with, playing the maps and modes I want to play. I also have more than a handful of online and MMO games that I "own" but can't play because the servers are shut off.

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.


PC gaming has always had an element of troubleshooting and workarounds to get them working on some systems. I play lot's of old games, and it's rare if ever that I can't find patches or workarounds to get them working.

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.


I'm still playing some MMO-games that had their servers shut down thanks to people developing emulated servers and recreating the game world. Asherons Call is one, Planetside 1 another. I know similar efforts exists in a lot of MMO's.


Have you tried gog.com? They support the games they sell, and often patch them so they can work on newer versions of windows (or if old enough, provide a custom dosbox launcher).

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.


GOG is excellent for this reason and my experience playing older/unsupported games from them is top-notch. It stings to buy an older game again, but they're almost always inexpensive, and you can say, "Well, this is the very last time I'm going to purchase HoMM3" (or your game of choice).

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.


My Steam account has 282 game going back 15 years. I'm sure there's a few that don't work anymore, but I've never come across one. PC has a great compatibility track record even if a few games from the early 2000's don't work.


I recently reinstalled Assasins Creed 2, and discovered that it was unable to load levels or start a new game.

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?)


DX9 will never die (ballmer_dance.gif)


If "doesn't run on newer systems" is your criteria, those days never existed (and any point in time is probably the one with the most options to run past games, due to emulation/compatibility fixes improving). Games relying on servers are a newer issue though indeed.


FYI, when it comes to Railroads specifically, you can work around that in 2 minutes with a hex editor:

https://steamcommunity.com/app/7600/discussions/0/3522158440...

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.


Give a try to Wine/Proton; often they have better compatibility with older games than Windows itself.


If you've used GFN, then you know that most game use Steam Cloud so your saves aren't locked in. Stadia has also claimed they let you export your save files.


Except it's notoriously flaky. I've lost several save games and support has said everything from I'm lying, it's my router, and ghosting me. Can't use a provider that doesn't take data protection seriously.


That's strange. Do you properly shutdown the game and wait for it to sync before closing the instance?


If this is a buffet option I don't mind possible obsolescence myself.


The price looks really good compared to Stadia, and being able to use a dirt cheap Fire Stick that many already have instead of a $100 hardware investment is a huge plus. To really drive adoption they could cut the price of the controller and make some games available for Prime members.

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 agree that we should not declare it as without obstacles. But neither as useless because it doesn't meet the demand of "gamers"

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.


Worth mentioning that one of the most popular games on twitch right now is Among Us which basically has SNES graphics


Incidentally, that game does have some slightly-complicated timing in specific cases, and a lag spike leading to revealing who is the bad guy would ruin an entire round.


> a lag spike leading to revealing who is the bad guy

This has happened to me...


When my GPU died I still could play most 3d games at 720p on my iGPU. I'm sure you could play 70% of all games ever made directly on a cheap AMD APU system that would cost $300 at most.


The current monthly price is just for early access. It says on the page that the price will change on the full launch, but does not say what it will change to.


I don’t know, I got playstation now a year ago and played a bunch of games in the cloud with my playstation and it worked pretty flawlessly. I was surprised.


In my experience the video compression on PS Now is very noticeable, especially in dark scenes. Lag is usually fine at least for games that aren't particularly lag sensitive, but there are days when it's spiking so much it's unplayable (and online games installed locally are fine). I haven't been using the streaming much recently, though: now that it lets you download most PS4 games there's not much point to the streaming except for those games that require it or quickly trying out a game or playing on a non-PS4 device.


I used it mostly to try out games, and then because I didn’t have enough disk space due to freaking warzone. But yeah the rest never bothered me.


>The price looks really good compared to Stadia, and being able to use a dirt cheap Fire Stick that many already have instead of a $100 hardware investment is a huge plus.

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.


You can also use any bluetooth controller and Xbox One with Luna it says. And the Fire TV stick 4k is 25$ right now.

So it does seem there are lower entry options for TV use.


The Venn diagram for target audience and situational use cases of these services has always seemed very small to me.

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.


Bear in mind: While very few consumers benefit from cloud-based gaming, the outcome of dragging consumers over to it for businesses is huge.

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[1] 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.

[1] 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.


You may speak for yourself but you most certainly do not speak for every consumer, regardless of how many superlatives you use.

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.


I found Adobe opaque and difficult to work with. Subscriptions are presented with an $x/month but you have to pay for a year. Cancelling, at least at the time I last dealt with them, was also very difficult: I paid for a year, but then wanted to cancel auto-renewal: Nope! I'd have to wait until the last 30 days of my subscription. Since then I've decided to suck it up and deal with Gimp and Inkscape even if they lack some features and feel a bit clunky at times.


If you only need the basic stuff , lookup application portables.


I think the problem with Cloud gaming is the latency. And the network requirements push it to solving a problem for a very small subset of users (games which where latency doesn't matter can usually dont need cloud gaming).


The primary issue is the games catalog, something neither Amazon or Google can crack a dent in


Yes. All I want is a latency-optimized EC2 (I'm no twitch gamer, <= 25ms is fine) instance with a decent streaming client on pc/mobile. Let me decide to install steam or epic or origin or whatever and use my own stuff.

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.


25ms is a huge ask


Even locally, on a console, you’ll not get latency (input to visible response on screen) down to 25ms these days.

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...


I believe that's the joke. I wish latency was getting better but every new thing that comes along moves the acceptance further away. Many don't even notice 500 ms delay from click to something actually happening. On my Atari I often had the feeling something started happening before the mouse button was all the way down.


I can't believe that people wouldn't notice 500ms of latency when playing a game. Even 150-200ms is very noticeable.


Sure, in 3D games it's a different topic but I have seen people playing with wireless mouse that lags behind quite significantly without noticing.


It's no better than my normal broadband, which is 10 to 20ms, but I suppose you're right. I've streamed games with up to 100ms without much issue with input lag so I suppose that would be fine, although 100ms would probably be too high for some types of games & multiplayer.


Under 25ms is less than current game consoles deliver. Most deliver around 100ms latencies.


I think you're missing the point: Yes, multiple pieces of equipment in the process adds some ms in between input, computer processing it, and screen outputting it.

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.


fwiw the Adobe Photography plan requires a 1-year commitment (paid monthly) and has an early termination fee if you do try to cancel, so it's not as straightforward.


> I like that I can dip my toes in and out of the Photoshop ecosystem without having to shell out hundreds up front.

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 will not play shooter or strategy games with a controller.

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


The nationwide fibre in NZ means that latency from Auckland to anywhere with fibre is very low. Cloud gaming could arrive in NZ just as soon as Azure does!


I don't have a controller. Mouse + Keyboard works well in Stadia (I played Doom Eternal). Stable low latency internet is a must though.


> very few consumers benefit from cloud-based gaming

> 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.


> and never have to worry about sitting around for hours waiting for updates or downloads

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 game data I have to wait around to download.

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.


Even then, it would still be massively more efficient for the game to just stream in the assets in the background while playing, while still rendering everything locally. WoW, for one, has done that for years.

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.


You’re missing the point. Most people don’t want to download a video instead of streaming directly, which is a far lower barrier than procuring equipment, dealing with compatibility issues, doing system updates etc. I doubt competitive gamers will ever move across but it hugely reduces the barriers for casual or time poor gamers.


If you only have 30 minutes a month, you’re not the target audience.

It’s also wildly expensive at that point. How much are you paying to game per hour? Much more than going to a movie.


30 minutes is a bit of a trite example but if you only have say less than 10 hours a month the dollars/hour for owning your own your own hardware looks a lot worse than the subscription model.


I think its interesting how almost all content has gone to streaming and subscriptions but games have not. The way most people use games seems to be fundamentally different though. I listen to new music every day so subscriptions work best. With games I always play the same stuff, I buy a new game once every few months so a subscription would cost me more.


If games go subscription there will be less money for the big developers. Netflix is a net looser and selling dvds makes more money for publishers.


I think this is a long tail type issue, assuming publishers can find a way to get a profit sharing agreement from the service providers based on time played. In the short of things, publishers make some money on each sale and then monetize on micro transaction, season passes, etc. The clear push towards “games as a service” from all the big publishers reflects this line of thought, i.e. we want to keep making money from this forever (or as long as the company can be counted on to actually run the service). But, and I admit this part assumes some form of payment to the publisher based on continued play, if the game is played via streaming subscription (which would probably have tiers or some such for access to individual publisher’s libraries) then the publishers can in theory keep making money on a finished product over the long-term.

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.


I haven't used office products unless obligated too in ~6 years. cloud based options, even terrible cloud based options like quip are an order of magnitude better than word. It's faster to open the documents I care about, easier to share, easier to collaborate, and just plain faster.

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.


At this point, even after Stadia, if Amazon is getting into, and i trust Amazon biz and market analytics more than Google or Xbox, the only conclusion I can come to is that they know the venn diagram is small but they must have data showing that it's getting bigger. They must be targeting people growing up just playing on their phones already paying subscription who want to play those cool AAA games with the smallest investment possible. That's me backing into this conclusion. I'll look forward to see what the next Deconstructor of Fun podcast says about this. They focus on the biz/money part of games and have been appropriately bearish on streaming (Stadia) in the past.


The latency is the only “situational use case” to care about. This has been mitigated more and more. The rest is just gatekeeping gamers imagining what a larger group of wallets would care about and being strong. Chronic problem in that community. Isnt the biggest protest amongst enthusiast gamers based around at what point they will pay the company anyway? Hard to take any stance there seriously when there is zero power over what happens, companies dont get cancelled, 2% of their audience just doesnt preorder the thing they were going to buy anyway, amazing.

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.


It's not just people gatekeeping, developers are usually going to target whatever gives them the biggest return. PC games have been gimped for a long time because the developers make sure the game runs on consoles as well, and if cloud gaming takes off, it'll be even less likely that people develop games with PC players in mind. I can't blame people for wanting cloud gaming to fail; if it's succesful it could cause major changes to their hobby as games are developed for the lowest common denominator.


Not to mention it makes modding dead on arrival. I get it, most gamers do not mod. But being able to write mods and work with Microsoft Flight Simulator in the 90s is what got me hooked on computing in the first place.


F


First, you have people who are "real" gamers. Whatever that means, but we'll define it as owning some piece of hardware that was bought for the purpose of gaming (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC). This number is between 250-500 million people.

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.


> Why do people still think Amazon and Google can compete with this?

Maybe their target demographics are different, they want attract a new set of gamers who were not serious about gaming earlier.


I used to care about those things and then I had kids and my priorities changed and I just want real quick access to 45 mins of media or games.

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.


Hawe you actually tried Stadia or Geforce Now?


I don't have fiber, so I'm at the mercy of how much demand there is for Comcast at any given time. Sometimes it works great, other times not so much. I'd rather just install games locally like with Game Pass, Steam, or EPIC. My local computer can handle these games just fine. I'm definitely not the target audience since I can afford the hardware.

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


You don't need fiber. As for use cases, i just now played an hour of The Division 2 on my laptop (with intel integrated gpu) using 4g connection from my phone.


You do if you don't want lag or weird graphical artifacts. You need fiber if you want a local install experience.


1. You'll never have a local install experience

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.


The experience playing on 4g was about the same or even better than local install with Geforce 1050.


My connection degrades depending on peak demand, because cable, and because internet duopolies. It's great that yours doesn't, but that's not reality for everyone.

Also for most people in the US, 4G has significant usage caps.


Also - not everyone lives in the US :)


That’s why I brought it up. Our internet services are worse than most industrialized countries. It’s both slower and more expensive. To my knowledge only Canada’s internet services are worse


Currently, Ookla ranks the US's average fixed broadband speeds as 11th globally. This outranks Sweeden, Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Portugal, Israel, Poland, Germany, Finland, Belgium, Russia, Estonia, the Netherlands, and so many others. It might be more expensive than many other countries, but its definitely not the slowest average internet out there.

https://www.speedtest.net/global-index


I used to live in both Taiwan's and Japan's major metros. I have doubts that they are slower and more expensive than the US's metros unless their fiber network was somehow destroyed.


Depending on the time frames in question, it easily could have been that Japan and Taiwan had massively faster internet on average. Ten years ago, a 10Mbit connection here in the US seemed to be pretty dang fast.[0] However, speeds in many metro areas in the US have massively caught up to the rest of the world. Rural areas are still often left in the cold, but in many cities its not uncommon to find 200Mbit+ residential internet connections available. And like I've mentioned elsewhere, gigabit is available in literally hundreds of towns in the US. The average AT&T internet user these days has ~99Mbit, the 90th percentile having 323Mbit.[1] I doubt that was the case even five years ago. So its not a case of Japan or Taiwan's major fiber metro areas getting destroyed, but more of the US finally getting good metro fiber deployed to more customers. Maybe the internet hasn't changed in the last decade where you're at in the US, but its very different in many other areas.

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.

[0] https://transition.fcc.gov/national-broadband-plan/broadband... [1] https://broadbandnow.com/ATT-speed-test


> The only place I ca think of in the US with fiber are university dorms

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.

https://broadbandnow.com/report/fiber-optic-availability-map...

https://www.att.com/shop/internet/gigapower/coverage-map.htm...

https://www.verizon.com/home/fiosavailability/


Just tried Geforce now as I spotted they had a free offering that links to my Steam library.

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 8.8.8.8. 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 ;)


I disagree, I think pay once for a game probably matches better with the VEnn diagram of the target audience, which probably are people who don't game enough to buy a whole console/PC, but want to try the latest NBA or big game like Cyberpunk. Paying a one time 60$ for one game seems better than subscription if you play a few hours a week.


being able to game while also being cheap laptop only is something huge numbers of teens with disposable pocket money have. These services (fortnite, csgo, etc) want the billions all those pocket money slices add up to.


Apple modified Safari so that Amazon was able to launch Luna on iOS:

> “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.

https://www.engadget.com/luna-amazon-cloud-gaming-interview-...


I was really surprised to see "iOS" in the promotional stuff, considering game streaming on AppStore has been a huge issue in the past few months. Turns out, another Apple team has been helping them bypass the AppStore entirely!

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.


Imagine if more devs used the original vision for iOS to release apps: open technologies delivered to the home screen.

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.)


That'd be great if Apple hadn't been sabotaging the web on iOS for years.


Curious what it is. I'm guessing it's not WebGL cause the game isn't running locally. Maybe they're treating it as some kind of special real-time video stream?


My first hunch was that it's something related to input. Maybe making sure input is not delayed when streaming video.


Has anyone tried a Stadia before? I've remained doubtful about game streaming because it seems like the latency is such a hard problem to overcome. In any game that requires even a bit of precision and fast reaction, 30-100ms of latency can feel pretty bad.

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).


I use Stadia pretty regularly as my sole gaming platform, and so far its been pretty amazing for games like Assassin's Creed and even FPS games like Destiny 2. I encounter noticeable stutters a couple of times every hour or so, but for the most part its as if I'm playing on actual local hardware. Also, the loading speeds are blazing fast - its made me very optimistic about how the gaming experience can improve in the years to come due to the underlying compute being elastic instead of limited to your own box. I'm someone who held off on buying a console for years due to the cost, so for me Stadia has been an absolute blessing.


I think this is an area where instead of optimizing local hardware, it's all about optimizing network connections. Stadia works great for me for 10-20 minutes until I get a 10 second long stutter (WiFi, router in a different room). I'd imagine the experience is way better with an ethernet connection. I just wish for single player games, Stadia cloud could detect I'm lagging and pause the game.


Surprisingly stadia actually works pretty well with a few caveats. Primarily hardwired and using chromecast. I have a subscription, but i'm at the point of cancelling because my original intent was gaming when traveling, now we've been home so long I just use PC / Consoles.

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 have fiber at the moment and I've been using GeForce NOW on my wireless home network. I've been playing FPS games (Insurgency) and to be honest, I don't even notice I'm streaming outside of rare glitches.

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.


I play regularly, usually the experience is pretty flawless, there is the occasional stutter once in while and\or degradation of graphics.

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.


And the lack of other players in multiplayer games...


I played PUBG on stadia with users on consoles. It shows a little gamepad next to their name, whereas mine had the stadia logo. I never actually encountered another stadia player.


Unfortunate PUBG did not support cross-play like that for keyboard-and-mouse users.


I think you can try it free? I did a few months ago thinking it would suck but it's surprisingly good.

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 was going to give Stadia a try when Doom Eternal came out because I wanted to play it in 4K and only have a PS4. Backed out because of their announcement that it was not native 4k, as originally promised, but actually upscaling. Whether or not I would have known the difference is another story but the backtracking on something they had been so adamant about left a bad taste in my mouth.

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.


This bewildered me - they advertised 4k gaming and then it turned out the vast majority of games were running at like 1080p and being upscaled. Sending 1080p video at 4k seems incredibly wasteful and pointless.


Technically upscaling with machine learning can be amazing, and it's what most real-time renderers use nowadays. You won't be able to tell, and it can even add detail if the network is good. I'm not an expert though, but I suppose it can only get better?


According to this site there seems to be quite a few games that stream at 4K 30fps and 4K 60fps

https://stadiagamedb.com/


I was very skeptical about Stadia until a friend made me try it so we could play Destiny together.

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.


Using Stadia with my Chromecast wired to ethernet has been pretty incredible. Very rarely have I felt like I had a degraded gaming experience.


If you're curious, you can try out GeForce Now free of charge with any of its supported titles, they just limit your sessions to 1 hour and deprioritise you in the queue when there's high demand.

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.


I've been enjoying Stadia on a 2013 Linux PC with a ~30/8 (down/up) Mbps wi-fi. Both Destiny 2 and AC: Odyssey work great. Occasional hiccups, yes. No more than a few per hour. It doesn't bother me. The fact that I'm playing recent games on an old Linux PC still blows my mind occasionally.


I've tried both Nvidia GeForce Now and Stadia, and Stadia has been a much better experience. GeForce Now takes a few minutes to launch, and it's really wonky to tweak your mouse settings to make your mouse speed match what you're used to on your own computer. I also experienced terrible input lag on GeForce Now even on 600mbps wired internet and after turning on all of their recommended settings.

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 haven't tried stadia, but i have tried sony's alternative (PS Now) with a couple games. i'm a pretty casual gamer, and was playing some pretty casual games (grand theft auto, some car racing sim, and something else i forget), i'm not going to be as sensitive to latency as a lot of people probably, and it was completely unplayable for me.

i guess it must work for some people, but my 100Mb canadian internet was definitely not good enough.


Yeah, I tried it back when there was a free trial. For what it was, it was pretty impressive to be able to just start playing the game without installing anything. That being said the experience is just plain worse than playing locally. Resolution/graphics quality was worse, input lag was definitely present, and other limitations like lack of crossplay. It's got its niche but I probably won't use it again.


I tried OnLive, LiquidSky and GeForce Now.

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.


I believe there is (was?) a trial for Stadia Pro if you want to try it.

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.


Can't comment on Stadia, but my Unifi UDM and WiFi routers weren't good enough for reliable game streaming. Had to go wired. With Gigabit Fiber (Centurylink in my case) it works extremely well on several cloud game streaming services.


I beta tested it for Assassin's Creed: Odyssey and it was pretty damn good. ~100ms on wifi didn't feel noticeable to me and I only disconnected a couple of times over a period of 2 months or so. This was on fiber, but not hardwired into the router.

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


> Remote Desktop in Windows, for example, feels laggy even on LAN

I'm not convinced by this, because RDP feels laggy even remoting to a vm on the same machine


I haven't tried Stadia. I tried PS Now on a wired connection, using a 1Gbps fiber connection.

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?


Not Stadia, but I've tried PS Now on Playstation 4. At least for the older-gen games it worked fairly well, but occasionally it'd get choppy. I'm not sure if that was a transient network blip on my end or somewhere between my end and whatever backend services PS Now runs on (AWS?).


Not Stadia, but PS Now. Ignoring the fact that it lets you install some of the games, the latency isn't really a big deal. It's nice having access to so many games as well that I can play in minutes.


I tried it out. I'm a very casual gamer. Some types of games cannot tolerate the extra latency. GRID, a racing sim, was basically unplayable. The input latency was too noticeable.

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.


I've played a lot of PUBG on PS4, and playing on Stadia is uncompetitive. I've switched back to PS4. A friend also switched back to PS4 for PUBG. I do not recommend PUBG for competitive FPS, but something like coop FPS is fine.


Not stadia but geforce now and I like it a lot.


I also like GeForce Now a lot. Works great with Gigabit Fiber.

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.


Same here. I like their model, as I can play most of my already-bought games on my MacBook. I don't want to buy another copy of a game on a new platform.


This feels like an appropriate place to rant on something that’s been bothering me for a while.

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 the gaming industry is segmented in a few universes these days. There's the universe of high budget AAA games, where decisions made by corporate execs often ruin great ideas, or you get the same exact game re-released every 1 or 2 years under slightly different name. There's the world of mobile gaming, where every single game seems to be the same gacha experience that trains you to open the app every minute to get timer-based dopamine drops. There's the indie games, where great ideas are implemented on low budget. There is the retro game universe. And others.

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.


> There's the indie games, where great ideas are implemented on low budget.

+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.


It's basically how the music world works too. There's big-budget pop artists that are occasionally good but usually crap. And then there's a ton of smaller artists of all mixtures of talent, but are often amazingly talented, and can be found at your local pub or music venue (or could be pre-covid).


I'm honestly most bothered by the fact that this is yet another slice of media that gets the "you rent it, you don't own it" treatment. I want to own my games, damn it, I don't want to rent it for a month. It's not about me feeling like I'm paying too much for games if I stay on a subscription for years just to play a game. It's about me wanting a hard (or digital) copy of a game I love because one day they might introduce an awful patch or licensing issues might push the game out of the service and, by proxy, my reach. I'm gonna keep supporting services like GOG and itchio that let me have games that I paid for because those seem optimal to me.


> "you rent it, you don't own it"

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.


This is the worst. Microsoft killed so many games when they shut down their Games for windows live DRM.


I hate this as well. This is not just software: it's becoming increasingly difficult to acquire DRM-free digital goods (i.e. products that I can guarantee I will be able to use in 10-15 years), and in some cases, video in particular, I don't think that there has ever been a marketplace where I could legally buy DRM-free products (there are niche sites, of course, but I mean a generic store, like a bandcamp for movies). Music is an exception, fortunately. For now.

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.


> Music is an exception, fortunately. For now.

Even then only if you're lucky

https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,89818.0.html

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110809/04114515451/umg-w...


I find this odd because I think historically most people haven't purchased entertainment. Libraries have always been common for books, more people listen to a song on the radio then on a CD they own, people watched TV on broadcast or cable before Netflix, and most movies are watched in the theaters or rented then on a DVD they own. Games have been weird for being something you have to buy.


A book is just a book. It doesn't go away, you don't need a complicated setup to read it. If you like it, you can still buy it. Games could be rented too before blockbuster folded.

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.


The real difference is books are a single use item. You read it and then largely its useless. The same game can be played for years.


Not historically, surely? People didn't tend to rent chess boards.

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.


Historically, people in general have wanted to own some content, but been ok with a fungible form for most of the content they consume. But it was nice to know that for any piece of content, someone out there owned it and it would not be lost. Lending was also a rich social interaction.

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.


Records were exclusively owned. Theaters and DVD rentals were never subscriptions, they were rentals.

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.


The weird thing here is the purchase of the "idea of the rules" instead of a copy of the rules.

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.


It all boils down to $$$, of course.

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.


> 3. Singleplayer games are dead

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.


> You cannot touch the sacred cow $60 game price. You can go lower, you cannot go higher.

Several AAAs for the upcoming gens are going higher.

https://www.businessinsider.com/video-game-price-increase-60...


> 3. Singleplayer games are dead

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.


1. $70 is going to be standardized for the next generation. Also $60 may have stayed the price of a AAA product but most big budget games have plenty of ways to let you spend more money, even outside of live services games

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.


Regarding point 1, it is wrong. Every new game has the $60 version, but also has the ultimate/deluxe/premium/season-pass/whatever version that costs up to $90 or $120 that you can buy on day one and often will even give you extra content on day one. The $60 purchase is not the full product anymore.


> 1. You cannot touch the sacred cow $60 game price. You can go lower, you cannot go higher.

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.


> encourage longer titles with lots of grinding/farming

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.


On the other hand, a Playstation 5 is $500 plus $50-$70 per game. A PC is even more expensive for the latest hardware. At $6/month it would take you 7 years before it costs you more renting than owning at which point there could be a PS6 and more games to buy.

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.


Well there is already Sneakers-As-A-Service so it just feels natural that every company will try to screw consumers into that tactic since a lot of people joins it for "perveiced" convenience

https://www.on-running.com/en-us/cyclon


Wow, tearing down all of the bullshit in that site deserves its own submission but for now I will just focus on one thing: $30.00 per month for running shoes. What?

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.


Also,

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?


Add that to your aaS bullshit filter.


I don't think games as a subscription service will necessarily work out as well as for movies and television. At least at the moment, buying games can be so cheap (if you wait 1-2 years after releases) and games are usually so long that it's probably quite hard to release a subscription service that beats just waiting for sales. Also, I'm not sure how much the third-party developers that are not owned by Amazon/MS et. al. will make of these services; if they decide not to put their games on the service (or after years when sales are already occuring), it would already be a blow to these services.

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.


I'm partial to the subscription service model because most of my life I could barely afford a console or a gaming PC to play a lot of games, so it seems much more accessible.

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.


Yea but other than streaming, we've been seeing exclusives slowly disappear over the past generation. They still exist but are becoming much less common.

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.


Taking this to some sort of terminal conclusion ("all games will be rented and streamed") is going too far.

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.


> Are we going to have exclusive games requiring multiple subscriptions to enjoy the content you want?

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.


With Google Stadia you can still purchase the game and play it forever.


"Forever" - so until Google kills it in a year or two.


Well, that's how console gaming and most e-shops work. You get to play until the hardware generation phases out.


Which is why so many in the gaming community prefer to buy physical games as opposed to digital downloads. At least with digital downloads you can quick download all of your purchases before a store closes down. With gaming streaming that shit's gone forever.


The real problem with the Physical vs Digital divide these days is that a lot of content is cloud based. So even with standalone discs, there's a reliance on online services to succeed / gain content.

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.


As long as you can access the games, you can get around the server closures. There are active online communities for PSP Monster Hunter and DS Pokemon games even though the online services shut down years ago.


I'm more concerned where the cloud is being used to render and manage content. Something like no mans sky, with the entire world existing on servers. Without it's going to be a long arduous reversing project to get it usable.


Google is particularly well known for killing off their less profitable services though.


This is roughly equivalent to DRM - you can play it so long as the service is available, but after that you lose it forever and are not getting a refund. So you aren't actually purchasing the game, you're renting the ability to use it so long as Stadia is operational.


s/purchase/perpetually license/


> 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.

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.


I'm not too worried about it personally, the only tech company I think that has a competitive offering in this space is Microsoft (with Game Pass and potentially xCloud). All others are doomed to fail.


You're not worried that Microsoft has the only competitive offering?

Shouldn't that kind of terrify you? Microsoft is not known to be a good corporate citizen when they have a monopoly.


No because I'm betting on the concept not being successful enough to become the dominant distribution method. I think it will have a successful niche, but not much more. I know that I never plan on using it, I already own over a thousand games and have barely played 10% of them. TBH I'm probably good for most of the rest of my life haha.


Well if you play borderlands 3 or another AAA title inside stadia and purchase you are already paying for game + gaming service + DLC...


I wouldn’t mind if subscription was something like 10 cents per hour played, not 30 bucks a month plus one off $50 fee.


I think that a bigger concern than subscription software (although, that’s a big concern) is that consolidation and the long game for control of the market is centralizing almost all of these major services into the hands of organizations that are large military vendors, fully integrated members of the military-industrial complex.

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.


Two major points:

* 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.


This was always Amazon's play with Twitch. Amazon will be able to make a much more compelling attempt at the market than Google with Stadia.

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.


Let's say you have a game, say you are Ubisoft.

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.

Which is...

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.


> 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

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?


The difference is that players don't need to invest anything to play your game, just like I don't need to buy or rent a specific DVD to watch a movie anymore.

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.


It's different for the end-user, yes. But from a developer/game business point of view it's the exact same. Maybe less earnings, but there isn't any details on that to confirm so it's just speculation.


Well, those UX considerations in my post are also business considerations.

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.


That's kind of where my headspace is as well. I tend to view subscription services as a way to look for stuff I like and when I've found stuff I like, I want to add it to my own library. Luna may be technically superior, but I will avoid it as long as I possibly can.


I'm the opposite I think. With the exception of video and board games, I don't own much of the media I consume. I read probably over a dozen books from the library for every one I buy and I think I've probably bought maybe 5 DVDs in the past decade. I listen to the radio a lot, but rarely buy an album.


I think this is where the disconnect lies for me.

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.


> This was always Amazon's play with Twitch

Then they're pretty damn slow at making it, considering Stadia's first demo came out almost 2 years ago.


Does anyone know the basic tech stack behind Luna? This landing page doesn't mention anything, and I'm dying to know if they're also going the Linux and Vulkan route of Stadia.


I read on another site they're using Windows and DirectX to maximize the amount of games that can be played without porting.


Since Lumberyard doesn't support Vulkan I doubt that this is using Vulkan at all. Most likely DirectX 12 or maybe OpenGL.


Since it hasn't been posted here, it looks like amazon have "productised" AppStream[0] and added a subscription based model a-la prime video.

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[1] iirc, and used it for some of their first party titles[2] 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"[3] 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.

[0] https://aws.amazon.com/appstream2/?blog-posts-cards.sort-by=...

[1] https://aws.amazon.com/lumberyard/

[2] https://www.amazongames.com/en-gb/games

[3] https://gaming.amazon.com/


Interesting. Disregarding my issues with Amazon as a company, on paper this looks like a better system then Google's Stadia, by actually having a netflix style access games for a monthly fee that I think most people expected Stadia to do.


It does feel like a improvement over Stadia. However the channels strategy does feel a bit like cable TV versus Xbox Game Pass Ultimate which is closer to a true Netflix style all you can play. I do think the post early access price, which will likely be higher then the current $5.99, will be the real deal breaker between this and Game Pass Ultimate.


Looks like they are going to have channels? Something like you pay $3 for Ubisoft games, or $5 for Blizzard games a month.


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