Remote Play Together and the Hope for Stadia

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redcream

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Me and my cousins tried this Steam feature last night playing Moon Hunters and in all fairness, when it works, it’s magical. The difference In latency is negligible when the stream stabilizes. Only one copy of the game is needed to play couch co-op games online. It occasionally stutters but considering that our internet speed caps at around 2.5mbps, it is still a solid service and it will only get better in time when more tweaks are implemented.

Which leads me to believe that if Steam could make my cousin’s puny computer (compared to the supercomputers of Google) spit out a video feed and let us play remotely with our relatively poor internet speed then it would be child’s play for Google to do the same for major releases. The business side of things is admittedly subpar but the tech is undeniably there. It would just have to be used in creative ways. I have changed my mind about game streaming services from dead in the water to cautiously optimistic.

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MobiusFun

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Thanks for posting this, I've been wondering about Steam's remote play stuff. Instead of giving me hope for Stadia though, it made me wonder if Steam would ever make a competitive Stadia-like service. I'd trust them to pull it off more than Google. The part where Steam goes down at least once a week would be a bummer though.

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Shindig

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I'd love to see a flow chart of what data goes where when you play something on Stadia. This thing I get with remote play is how direct and local it is. Stadia seems like anything but.

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Gundato

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@shindig:Simple enough that text will suffice

Let's consider four cases.

  1. I am playing with myself (hey-oh!) locally. For the purpose of discussion, no data leaves my computer and I just have the latency of rendering (computer and monitor)
  2. I am playing a multiplayer game online. The only data that is transmitted between me and the server (which may be a data center somewhere or could be someone's laptop) is a comparatively small amount of data that just updates positions and actions. All rendering and latencies thereof still happen locally.
  3. I am playing a couch coop multiplayer game online via some form of remote play solution. In this case, I still need to update the server (my buddy's PS4) with my position and actions, but that is handled solely via controller inputs. And in return, I get a video stream of what their PS4 is rendering. So rendering happens remotely but it is a price I was always going to pay and the added costs are me sending inputs across the country and getting video back
  4. There is a middle case that should be intuitable in between, but let's just go big. We gonna play some Trine up in here. All three of us need to send our controller inputs to the remote server and all three of us get video feeds back. In theory it is the exact same latency as remote play but now with the power of The Cloud!

But that The Cloud! is actually where shit gets cool. Rather than needing to have the limiting factor be my buddy Phil's shitty internet connection, it is now, more or less, the distance I am to a data center. And because Google is taking over the god damned Earth, that means I am very likely to be very close to a data center with very good internet. That gets a bit murkier when you might have three people spread out over the entire planet, but that is where traditional multiplayer would shine. With very doable load balancing you can imagine every single player being an LPB with respect to their "computers" and the "server" with the only meaningful latency being their house to the data center that is totally pissing on the grave of Net Neutrality and has priority access to Comcast users or whatever dark future we have.

Stadia and similar tech is actually REALLY cool even if the target audience probably isn't any of us. And it is one of those things that will only get better as the world gets worse.

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supermassive

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I would actually say that I am someone squarely in the target audience for Stadia. As a new father, I spend most of my time, when not working, with my family in the family room. Stadia lets me play on my old laptop while my wife has the TV going, and all the while we get to keep an eye on my little boy as he plays in his little fenced in area. And I'm having a great time coming back to Destiny. The features of Stadia are really cool: no installations, no need to tweak settings, less then a minute from computer boot to playtime, the graphics are better than my white Destiny PS4, easy interface. These are all thing I value more than fancy 4k graphics, and the latency is >90% of the time unnoticeable.

Stadia has me really excited about where the future of gaming is headed. Admittedly, Gundato brought up some good points about things also heading in a pretty shitty direction, but hopefully we can get it fixed. That'll take some time (read: years) but I feel like cloud gaming, at least, is headed in a good direction.

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Shindig

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@gundato Thanks for that. I've often wondered if your device plays a much bigger role in how successful a stream goes. I'm always surprised PS4 Remote play works so well for me but SharePlay is a no go. Now that I think about it, that's probably more to do with my download / upload speeds. Namely, my upload speed is terrible which I guess SharePlay is throttled by.