Game Streaming Platforms and Technology (PSNow, Stadia, xCloud)

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by lefantome, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. tongue_of_colicab

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    No. Even if a couple of years from now the average 5g connection would be affordable enough, come with enough bandwidth and low enough latency, you still are going to have to deal with the fact to when you are out on the road coverage is going to be spotty (mountains, tunnels, low populated areas) or not existent (air travel). So basically the times you are most likely to want to play, you won't be able to.
     
  2. Xbat

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    Yes but I'm thinking more about commuting in a city or using your handheld around the house.
     
  3. Megadrive1988

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    Apparently, the Microsoft xCloud streaming console is still in development. Not to be confused with Lockhart, which has seemingly been scrapped.

    July 2, 2019



    July 23, 2018
    https://www.thurrott.com/xbox/163896/details-microsofts-xbox-scarlett-game-streaming-service

    "The second ‘console’ that the company is working on is a lower-powered device that is currently planned to ship with the next generation device that is designed for game-streaming. But the catch here is that Microsoft thinks it has figured out how to handle the latency sensitive aspects of gaming.

    The cloud console will have a limited amount of compute locally for specific tasks like controller input, image processing, and importantly, collision detection. The downside of this is that it since more hardware is needed locally, it will raise the price of the streaming box but it will still cost significantly less than what we are accustomed to paying for a new-generation console which should help expand the platform’s reach.

    And that is very important as Microsoft doesn’t typically make much money on the hardware sales but they do on things like Xbox Live, Xbox Gamepass, and game sales. If Microsoft can create a next-gen console that requires lower up-front payment and longer subscription payments (remember, all games will run in the cloud, so you will need to pay ‘something’ to access them), this is a huge win for Xbox and Microsoft.

    The portion of the game that runs locally, some have referred to it as a slice or splice, means that the game is ‘running’ in two locations at the same time and utilizes Microsoft’s cloud to stitch it all together.

    The benefit here is that Microsoft’s cloud platform reaches around the globe with data centers in every major market. This makes streaming the games platform available globally but this also likely means that it can run on any type of device. Of course, Microsoft would love you to buy their hardware but the company’s end-goal is that you can access ‘Xbox’ from any device, anywhere and Scarlett Cloud is looking to deliver on this idea.

    One person familiar with Microsoft’s plans said that this may reduce latency in all aspects of the game as well. If a multiplayer game is using Azure as it’s central server, Scarlett Cloud console will be closer physically to the multiplayer server resulting in less latency.

    When it comes to games, all Scarlett games will run on all Scarlett devices. Meaning, both consoles will be first-class citizens and there is not expected to be an awkward ‘this game only runs on the non-cloud Scarlett’."
     
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  4. Alucardx23

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    Can someone help me with a definition of Elastic Rendering?

    "To be fair, people have SSDs in their PCs already, so it’s not that much of a revolution. Streaming is a very important technology for modern games, so the faster you can stream your data, you can put more of it, and you’re going to have higher quality assets, which is pretty much what everybody expects there to be. The big questions are going to be how much memory do you get to actually do that? Is there sufficient memory to fool around with? How much CPU power are we getting? Because that’s also important, but it’s the classic things that we see with every generation. I mean, how much GPU power do we get? But at the end of the day, it’s always going to be more, it’s going to be more detailed, it’s going to allow us to do more accurate simulations.

    I think that the more interesting question is how stuff like Google Stadia will change things. It gives developers something different. In the data center, these machines are connected to each other, and so you could start thinking of doing things like elastic rendering, like make a couple of servers together to do physics simulations that may not be possible on current local hardware. I think you’ll see a lot of evolution in this direction."

    "When you have an almost uncapped amount of computation sitting in a data centre that you can use to support your game design and ambition – whether it’s in vastly superior multiplayer, whether it’s in distributed physics, or massive simulation – there are things we can do inside a data center that you could never do inside a discreet, standalone device."

    https://wccftech.com/larian-ceo-cloud-can-allow-locally-impossible-physics/

     
    #144 Alucardx23, Jul 8, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  5. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    Elasticity Sounds like another way to describe adding more rendering resources when you need it.
    You build an API to support multi-adaptor in the cloud and when you require more power you submit to as many cloud based adaptors you need to do that type of work and then they compute the results and fire it back when you need it. The largest difference sounding unlike regular multi-adaptor setups, alternate frame rendering or split frame rendering is not supported, only the submission of compute workloads.
     
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  6. Shifty Geezer

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    Yep. I'm not overly impressed with the lack of details. His response to the impact of SSD is naive, suggesting the marginal improvements of PC SSDs is comparable with what we'll get next-gen in consoles designed around next-gen storage performance. I don't put much faith in it, just as I didn't the old XBone cloud power suggestions.

    Stadia will be able to afford an amount of processing power per user based on subscriptions and perhaps bolstered by other services repurposing hardware on downtime. That hardware will be finite. I suppose the best case is you have a game with a point in it that requires 3x the base performance, and some servers that only server additional processing power in that part of the game. So, for 10,000 players, 10,000 units serving the game and another 20 sharing workloads for those players on demand at the points they are needed. As long as you have short spikes in workload, that sound feasible (although latency in spinning up workloads would be a notable hurdle to overcome), but the moment you are requiring a majority of time above that base unit cost, you are needing to employ more hardware per user at more cost.

    The server advantage is far more justifiable in multiplayer games at which point being a streaming service in the cloud makes little difference. I guess streaming a game means not having to sync millions of bytes of game state data which is the problem with locally rendered cloud-enhanced games. Crackdown 3 streamed could have a lot more physics and persistence akin to the original demos. In that respect, streamed games genuinely could do more. You could have a 100 TF server simulating a game with 100 players in a match and steaming the video feeds (rendered by satellite servers) where the data set for local rendering would be impossible.
     
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  7. DSoup

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    This is exactly what we mean in the server business.

    You've discounted Google's most valuable property: users. The reason Google can invest in vast infrastructure is that collectively, data like what games you play, when you play them, and for how long, in comparison to other games, what else you are considering going, like googling which cinemas are showing which movies, is crazy valuable to some.

    You would be astonished how wrong this is, or how ephemeral Google's hardware exists in their server facilities before being upgraded. It's not long at all, most people wear shoes longer. Most professional athletes wear shoes longer and they don't wear the same shoes long at all.

    This is what consoles are up against. Stadia will have moved on by the time PS5 and Xbox 4 launch.
     
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  8. Alucardx23

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    When he says "these machines are connected to each other, and so you could start thinking of doing things like elastic rendering, like make a couple of servers together to do physics simulations", is he referring to the servers that are being used to play the games working together or something separate that is only dedicated to calculate the physics. For example, I imagined it would be something like a 100 player Battle Royale game where you have 100 CPU/GPU instances working together instead of separate to generate the game world. Is that the case? Or is it more like having the 100 CPU/GPU instances working separate as normal and syncing with another server that handles all of the physics?
     
  9. BRiT

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    Sounds like a nightmare for Developers trying to target Stadia then. Too many moving targets make it difficult to performance tune or fix timing bugs. Will dev's give up on optimizing for Stadia then?
     
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  10. Shifty Geezer

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    I'm not convinced people streaming games is adding a lot to that. What do you learn from someone playing COD versus their search history, which Google already has?

    You're saying devs can target an infinite level of performance and can choose to create a game modelling the game world on the atomic level requiring exaflops to calculate and spawn one of these for each solo player that's paying $9.99 per month to play this game?

    Conceptually, either, if the cloud service being used is flexible enough.

    Games won't be optimised for Stadia at all. It'll just get PC ports, targeting I guess the 10 TF number for now, whatever GPU that'll be.
     
  11. DSoup

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    This will depend on the relationship between devs and Google. If Stadia can support genuinely fun, compelling experiences not possible (or greatly diminished) on consoles and most PCs, it'll have that "killer app" selling point.

    Google have lots of data about what people are searching for which can be indicative of what they might be thinking doing or buying, but unless what you're actually doing is something Google have visibility of, paying for something via Google, checking in suing social media etc, they have an incomplete picture. It's why several manufacturers of smart TVs (Samsung among the biggest) collect your viewing habits.

    Entertainment is something people willingly spend a lot of money and revenue from the games industry now exceeds that of Hollywood. Better data is hugely valuable to anybody willing to pay it and judging by Google's investment, they also believe this.

    That wasn't what I interpreted your comments to mean, no not this. But Stadia could solve technical hurdles that are impossible on consoles and most PCs. Stadia could, by brute force, lower software development costs. Google have more experience of distributing workloads than the entire gaming industry by tens of orders of magnitude. We're looking at Stadia v1, it won't be v1 forever.

    10Tf is the kick off specification. Let's see what it is when PS5 launches.

    Stadia isn't for me, but it is definitely representative of the future of gaming.
     
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  12. AlBran

    AlBran Ferro-Fibrous
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    Any word of the APIs they're using? Maybe the HW is close-enough to consoles to make it a relative shoe-in, but nothing more.
     
  13. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    It's primarily a variant of Vulkan on linux with specific Google APIs for VM/game state management, multiplayer and save data.
     
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  14. Xbat

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    No one is going to do something that can only be done on Stadia unless Google pay them a lot or buy them outright. So most games on Stadia will run like playing on a high end PC except with worse image quality and latency but with a much lower entry level cost over the short term.

    I honestly feel the biggest potential market is people who have normal laptops or tablets or anything mobile but don't have consoles or gaming PCs.
     
  15. iroboto

    iroboto Daft Funk
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    And ray tracing is reserved for the devices that support it. It should be similar as to any other feature in which we check flags for support.
     
  16. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Every single Google service that attained popularity did something that wasn't done before or was done much better than competitors. This is a company that bought hundreds of thousands of cars and hired hundreds of thousands of drivers to photograph every street and building in the developed world.

    They have a stupid amount of money and Stadia is a drop in the ocean. That can so afford to do this and I would imagine that for some devs, such a proposition would be hugely appealing. This is so in Phil Harrison's wheel house. He has that precedented level of freedom that he's not enjoyed since he left PlayStation under a cloud.
     
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  17. Xbat

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    Very important part of your post. We also know what Google has done with products that haven't gained popularity quick enough.
     
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  18. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Absolutely true, however Google dabble very carefully when it comes with a substantial hardware investment. It's not like their line of failed social networks or GoogleTV where they get TV manufacturer's to take the risk. This is not some product where they've levering an existing product or service, this is a significant investment for Google.
     
  19. Xbat

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    I do think Stadia has potential to be successful but I think it will be more for the reason because of its ease of use not because of some tech that can only be done in the cloud or exclusives.
     
  20. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    That's because you haven't seen them yet! :mrgreen: Imagine what Google could do in the gaming space if they want. They have most developed countries heavily mapped, driving games in real 1:1 scale environments with Google's existing data supplemented with augmented procedurally generated environments. Dozens, hundreds or thousands of individuals in the same space.

    When every games engine exists only on Google's servers, so many possibilities are opened up. The original vision for Crackdown 3 for one.
     
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