Google and Xbox just started the next platform war.

IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman
#1
https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2018-10-11-google-and-xbox-just-started-the-next-platform-war

Game streaming is coming. It's been coming since before we all laughed at OnLive and ignored PlayStation Now, and those too-little-too-soon gambits did nothing to impede its inevitable arrival. It is the future, in the sense that a credible and widely-used iteration of game streaming technology is around the corner and is something everyone reading this will probably end up using. Whether this future will prove mutually exclusive with other futures - those of games consoles and of digital platforms like Steam - is much more debatable. But it's coming regardless.

The games industry was unequivocal on that fact at E3 this year. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot mentioned it to anyone who would listen, while EA promised its own service tied into EA Access. More consequentially (with the greatest respect to EA), Phil Spencer said Microsoft was planning an Xbox-branded game streaming service. Earlier this week, we heard the first details about what Microsoft is calling Project xCloud, in apparent response to last week's announcement of a long-rumoured game streaming offering from Google. Google's Project Stream is already in testing in the US; xCloud hardware is being installed in data centres, but public testing won't begin until next year.

Game streaming is treated as an inevitability because this is the way all media has been going; just look at the rise to ubiquity of the music and video streaming services Spotify and Netflix. But game streaming is a far greater technical challenge, due to the extremely fast-moving and detailed live video and, of course, to its interactive nature, requiring an extremely low-latency two-way dialogue between the client and the server. This is where OnLive fell down and it's part of the reason PlayStation Now still fails to impress (it's also true that Sony has, frankly, never put together a very tempting or marketable offering for it). Low video quality is unappealing, but sluggish controls can break the experience completely.

Read the full history at the link.
 
#6
Still not sure why a company with literally half the sales as the market leader entering the game streaming market is a such a big deal, particularly when that same market leader has been operating a game streaming service for 4 years already.
It’s not just Microsoft, it’s Google and Amazon as well. Three behemoths with the funds and resources to do this and potentially improve on it as well. Not knocking Sony’s PSNow though and what they have accomplish with streaming but I expect the other 3 to vastly improve on it in the near future.
 
#9
Still not sure why a company with literally half the sales as the market leader entering the game streaming market is a such a big deal, particularly when that same market leader has been operating a game streaming service for 4 years already.
You’re right. It can’t be that there is a significant difference between a streaming service that only offers Sony games and only streams to 2 home devices and a streaming service that offers 1st and 3rd party games and streams to every device (including mobile). It must be that everyone in the industry observing and reporting on these developments is biased against Sony. Yes, Yes, We know, The Truth is Out There. Carry on Mulder.
 
#10
You’re right. It can’t be that there is a significant difference between a streaming service that only offers Sony games and only streams to 2 home devices and a streaming service that offers 1st and 3rd party games and streams to every device (including mobile). [...]
You're very right about supported devices (which makes a huge difference on its own), but PSNow also offers streaming and downloads of third party games. In fact, it probably has more third party games to choose from than Game Pass.
 
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#12
You're very right about supported devices (which makes a huge difference on its own), but PSNow also offers streaming and downloads of third party games. In fact, it probably has more third party games to choose from than Game Pass.
I stand corrected but just think it’s funny that people now want to equate PS Now (a service they barely use or discuss) to what Google and MS are offering when the obvious reality is that Sony cannot compete on this front without a partner.
 
#13
I stand corrected but just think it’s funny that people now want to equate PS Now (a service they barely use or discuss) to what Google and MS are offering when the obvious reality is that Sony cannot compete on this front without a partner.
Well, they're all essentially the exact same thing. The reason no one talks about PS Now is no one wants to fucking stream a compressed and laggy game. And hate to be the bearer of bad news, Project Stream isn't any better.
 
#16
Well, they're all essentially the exact same thing. The reason no one talks about PS Now is no one wants to fucking stream a compressed and laggy game. And hate to be the bearer of bad news, Project Stream isn't any better.
Not everyone agrees. Already I am seeing former cynics being converted.


The market will decide this ultimately but if I were Sony I would swallow my pride and make the call to Mr. Bezos.
 
#20
Not everyone agrees. Already I am seeing former cynics being converted.


The market will decide this ultimately but if I were Sony I would swallow my pride and make the call to Mr. Bezos.
I noped out as soon as he mentioned YouTube artifacting, That's not good enough.
MS and Google has started a war?
Insert [ jedediah and octavius war] gif here
 
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#21
Although I'm not yet convinced by the video quality or responsiveness, in the future streaming is going to be the only realistic option to push AAA games further.
Once graphics technology reaches a level too costly to render client-side.
 
#22
You’re right. It can’t be that there is a significant difference between a streaming service that only offers Sony games and only streams to 2 home devices and a streaming service that offers 1st and 3rd party games and streams to every device (including mobile). It must be that everyone in the industry observing and reporting on these developments is biased against Sony. Yes, Yes, We know, The Truth is Out There. Carry on Mulder.
No its just fundamentally ill-considered. (1) The whole point of streaming is platform agnosticism, so dismissing an extant service of the exact same type seems dubious to me. (2) The money in this is in the SERVICE, not the deployment point(s) of the client. (3) Following on from 3 why disregard the publisher/service provider currently serving the largest range of streamed titles from various providers and also holds platform leadership in the console space? Think about it: From where is the content coming and where the existing revenue stream primarily comes from?

The best service in the world is nothing without content to drive uptake. Games are not going to magically appear *just* to serve a streaming server, and its questionable that there's enough money purely from licensing/viewing royalties to subsidize production cost, games will often need to incorporate service type transactions of their own in order to survive in that environment. So tell me this, how appealing is a streaming service loaded with games with F2P-style economics? Its never going to be like Netflix because of the economics of production, how do you cover years worth of upfront spend developing AAA games for a tiny share of a low-cost subscription model without going bust before you've recouped a fraction of the investment?

Then, of course we come to additional issues like interface design. Sure its great you can now see console-quality graphics on your phone, but now you either need to gimp yourself playing with the touch-screen or fiddle about with a controller that's exponentially larger in size than the phone or its screen! Why not just buy a Switch and get stuff that's actually built for purpose? Why not stick with a game that designed for mobile/tablet usage rather than frankenstein shit onto everything in the name of "accessibility"?

If you're on PC, where's the imperative to abandon Steam, GoG, or any other retailer with its own existing massive market-share and userbase that frequently sells games dirt cheap in sales? Games that are just as likely to get lost in the churn of an a-la carte service as they are on online storefronts? And lets not forget, regardless of how good the lag-reduction is, its always going to be there and its a major no-no for anything competitive where ping-times are crucial.

And last, but far from least, lets talk about infrastructure and billing. No matter how good the back-end is, the end user still needs to worry about QOS in their location and what restrictions on bandwidth/data-caps are in place. Lets not forget too how exceptionally vulnerable these services are going to be to things like DDOS attacks, you think XBL and PSN outages are bad what happens when there is no offline option to fall back on...

Streaming is going to be next gen's VR. Great idea in theory but in the short to mid-term there are many, many obstacles to cross and its going to be years before it really gains traction.

One last thing: I bring up PSNow not out of favoritism for Sony or particular affection for the service. The reverse is actually true: Sony has been piloting this approach on their highly successful console lines now for over 4 years, and to what end? When they can't get much traction with it, despite having access to a very substantial user-base and access to as good a selection of content as anyone in the industry, why should a slightly better iteration of the same suddenly blow our collective minds?
 
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#24
Bottom line, though: streaming is shit. And will always be shit.
I tried playing Bloodborne on Share Play on PS4 and it went fine. Played for about 30 minutes or so and didn't die once or feel like there was any massive lag. There might have been a bit but it was very playable. It might not be ideal now but I can see it being pretty good in the near future. Although I still prefer to be able to play games without being connected to the internet.
 
#27
Still not sure why a company with literally half the sales as the market leader entering the game streaming market is a such a big deal, particularly when that same market leader has been operating a game streaming service for 4 years already.
SO FREAKING TRUE! Why we acting as if Sony hasn't dominated this market for years. Yeah it has many flaws, but that's what streaming is like at the moment. It's weird when people ignore it, yet act like Google doing this BETA is such a big deal.
 
#30
Did anyone say how this is good for gamers yet?
While you can upgrade the storage in modern consoles many don't know how (I'm not one of them but just saying), the amount of storage you get is simply not adequate going forward (my PS4 I believe has 500GB and I only have a handful of games yet and having to delete games to install new ones).

If you have the internet speeds that can handle this kind of service it's very good for gamers, moving to a Netflix type subscription where you can play hundreds of games with no commitment is quite appealing, and storage no longer is an issue. I'm competitive in my online games so I'd never want to use this type of service for an online game (But I'd also not play competitive games on consoles given the choice), but I see no reason why I would not play a single player game this way. I tried Googles Project stream on my laptop and it was flawless.. I want to play the game it loads up in an instant.. it's impressive.

Early on such services were horrid (Onlive comes to mind) but ever since PSNow and Geforce Now they have been quite impressive, if you get a solid selection of games for a good monthly price, this can be huge.
 
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#31
The main thing I don't like about subscription services is the reason I stopped subscribing to psnow.

When there's so much choice I just look at what's available then can't decide what to play so I play nothing.

And thing with Netflix.

However when I used psnow I had no issues whatsoever beyond the beta and if I didn't get paralysed by choice I would still subscribe.

These services will be great for some but it just isn't for me.
 
#32
Food for thought: when smartphones came out (especially the iOS store) that was considered a new platform. Handhelds, PC, arcade, and consoles are all considered distinct from one another.

Will "streaming services" be considered another platform entirely? I just don't see Google and Microsoft being able to capture the same audience that cheered at Sony's game sharing ad, nor the collectors, nor the retro gamers. This isn't to say that Google and Microsoft (and Sony, who've been doing this for a while already) should stop. I think they're pushing into a new market entirely and that's a very good thing for the health of the gaming market as a whole.
 
#33
We will still have a next gen hardware based consoles , with streaming as a optional.
Tried streaming and while it worked decently enough it’s not for me.
If gaming ever goes in with just streaming is the day I quit gaming.
 
#36
It's pretty simple. Once the technology exists to deliver a Netflix-like gaming experience, it will quickly become the dominate platform and those companies slow to adapt will be left behind.
Not sure about that. Fortnite continues to make money hand over fist. I think the real battleground will be between free-to-play and streaming.
 
#37
Admittedly, I haven’t tried streaming before with gaming to my knowledge, but I’m not sure this is a war that I want to be part of. Wouldn’t everyone have to have adequate to fast internet for streaming to be at its best and to eliminate most lag and increase quality? I imagine that would alienate a fair portion of the gaming population. Having streaming as an option is perfectly fine, but I don’t want it to replace digital downloads and physical games. Guess we’ll see how it pans out.
 
#38
Just really need to do something about that price point. $10 per month max.
The thing is, it also includes all in one; streaming, download for PS4 games (like Game Pass), and you do not need Plus for multiplayer on it.

Unless MS looks to combine all 3 as well (which as of now, it does not appear that way), then it will be more expensive and an (OCD) billing mess to sub to 3 separate services.

But I do expect it (PSNow) to be cheaper (eventually) if competition wills it of course.
 
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#39
Just really need to do something about that price point. $10 per month max.
If you pay a whole year upfront, there's a substantial discount. Plus, like @DeepEnigma says, it includes online multiplayer for games played within the service.

IMO, it should just include online multiplayer for any PS4 game, even retail copies. Some people would be willing to use PSNow instead of Plus.
 
#42
Why would that even be two separate things? You don't think there will be f2p streaming games?
I'm not sure that will happen. What would be the business model behind F2P streaming content? The whole point to streaming is a reoccurring revenue model. I don't think there will be a free streaming tier (outside of an initial trial). It's like Netflix providing a free tier for some of their content in the hopes you subscribe.
 
#43
The thing is, it also includes all in one; streaming, download for PS4 games (like Game Pass), and you do not need Plus for multiplayer on it.

Unless MS looks to combine all 3 as well (which as of now, it does not appear that way), then it will be more expensive and an (OCD) billing mess to sub to 3 separate services.

But I do expect it (PSNow) to be cheaper (eventually) if competition wills it of course.
I hope so too. I get the bundled value, I just don't think consumers would be willing to pony up anything above $10-12 per month. A $20 per month PS Now commitment will not attract the masses.
 
#44
[QUOTE="Killer751, post: 253502970, member: 744078"]I expect Microsoft to dominate the next generation. Playstation and Nintendo won't be able to compete. Game hardware will be steadily phased out in the next ten years.[/QUOTE]

That's the way I felt when we were getting ready for this current gen.
 
#45
I can’t wait! That XCloud demo with Halo on a phone with an Xbox controller looks amazing!

This tech will skyrocket especially once 5G is readily available nationwide.
 
#46
As long as there's still an option to play games locally (like there is for movies and music), then go ahead.

I've little interest in streaming. The tech seems cool and I can see the advantages but I live in a pretty isolated zone so I have little hopes of ever getting low latency streaming for games. And the whole model shifting from getting people to purchase specific games to getting them to keep paying and coming back every month just makes me worry that the shift in game design will focus even harder on these never ending "game as a service" type of experiences

Still not sure why a company with literally half the sales as the market leader entering the game streaming market is a such a big deal, particularly when that same market leader has been operating a game streaming service for 4 years already.
I think the difference is that Sony are mostly known for their electronics (TVs, Consoles, Cameras, etc) while companies like Microsoft and Google are all about software and, in recent times, cloud services. So I guess there's this expectation that they have the expertise to solve some of the more obvious issues with game streaming and take it to the next level
 
#47
I will quit gaming at the moment streaming becomes standard (it'll be the fall of the market anyway, young ignorant degenerate don't have the money, culture and value to make these business live for long), but the value of my collection will skyrocket...
 
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#48
Nvidia is in this space now with GeForce Now service. So far is the best I've tried, mainly because it allows me to play my own steam and origin libraries at high settings on a $200 device.

Streaming will be a common offering by next gen but I don't think it will quite replace consoles/PCs. There are still people like myself willing to pay for the hardware and business has been good for them so why cut it off prematurely?

As long as people keep paying, manufacturers will continue selling.
 
#49
Sure, companies can push out game streaming to the masses, but that doesnt mean it will be widely adopted by the masses. I think game streaming as an accepted form of gaming is a long way off. The initial attempts are not going to go well though.
 
#50
I look forward to this. Thankfully, I have reliable fast internet. Xbox game pass is an amazing deal, and assuming the streaming is reliable then it will be the Netflix of games.