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Opinion Platform Why doesn't Valve/Steam develop and provide cloud-based gaming a-la GeForce Now?

supernova8

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Jun 2, 2020
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I was looking at stuff like GeForce Now and Google Stadia and it got me thinking:

Why doesn't Valve just do it themselves?

- GeForce Now sort of does it (it: allows you to connect to your steam account) but not all games are supported from what I can glean from their website.
- Google Stadia has no connection with Steam so you basically would have to rebuy everything or hope something interesting is available in the free games list.
No point having a free Google Stadia account if you need to rebuy all of your games.

If Valve released something like "Steam Cloud" and made it directly connect with your account/library, that would be easier for everyone.
- You (in theory) wouldn't need to have a fancy gaming PC.
- They could set it up so that you pay more depending on how demanding your games are (so people playing eSports type stuff - including CS:GO - pay less).
- They could set it up so that you can "scale" your virtual PC environment (and pay more or less depending on what visual settings you want to use - how much grunt you want).

I'm not an infrastructure engineer so I have no idea how it all works, but Valve had something like this seamlessly connecting to my Steam account I would definitely consider it.

Or maybe.... you think it's bad for one company to have all the power like that.

Thoughts?
 
Dec 7, 2020
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Give it a matter of time and Valve will more than likely come out with something

It’s only a matter of time before we have a cloud gaming service for every company just like Netflix, Hulu, hbo, etc..
 

Kataploom

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Jan 30, 2014
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AFAIK they already have SteamLink so not totally asleep in the matter... Also, they're doing lots of I+D in VR so maybe that just the focus for now
 

Kokoloko85

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Sep 26, 2019
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That requires them to do something, Gabe’s a lazy F%^%. They prefer to make money off other games being sold on there platform and do mostly nothing lol. Easy Money.
Jk...

But seriously they are probably working on something, just like they’ve kept in the game with VR and other things
 

Fredrik

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Jun 27, 2005
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I might’ve misunderstood but I heard that they’re doing some kind of Steam Cloud thing and are supporting Geforce Now on it.
 

Mahavastu

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Aug 17, 2020
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It is much more expensive to launch a game streaming service than offering the current services they do offer.
For the current services like selling stuff, friends and storing a few data in "the cloud", one server can probably serve thousands of users in parallel. If you are using a cloud service, you might even just rent some only for the peaks and use less in other times...
For a streaming service, each server can only serve very few users, probably one user per server for new games at full quality and some more with less demanding games. These servers should be located close to the user and can not be somewhere at the other side of the globe. And these servers have permanent costs like air condition, rent of space (or build your own data center) and maintaining connected to them.
So if you want to have like 1 mio users parallel, you really need a lot of hardware in data centers. If you risk to start with less you run into problem when you are successful (waiting queues) or if you fail like stadia you probably invest into tons of hardware without the users showing up.

Another problem is the huge amount of generated data. While most private users do have a flat rate, most companies do not have that luxury, and game streaming creates unbelievable amounts of data.
Netflix is streaming pre encoded data (eg movies) and can put caching servers at the ISPs to reduce the load, but for game streaming you can not do this.

To make it financially viable they would have to make the streaming as a subscription service, which might be not so attractive for most of the users. With the system of Stadia (you buy a game once and stream it forever) they might run into problems when most users only buy few games at sales for extremly low prices and then play them forever.
 
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Fredrik

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Jun 27, 2005
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You are correct. You can sync compatible games from Steam to Geforce Now.
This sounds bigger but maybe it isn’t?


Steam Cloud Play is currently in Beta and features are being added over time. We are now accepting a limited amount of games into the service as we continue to build features and server capacity for players. The first service we are connecting to Steam to allow users to play games from their Steam Library from the Cloud is NVIDIA GeForce NOW. There are more details below about how to opt your game(s) into the service as well as answers to a few common questions below.”
 
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Arkam

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Jan 21, 2012
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Game streaming is not the same as Video streaming. Under the current paradigm, game streaming requires physical HW in DCs. This is a large investment and a lot of operational overhead. Have to really want to get in to the market for teh long term.

Least until some wizard finds a virtual solution.
 

AHA-Lambda

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Jul 19, 2011
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Honestly, I'd love this, it may not be the ideal form but it'd save me a fortune in hardware and the convenience would be amazing
 

PhaseJump

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Aug 26, 2020
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Cloud computing services like Shadow are in the market already. Valve could do something similar if they want to, but why would they?


 
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jakinov

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Nov 19, 2008
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It’s risky and expensive. There’s a lot of problems to solve still and Valve doesn’t have the technical prowess to do it unless they go on an ambitious, risky and expensive hiring spree. Valve isn't that great of a tech company today. And I don't know if Newell has the leadership to turn it into one. The Index is great and all for gaming, and I'm sure there some innovation here and there. But if Oculus or any other big tech company was interested in an optimal gaming headset for $800 they would have probably done a lot more than Valve has accomplished. Other companies opted out from that because it's not as lucrative to create the optimal gaming headset as there's money to be made for business use cases or by creating more accessible VR.

If anything when everything is figured out and technology is better, it'll just be easier and cheaper to do it later. Instead of trying to be one of the "pioneers" today. Since they also own Steam, it's not as important for them to be first to market and they don't really need it to be ahead of any other store fronts.
 

Senhua

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Oct 14, 2015
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Rather than that, better use the money to make an exclusive deal to counter EPIC/SONY/NINTENDO etc especially for Japanese games.
 

Sophist

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Feb 4, 2015
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Technology is not ready, as showed by Google Stadia. You would need 10gbps fiber with a ping close to 1 ms , the only way to do that is to host the servers directly in the street cabinets. Also, Valve is more interested in VR and human brain interface for which cloud is even less ready.
 

ACESHIGH

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May 16, 2020
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Valve can barely develop multiplayer oriented crap at a snail's pace. Let's hope they focus on releasing more single player games that push pc tech forward.
 

Sean Mirrsen

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Sep 30, 2020
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I think the issue is that in order for the service to be any good, they would need tremendous expenses on dedicated hardware and all kinds of insfrastructure.

Geforce Now has around 4 million users, I think. Steam has five times that count in actually concurrent players. Imagine the kind of server farms that would be needed to supply an average of 20 million players with access to cloud gaming. The bandwidth load on Valve's network backend would grow by an order of magnitude with cloud streaming added in, and could degrade the play experience for non-cloud players.

All told, it's much more efficient for them to approach it like they do VR. Make the software, make the centralizing platform and APIs, innovate the cause - but let other people, better equipped and more experienced in that particular field, handle the hardware side of things, and the distribution of the products and services around the globe.

They've already made inroads for it with Steam Cloud Play, that Geforce Now can link with - and Nvidia handles making GFN available in different countries, handles subscription services, and various other things. It's a smarter move, especially if it eventually proves to the likes of Google that streaming services need to be standardized and coordinated, in order to be popular, accepted, and therefore profitable. They won't work if everyone just does their own thing.
 
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