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With Google's game streaming service Stadia inching closer, we have some more information to share about it. Part of this, is thanks to a recent AMA (Ask Me Anything) they did on Reddit. I've gone over what questions they answered, to give you a little overview.

Firstly, a few points about the Stadia Pro subscription: The Pro subscription is not meant to be like a "Netflix for Games", something people seem to think Stadia will end up as. Google said to think of it more like Xbox Live Gold or Playstation Plus. They're aiming to give Pro subscribers one free game a month "give or take". If you cancel Stadia Pro, you will lose access to free games claimed. However, you will get the previously claimed games back when you re-subscribe but not any you missed while not subscribed.

As for Stadia Base, as expected there will be no free games included. As already confirmed, both will let you buy games as normal.

We've still not seen what the UI will look like, but they did say it will be shown off before launch in November. As for features, it's launching with a basic set like being able to "play games across screens, no waiting for downloads or patches, social, store, etc". For social features at launch, you can "manage your friends list, create parties and use platform-level voice chat". However, Achievements will not be enabled at launch but they will come "a little bit later".

Stadia supports standard HID gamepads so Xbox Controller, DualShock 4 and likely many more. This shouldn't be too surprising, since Stadia is apparently using SDL (source). If you want to play on your TV, it will require a Stadia Controller and a Chromecast Ultra.

One thing I've seen people worry about (and I do share this worry), is what happens to games if Google decided to shut down Stadia? Google do have a history of starting things, going a few years and then stopping. Answering that, they said they will support "Takeout", so you can download "your game metadata, including saves if you want to". However, they said nothing about getting an actual download of your game in that case.

Modding support is something else people have been curious about and Google have confirmed Stadia does not support mods. However, they would like to and said they're "working with developers now to find the best way to do this".

As for cross-platform play, they said "cross-play and cross-progression are big priorities for us" and so it should be. Locking multiplayer behind closed doors just isn't what people want, where it makes sense for the type of game, it should be allowed and be possible so I'm happy that Google are well aware of this.

In regards to a question about Linux support, they said "Stadia will run in full desktop or laptop Chrome browsers.". They've been clearly steering away from mentioning any specific operating system, only that you simply need a Chrome browser and that's all across desktops and laptops. Project Stream (which Stadia was built upon), worked fine on Linux so I expect no issues there. Especially since the person from Google answering the questions, said they're most proud of "playing Assassin’s Creed on my son’s dirt-cheap Chromebook" so there's absolutely no reason why it won't work on a normal Linux distribution.

Since it will work on Linux and it's powered by Vulkan and Debian Linux, it's going to be interesting to try. I'm not sold on it personally but as a tech enthusiast I want to give it a go. For online-only games, that don't work on Linux and will likely never run on Linux, Stadia could be a pretty great option for us.

As an additional note, one not from the Reddit AMA, Ubisoft had some positive words to say about Stadia. Including that it doesn't cost them much extra to support it. We already knew they were planning to get their Uplay+ subscription library on Stadia, so that's not too surprising. The difference between supporting Stadia and the Linux desktop, is of course Stadia being one set configuration and a bigger market share.

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Linuxwarper 21 Jul, 2019
Setting aside the issues with Streaming, let's look at other issue with Stadia. Youtube is heavily filtered by Google making the life of many Youtubers harder than if they were on right side of political spectrum. Your videos will be filtered out, even though they are trending, and videos that aren't trending are purposely put on trending even though they are not because the messages in the videos align with Google's political views. This will happen to with Stadia. Imagine "Sorry this game has been removed because it's problematic", because that will happen.

Then there is the issue that Google most likely aims to replace traditional way to play games:
QuoteEventually, all of our games will be safely in the cloud too and we'll feel great about it
Where as a ideal future with Streaming would be one where it supplements normal way to play games. Not trying to replace it. So you can imagine Google will deploy exclusivity deals and such to try burn out non streaming platforms.

Let's hope Valve will have streaming figured out by time Stadia ever gets a chance to take off. Valve, imo, respects freedom much more than Google and is right company to be at the helm of streaming. I don't have a problem with streaming by itself, I think it's great. But the only positive I can see with Google and Stadia is increasing Vulkan adoption.

Last edited by Linuxwarper on 21 July 2019 at 1:03 pm UTC
Massinissa 21 Jul, 2019
Quoting: Kimyrielle
Quoting: dubigrasuI think the future gaming will be predominantly like this, and local stored games will be a thing of the past.
I think we're dinosaurs and we don't know it yet.

Well, that's more or less my point. There doesn't seem to be a compelling use-case for game streaming, so the question remains, why would it succeed? Literally everyone goes "It will replace traditional gaming!", yet nobody could ever explain to me why people would even prefer it over locally installed games. It's pretty much like a few years back a lot of people went "VR will take over gaming!!!", which made me giggle in a similar way, because I failed to understand why it would become anything but the niche product it actually became.
In the context of really good and stable connexion available to a customer, I think a gamer will prefer paying 15€$ or any currency per month to play at max graphics rather than buy a pc every now and then 2k and see that in 2 years the graphics qulity of the games doesn't stay at max. But that's the only scenario in which streamed gaming will win.
vector 22 Jul, 2019
"Interested in" as in curious about, yes. "Interested in" as in desirous of, no. I'm not trying to universally discourage people from relying on services like Stadia. I can see the value in certain situations. And if streaming services offered a level of performance not feasible for consumer market PCs, I could see even greater appeal. My concern is that the industry will in time try to promote streaming as 'the way' to access video games, perhaps even to the degree of some games being exclusive to streaming services. Once the infrastructure and ISP hurdles have been, for the most part, cleared, I can foresee the industry paying lip service to consumer qualms about video game streaming. I think the industry would not only turn a deaf ear, but it would turn a deaf ear while publicly praising itself for its pro-consumer focus, as the industry is wont to do.

As for comparing streaming games to streaming films or music, due to the nature of the content, for me it isn't the same experience. Gaming isn't passive consumption, and I have different expectations that accompany active consumption, consumption in which I am part director.

The issues with streaming have been stated before, and will be again countless times more, so I will avoid rehashing them now. What I will say is that I will avoid any single player games for which streaming (or even just always-on DRM) is the only option. I would certainly be willing to revisit my decision if gaming companies agreed to source code escrows for those games. This will, of course, never happen. And if the whole gaming market shifted to streaming during my lifetime (improbable, but not impossible), I would stop new game spending, and would stick to my existing games, of which I have plenty.

As Bill Gates wrote in 1995: "A new competitor 'born' on the Internet is Netscape. Their browser is dominant, with 70% usage share, allowing them to determine which network extensions will catch on. They are pursuing a multi-platform strategy where they move the key API into the client to commoditize the underlying operating system. They have attracted a number of public network operators to use their platform..."

It ended up being Google which is poised to commoditize the underlying operating system, not Netscape. And it appears Stadia exists exclusively in service of the Chrome ecosystem. Perhaps one gatekeeper (Microsoft) has been exchanged for another (Google).

Last edited by vector on 22 July 2019 at 1:20 am UTC
elmapul 22 Jul, 2019
Quoting: ixnari
Quoting: JaromirIt is always funny to read the random comments.

The team at Google Stadia mentioned that privacy will be “at the user's control".

, I'm sure.

so what? they will know that i'm a bad player? who cares.
when it comes to voice patterns, video patterns or knowing who i'm friend with, i can see how this could be used for evil purposes.

but spying on me while i play? why is that an issue? how can this be used for "evil" purposes?
elmapul 22 Jul, 2019
Quoting: Salvatos- if you don't have unlimited bandwidth, it's probably easier to fit some more hours of video streaming in your monthly allowance than a large game download (or several);

gaming use more bandwidth than video, since you dont have time to create an buffer and improve the encoding or waste on decoding.
and the reason why people dont surpass their data limit already today is because they bandwitdh is not used while they are playing.
downloading an 100GB game may sound like much, but you will use more than that quite fast if you keep "downdloading" it forever.
elmapul 22 Jul, 2019
Quoting: JaromirI think Netflix has proven that both things are not a major obstacle for most people.
there is a key difference here, if netflix stop dont renewal an contract to stream something and none of his competitors do, you can still watch it by pirating it.

but if no one is willing to stream an game anymore and this game isnt avaliable to play outside of streaming, the game is dead, no one can play it anymore.
there are a lot of games that are currently umplayable, video game preservation is an serious issue and this thing only contribute to make it harder.
elmapul 22 Jul, 2019
Quoting: kaimanOne question that also comes to mind is how game streaming might change games as a whole, if it ever catches on. I'm pretty sure it's not good for business if people keep streaming the same game (they paid once) again and again. So it's either in-game advertising, micro transactions, shorter or generally less re-playable games (or a mix of those), neither of which I find potentially appealing.
running an old game will not consume google data centers so much, so they will not care.
elmapul 22 Jul, 2019
Quoting: Jaromiralthough it was more recently used by Ubisoft to host The Division 2 in the Cloud and support the developer's real-time triple-A gaming endeavours."

there is a difference here, they may need to "play" the game on a server for multiplayer purposes due to things like physics and who killed who needing to be processed server side, but they dont need to process the graphics of it, wich is the most expensive thing to process.
elmapul 22 Jul, 2019
Quoting: TheRiddickSo let me get this straight... how people can't see that scenario as being a complete scam is beyond me!

because you didnt get it straight.

"you pay $50-60usd for a game on Stadia"
if its a triple A it will cost this prices, indie games tend to be much cheaper.

" can play it while having a subscription only"
you can play it forever in fullHD, you only have to pay if you want to go 4k, and once google upgrade their servers, the free tier should be updated to 4k and the paid tier should be 8k, 120fps.

"and if they shut the thing down or remove that title from the store you get your save-games so you can then go over to GOG or Steam to buy the game again on your actual PC"
that part is a little bit confusing, they said once you purchase the game is your forever, wich means they should provide you with an key if they ever want to discontinue the server, i dont know where this key will be located, if they will make an client such as steam to distribute, give you keys on steam or an store of your choice, or whetever, but i highly doubt they will leave you with nothing but your save game.

in any case i hope you can transfer your save at any moment, not only if they decide to shut it down.
elmapul 22 Jul, 2019
Quoting: vectorIt ended up being Google which is poised to commoditize the underlying operating system, not Netscape. And it appears Stadia exists exclusively in service of the Chrome ecosystem. Perhaps one gatekeeper (Microsoft) has been exchanged for another (Google).

what scary me the most is that Stadia is powered by Linux, and if we ever enter an world where the standartd is gaming without preservation of old games, gaming without the freedom of mods to makew your own maps, characters etc. it will be google and linux fault that we were able to reach that world.

its linux communism where you fight for an better world and end up with an worse one and in some countries even up to today.

in the end of the day, letting microsoft have an monopoly is sounding less scary somehow.
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