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The gaming subscription service thread (Game Pass, PS+ etc)


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2 hours ago, jonny_rat said:

I still can't make a bet on the whole idea of streaming replacing local play. For me it completely depends on whether people will adapt to the basic foibles of playing via stream - not just best-case latency, but variable latency, minor dropouts, etc. I am reasonably certain that there's a small group that will never adapt to it but I'm not so worried about them: what about the mass player base of today and the people who might potentially play games in the future? Especially if streaming services are built in to every TV - look at the new players that provides access to. How do they perceive differences of microsecond-level input?

 

I've got no bloody idea. A lot is riding on that mass market acceptable of a very slighty worse overall gaming experience (I don't even think infrastructure is going to remove those small differences) but I wouldn't bet either way. 

 

Streaming is worse quality than 4K discs but for most people they are happy to make the compromise for convenience. Games will go the same way. 

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13 minutes ago, ZOK said:


Well it’s a pointless proposition for most people who play games - they already own hardware so what’s the point?

 

I was in a peculiar position - I only had a Switch, which was the only console I’d owned since a 360, had no interest in current gen and then Cyberpunk came out which I wanted to play. Bizarrely it was reportedly the only decent version at the time other than PC, and you could get the full Stadia kit plus the game for £40! So that was worth a try for me, I thought what have I got to lose?

 

And amazingly it completely converted me to streaming. I’ve played stacks of stuff I wouldn’t have looked at otherwise, Sniper Elite 4, Control, Savage Planet, Saints Row 4, Resi 7, Dirt, Wrecked, Force Awakens, the Steamworlds, Destiny and a bunch of other things…it’s just been great.

For me it's going to be a big consideration in future years! I own hardware now, but anything that gets me one less box in the living room (or lets me play the same library in different places) could be a genuine attraction when it comes to the end of this generation. Not to mention actually getting out of the cycle of upgrading altogether. 

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6 minutes ago, McCoy said:

 

Streaming is worse quality than 4K discs but for most people they are happy to make the compromise for convenience. Games will go the same way. 

 

Yeah, just as we're getting these awesome OLED screens with lag down to less that 1 frame... hey! lets all go streaming with 150ms of added lag wooo!

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@McCoy I do think it's a little different (arguably not much) than streaming of video or audio. Netflix/Disney/Prime 4K is definitely technically worse than a Blu-ray but not to a point where you'd ever really tell. 4K is essentially pointless for most people in most circumstances anyway, and the "good enough" barrier is more than exceeded by the current state of compression on those things.

 

I think we're not quite there yet for games, reliably enough. Even Stadia (which seems to be something of a high water mark for streaming today?) has had noticeably more input lag than the same game on my console, and visibly lower video quality. If you assume that inevitably improves (as it will) maybe that gap narrows to an imperceptible level - I don't know. We all always assume the relentless march of technology and capitalism solves everything, but the investments needed to bring those datacentres close enough to everyone is astronomical. Maybe it's just inevitable. I think it being the default universal way of gaming is still a ways out.

 

I don't think the one-way streaming of video and audio services faces that same hurdle. The lack of interactivity and ability to put higher quality behind a slightly slower startup time is immensely helpful.

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6 minutes ago, McCoy said:

Streaming is worse quality than 4K discs


Well there’s the rub…I play Stadia on an LG CX and the ‘4K quality’ is immaculate. Presumably there could be some marginal improvement if I played the same game on a 4K capable box plugged directly into the same telly but I’ll never know, so it’s immaterial. What I already see is spectacular.

 

These kind of arguments are only going to hold for ‘enthusiasts’.

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2 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

 

Yeah, just as we're getting these awesome OLED screens with lag down to less that 1 frame... hey! lets all go streaming with 150ms of added lag wooo!

Yeah seriously fuck that shit. Streaming may be the future but sat here playing Returnal I’m thinking, not yet, not for a long time. 

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3 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

 

Yeah, just as we're getting these awesome OLED screens with lag down to less that 1 frame... hey! lets all go streaming with 150ms of added lag wooo!


Which, in my experience, is imperceptible. I mean you’re not going to use it to host the International Halo Championship 2023, but I’m betting most people will experience it as I do.

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11 minutes ago, jonny_rat said:

For me it's going to be a big consideration in future years! I own hardware now, but anything that gets me one less box in the living room (or lets me play the same library in different places) could be a genuine attraction when it comes to the end of this generation. Not to mention actually getting out of the cycle of upgrading altogether. 


Yes, that’s the prime advantage for me. Lack of updates seems to be another benefit, but as my most modern console is the Switch I’ve no real experience of that either.

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6 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

 

Yeah, just as we're getting these awesome OLED screens with lag down to less that 1 frame... hey! lets all go streaming with 150ms of added lag wooo!

 

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2022-geforce-now-rtx-3080-review-is-cloud-gaming-finally-a-viable-alternative

 

Check those Destiny 2 and Outriders values. Hit a 120fps rate, and latency of 60ms is clearly not what you'll get locally: but the wider audience you can address won't give a shit.

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A pro Microsoft post incoming, feel free to skip.

 

The last few pages have been really interesting, sparked by @HarMGM's thoughtful post. 

 

I'm generally "in" on Microsoft stuff, have been forever. Our household has bought 3 Surface devices. I've paid for more of their OSes than I've yarred. But where they've got corporate generally right, they continually get consumer wrong. Not necessarily the wrong thing, but the wrong time/approach. There are so many examples of this I don't know where to start. And, of course, it's hard enough to get a small company pulling in the same direction, much less the sprawl of MS.

 

My sense is that the broad 360-end/XB1-start period at Microsoft was a misstep. The whole leadership got stuff wrong, or executed things in a way that were wrong. That seems to be changing, in loads of ways but specifically for gaming Phil seems to have a clue what people want, and they're executing on that. Would they have bothered if the XB1 vision was what we wanted? No, of course not. They'd have probably steamed ahead with 360 momentum and who knows where we'd be right now. So when I see Phil quoted as getting excited that MS now own the Hexen IP (I mean, when did any of us last think about that?) then I'm hopefully. Not in the console warz lol you have 97 studios but where are the games way, but in a "I'm bought into this ecosystem anyway, and getting good value out of it, so looking forward to seeing where this goes" way. I hope this newer way of doing things at MS means they don't fluff this bonkers amount of property they now have.

 

Quote

“I was looking at the IP list, I mean, let’s go!” Spencer said. "King’s Quest, Guitar Hero. ... I should know this but I think they got HeXen.”

https://www.vg247.com/phil-spencer-seems-rather-excited-over-activision-blizzards-library-of-ips

 

At the end of the day they're just providing shareholder value like anyone else, but while they continue to give something good in return, I'm in. I had to think how long ago I'd last paid for a full price game yesterday. Turns out it was nearly 2 years ago, ANCH. Thanks, Game Pass.

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4 hours ago, McCoy said:

 

Streaming is worse quality than 4K discs but for most people they are happy to make the compromise for convenience. Games will go the same way. 

 

Streaming video is totally different to streaming games.

 

You can buffer video ahead - you can't do this with games.

 

There are millions of people who don't have anywhere near the internet connection to stream games that can still stream 4k Netflix perfectly fine.

 

I think game streaming has a bright future but it's totally different than VOD, from a technical and performance standpoint.

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5 minutes ago, Isaac said:

You can buffer video ahead - you can't do this with games.


This isn’t exactly true, according to how Stadia do it. Apparently they get round lag so successfully with some sort of predictive technology that anticipates what any of your future inputs might be, creates the potential states and and serve you the one that corresponds with what you actually do, which is why any lag is functionally imperceptible to the player. So in a sense they are buffering.

 

Or it’s something like that anyway, I read about it on here but it’s too complicated for me.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, ZOK said:


This isn’t exactly true, according to how Stadia do it. Apparently they get round lag so successfully with some sort of predictive technology that anticipates what any of your future inputs might be, creates the potential states and and serve you the one that corresponds with what you actually do, which is why any lag is functionally imperceptible to the player. So in a sense they are buffering.

 

Or it’s something like that anyway, I read about it on here but it’s too complicated for me.

 

 


My cpu is a neural net processor, a learning computer. 

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How do people think they eliminate input lag then, by magic? Because we will all remember everyone heehawing when Stadia came out that Google couldn’t possibly make it work because of physics…and yet it does. Lag is imperceptible. 

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2 minutes ago, ZOK said:

How do people think they eliminate input lag then, by magic? Because we will all remember everyone heehawing when Stadia came out that Google couldn’t possibly make it work because of physics…and yet it does. Lag is imperceptible. 

I can perceive it. 

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1 minute ago, Stanley said:

I can perceive it. 


I’m sure you can, you are infamous on here for having an irrational fear of Stadia working, and will no doubt ‘perceive’ accordingly.

 

Speaking as a normal human being who has put hundreds of hours into games on Stadia in 2021, I can’t. Zero input lag is perceptible to me. If it was, I wouldn’t use it, because the experience as a gaming device would be ruined.

 

And yet I do. Because it works perfectly. :sherlock:

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16 minutes ago, ZOK said:


I’m sure you can, you are infamous on here for having an irrational fear of Stadia working, and will no doubt ‘perceive’ accordingly.

 

Speaking as a normal human being who has put hundreds of hours into games on Stadia in 2021, I can’t. Zero input lag is perceptible to me. If it was, I wouldn’t use it, because the experience as a gaming device would be ruined.

 

And yet I do. Because it works perfectly. :sherlock:

I’m infamous? Go me. I think you’ve already admitted earlier that you have nothing to compare it to, and if you did you might notice it, or whatever. Ignorance is bliss I suppose. 
 

I don’t have an irrational fear of it it working btw, why would I? 

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Theres obviously still some lag in Stadia, just look at Digital Foundrys recent writeup on the 3080 of Geforce Now, but its good enough that a lot of people wouldn't notice it or get used to it very quickly. 

 

Going from CRTs to LCD almost certainly introduced more lag to gaming at the start of the 360 generation but people accepted that because the pros outweighed the cons. Stadia has its issues, and I doubt Stadia Pro will be around at the end of the year, but hitting buy/claim on a Stadia game and the way it just changes to a play button is still fantastic.  

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17 minutes ago, Stanley said:

I’m infamous? Go me. I think you’ve already admitted earlier that you have nothing to compare it to, and if you did you might notice it, or whatever. Ignorance is bliss I suppose. 
 

I don’t have an irrational fear of it it working btw, why would I? 


Why would I need to compare it to anything? It’s imperceptible. That means I don’t perceive it.

 

But you misread. I have a Switch, which also has no perceptible input lag. And they feel exactly the same to me.

 

But maybe I’m just not perceiving hard enough? :sherlock:

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Just now, ZOK said:


Why would I need to compare it to anything? It’s imperceptible. That means I don’t perceive it.

 

But you misread. I have a Switch, which also has no perceptible input lag. And they feel exactly the same to me.

 

But maybe I’m just not perceiving hard enough? :sherlock:

If it makes you happy then it’s fine. 

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11 minutes ago, TehStu said:

Just search for "google stadia input prediction". I guess it's prediction and so will have misses versus hits.

I could only see things saying it was something they'd be able to do in future, not clearly stating it was doing it now, but the main source was a 2019 PC Gamer article. Are they doing it now?

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13 minutes ago, TehStu said:

Just search for "google stadia input prediction". I guess it's prediction and so will have misses versus hits.


From that it seems like they said they wanted to do it*. But it doesn’t sound to me like they have done it. It opens a can of worms I guess around how many paths can it do and what are the additional processing and network overheads of doing that.

 

* lots of “we will” in 2019 and one Reddit discussion last year suggesting it wasn’t done

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