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Streaming gaming will change the video game industry. Here's why

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  • Streaming gaming will change the video game industry. Here's why

    Streaming has upended the movie and music industries. Now, it's spreading to the video game business.

    Several video game publishers announced titles coming to Google's cloud system, Stadia, during last week's E3 conference, and Microsoft (MSFT) showed off its own Project xCloud in a demo.
    The companies promise that very soon, through the cloud, it will be possible for many people around the world to play high-end video games on a tablet or phone without the need to lug around a console or PC. Once video games become easily accessible, companies are hoping it will attract new gamers, while making mobile games more sophisticated.
    But the budding technology also prompts a lot of questions — like how many publishers are willing to jump onboard, whether internet connections are fast enough and which tech company will bring on the most adopters.
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  • #2
    That article is about 5 years too old.

    Pete (can't remember the last time he bought a video game from a non-streaming platform)


    • #3
      Unless I see something super cheap at Walmart, I haven't bought games on anything by streaming for years.
      "Democracy is a form of worship. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses." H.L. Mencken


      • #4
        The term “streaming” in this context means you don’t actually install the program locally on your PC. The article later calls it “cloud gaming” which is a better term for when remote servers do all the game calculations. It doesn’t mean the method you use to purchase the game.

        It could effectively undercut game piracy, and it might be good for casual gamers, but there’s no way cloud gaming can match the horsepower I have in my desktop rig.

        skooly (will give up his PC when you pry it from his cold dead fingers)
        "I guess I just hate the fact there is public property at all." - Mr. Raceboy.


        • #5
          Thanks, I misread that. About 15 years ago I told everyone that the day of the PC had come to an end and that everything was going cloud-based. A couple of my friends who are better off (and who had ignored me 15 years earlier when I told them fiber optics were the way of the future) pushed their investments heavily toward cloud-based companies and made a killing. One of them threw me a small check as a thank you.

          Now I'm looking at the world and I think that "streaming" is already jumping the shark. It's mature. It's robust. But it's boring.

          The future is a hybrid system, where the world is streaming and interacts on some level with you, but your computer does the heavy lifting and sends outputs to the servers, but the servers respond in a significant way. I'm not limiting that to gaming, but I'll use gaming as the vehicle to describe what I'm talking about. And I'll use board gaming to visualize it because it's something I know quite well:

          This is how PC multiplayer gaming works:


          Note the spreadsheet at each player's seat (the client), and the notable lack of anything going on at the center of the table (the server). In Yahtzee, all the "processing power" occurs at the players seat on his turn. He rolls the dice, decides which to reroll, chooses where there score goes, and marks it on his sheet. The "output" to the game state is a simple number (score). Other players interact with this player by reading that output (knowing what the score is and what fields he has left) but little or nothing actually occurs at the server level other than tracking the scoring. All of the "graphics," computing, and logic occurs on the client/player side. The server just tallies some variables.

          Despite incredible advances in server technology, this is still the paradigm that most PC games work under.

          This is how tablet/phone gaming tends to work:


          Note, in this picture, how busy the middle of the table is. That's the server in most app games. It does all the heavy lifting, all the computations, all the work. In many cases it even supplies the bulk of the graphics. By contrast, note the lack of resources in front of each player. All the player's "console" has to track in Monopoly is a few key figures (owned properties, cash on hand) and the player need make only a few key decisions (buy or sell, bid or not, offer or accept a trade). All of the "work" of the game is done by the central board (the server) and the players (the client) requires only minimal computation and input. (That's why so many phone games are "tap games" and "bejeweled clones").

          Computing hasn't gotten here yet, but here's what modern board gaming looks like:


          Note that here there are multiple boards, each with significant "processing power." There is a central board which tracks the game state in a nontrivial way. It counts resources, offers and eliminates options, performs functions, and reacts to players, sort of like the Monopoly board above. It's complex. But each player also has his own board, which does many of the same things, individualized for the player, and interacting with the main board and with the other players. This game leverages data processing at each client station and at the server to deliver a far more complex experience than the games above.

          This hasn't really happened in video gaming yet. Most games are still either heavily client reliant or server reliant, and the main reason for that is that until very recently, some people were on very slow internet and had to be accommodated. But the idea that the future of gaming is streaming is a bit dumb...why would the optimal state be reducing the processing input of the player to nearly zero, turning a player's phone/tablet/computer into little more than a controller with a screen? That's dumb, especially as phones and tablets grow in power to rival many PCs.

          The future is multi-point processing. Each client does work, the server does work, and the various parts are blended into a glorious (and incredibly complex) whole. I'm convinced of it.

          Pete (thinks streaming is a great way to deliver passive content, but that ain't gaming)
          Last edited by Plezercruz; 06-20-2019, 09:25 AM.


          • #6
            Pete, when you gonna prep that pitch for a venture capitalist? I might know a few Ph.D physicists in the computer gaming industry who could help forge contacts...

            zach(would buy Pete’s game)
            They speak in bulletpointese leftist nutjob drivel. It doesn't matter. Nothing is as great a motivator as the chance to truly be free.
            -Mr. Raceboy


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jester View Post
              Pete, when you gonna prep that pitch for a venture capitalist? I might know a few Ph.D physicists in the computer gaming industry who could help forge contacts...

              zach(would buy Pete’s game)
              If I had any idea how to make a video game, I think I could make an incredible one.

              Continuing on the diatribe...Another lesson from board gaming...

              I grew up on competitive games, but video games and board games. I like to compete, and to me that will always be the essence of gaming. So it may be hard for some people, particularly most gamers, to believe, but a significant percentage of the population wants to game, but doesn't want to compete. Accordingly, some of the most successful and bestselling board games in the past 10 years have been 100% cooperative.

              Pandemic is an international sensation. It has spawned 13 expansions and spinoffs. It is easily one of the most popular board games in the hobby. And it is entirely cooperative. Gloomhaven is the #1 game on boardgamegeek right now. It is the essence of what I described above, a huge game with massive amounts of content, a ton of player in put and a ton of game output, and it too is entirely cooperative. Ghost Stories, Arkham Horror, Elder Sign, Space Alert, Spirit Island, Pathfinder...all top games...all 100% cooperative.

              So far, the video game world hasn't caught on. The best games in all of video gaming, as far as I'm concerned, have been the insanely multiplayer cooperative ones. Gauntlet. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (4-at-a-time chaos!). Ghost Recon.

              Sure, it's fun to frag your friends. But that fun goes away fast if you suck at a game. Suddenly your best friends are just people who piss you off, killing you left and right. That sucks. You should be able to have fun playing a game even if you're not good at it. You really ought to be able to have fun playing games even if your friends are much better at them then you are. Cooperative play offers that.

              Cooperative games in the video world are, at best OK. They lack real challenge. Typically you're either playing an MMO, and the opposition is repetitive, "grindy," and boring, or you're playing a shooter type game against a relatively static enemy, which waits for you to show up and shoot it.

              If you want real immersion, you play a game like Fallout or Elder Scrolls. Alone.

              The ability to create truly interactive, immersive, and challenging shared experiences exists. Nobody's really doing it yet, and the primary reason is what I noted above...nobody's really focused on meshing a heavy-processing PC experience with a heavy-duty server experience. It's been just one or the other.

              Pete (envisions a game like Gloomhaven for the computer, where a ton of content exists but only a fraction of it will be experienced by any given team in any given campaign)


              • #8
                Hire and/or partner with someone who can code; you’re the ceo/visionary (and the legal department). It’s not a bad pitch, I really think this could be a thing.
                They speak in bulletpointese leftist nutjob drivel. It doesn't matter. Nothing is as great a motivator as the chance to truly be free.
                -Mr. Raceboy



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