Switch Craft is brought to you live 3 times a week on Tuesday and Thursday at 3pm US Eastern, and on Saturday at whatever time I can get to it. Tune in live at Twitch.tv/runjumpstomp/ This episode of Switch Craft is made possible by Joe A. – Get Switch Craft and my other content ad free for as little as a dollar at Patreon.com/RunJumpStomp/ Leave a voicemail for the show by heading to runjumpstomp.com/voicemail from any device, and I may play it on the show!
Orion is supposed to complement, not compete with, these kinds of services. “This can be put into any game engine, it can be used with any streaming platform to provide a better experience for any consumer playing that game on that platform and to deliver it at a lower cost for whoever’s serving the data,” promises Bethesda director of publishing James Altman. Essentially, it works by delegating some processing tasks to the game engine locally, rather than performing them as they’re transmitted to the player over the internet.
Bethesda says that turning on just one of several Orion features cuts the bandwidth that’s required for a high-quality streaming experience by 40 percent. It also supposedly reduces the time it takes to encode a frame of video (which is then streamed to the player) by 30 percent and trims the compute work that’s required by 20 percent. The company didn’t say how much turning on all Orion features would improve a stream, although Altman says that various kinds of games will benefit more from different features.
Theoretically, Orion mitigates some of the biggest problems facing cloud gaming. It could lower the minimum internet speed for a platform like Stadia, which currently suggests a 25Mbps connection for 1080p gaming. (It has a minimum bandwidth requirement of 10Mbps and a recommended maximum of 35 Mbps for 4K gaming.)
Google says it’ll be one user per Stadia account, tied to your Google ID—you can have a guest account for splitscreen, but other than that, no sharing. (Update (2:43pm): A Google spokesperson reached out to say that family sharing is coming in the future.)
Switch Craft is brought to you live 3 times a week on Tuesday and Thursday at 3pm US Eastern, and on Saturday at whatever time I can get to it. Tune in live at Twitch.tv/runjumpstomp/ This episode of Switch Craft is brought to you by ThatChappZapp. – Get Switch Craft and my other content ad free for as little as a dollar at Patreon.com/RunJumpStomp/ Leave a voicemail for the show by heading to runjumpstomp.com/voicemail from any device, and I may play it on the show!
Story Links for this Episode
Email from Nick
Hi Bill: I am a 70 year old gamer,love your podcast. One of my all time favorites is super punch out. SNES..and the wii version. Do you think this will ever show up on Nintendo Online? Your thoughts,please
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What is Stadia fails?
Other examples of Crowdplay (The crowd can capture their end as well)
Crowd Choice (Games comes up with polls automatically) (Weapon) (Tug of War poll) (NPC Dialogue Choices) (Crowd boost – only one choice?)
One quote from this that really stands out “All crowdplay streams are opportunities for viewers to buy and play your game”
Email from Gary
Just wanted to get in touch regarding the recent topic of discussion Ep10, what price/what games/when will it launch, following the recent tease tweet sent out by Google. Now I appreciate you’ve touched on a good handful of the thoughts I’m outlining below so if it’s treading old ground for you I’m more than happy for you to take me as the crackpot rant machine I clearly am, seeing the length of what I’ve written here…
So my opinions/thoughts in a nice TL;DR format: (His email was REALLY long and well thought out, if you want to read it I included it in the show notes) But its too long to include in the show.
Pricing: Free + game purchase & optional game subscription services
Games: Don’t worry, E3 is only a week or so away
Launch: Late August to Early September
PRICING Firstly pricing, I don’t think that I agree with the idea of basing the price of this service on the quality of the stream and an applicable pricing tier. The main reason I disagree with this is that it seems to fly in the face of the idea that they will be constantly be upgrading the platform in the background and ultimately they will want to provide the best possible player experience to anyone and everyone who is able to access it; with their current Internet speed. It also wouldn’t foster an inclusive style ethos that they seem to be aiming for. By not basing quality on a given pricethis gives them leeway to selectively keep pace with the current PC market and possibly even ahead of the current generation of consoles, at least in terms of graphic quality and still provide the seamless user experience they are pitching this at.
The pricing that I believe we will see will be free, where you will buy games as if it where a store. This seems to me the most sensible choice as it caters for those who provide niche experiences all the way to big developers/publishers, who often produce games of very different player time commitment and graphical necessity, which to me wouldn’t suit a google music style play time/money share on an overarching subscription or a quality of stream based model. Besides this the complaint of ownership is more likely to abate a degree if people feel they have outright bought access to the games they have definitively. I do however believe we will see a subscription model bolted with this but seeing how the current market is shifting it will probably work a lot closer to the current TV subscriptions and add on’s work, that will give a base Stadia subscription which developers/publishers will request or enticed to be included in; along with the products Stadia games and entertainment will produce, as well as the bolt on of different publishers own subscript fees; e.g. EA origins. All of this will be managed through a single interface as part of your billing. With the caveat that games engaged with in this manner will likely release potentially earlier especially for their own studio releases. The little talked thing regarding Stadia, is the prevalence of popular free to play games within the market, which with a free service will more than likely draw droves of people who can finally play these games as intended, totally free, with the option to engage with micro-transactions; which in fact was a monetization option mentioned by Phil Harrison at GDC. I already hear a certain potential disdain for this idea in the very real question of how does google make money here but in all honesty having the potential to take a slice even if marginal from each sale whether micro or for full games, the option to add a subscription model in some guise and ultimately the increased user presence on their other major platform, YouTube, will more than likely make up for any foreseen shortfall on initial outlay. Ultimately I believe they want the best experience possible for every end user who plays games but to cast the net wider and farther than any of the traditional modes of gaming have been able to facilitate. Which in turn would generate greater revenue even if each slice is a smaller amount.
Games As for games, I think first and foremost that at launch we will see from Stadia games and entertainment a Wii play type party experience that will showcase all the unique features of the platform, especially the state share and co-op stream connect mechanisms which in some respects for current games would be somewhat difficult to incorporate, with the prevalence of always on multiplayer games which don’t translate well to either co-op or bite-size chunkable experiences in all cases. I also feel this will be the first free hook, either for a limited period for early adopters or will be bundled with the purchase of the Stadia controller. Beyond that I can almost be certain that they will be working on as many free to play games as possible, as mentioned earlier, to hook people into trying if not fully adopting the service, so i don’t doubt seeing the likes of Warframe/Dautless/Apex legends; which are already available today on consoles. I also see, even if it’s a forgone conclusion on any system these days seeing Rocket league and games in this vein. This may seem trite to point out but I think it sits with the philosophy of launching with a platform like this, that of getting people on board out of the gate and at least trying the service, even if they ultimately decide this isn’t for them or it will only be so for certain experiences. Sure after that we are all in the dark, we may have inklings as to what may come due to obvious involvement of ubisoft, Id and the commentary of publishers and developers not explicitly linked so far. But this really doesn’t concern me as i honestly believe at E3 we will see the Stadia logo take its pride of place alongside the other platform providers logos with a good proportion of the games being announced. Ultimately as you’ve mentioned let the publishers and developers promote the fact that you mean business. As an additional thought to this though and it may effect the availability of games at launch for the better, is that of how exclusivity deals work in respect of consoles. Seeing as Stadia isn’t a traditional console depending how these deals are written we may see games launch on Stadia this time round at the same time as being at least time limited exclusives to either of the Playstation or Xbox. This isn’t so uncommon as it currently doesn’t seem to effect PC versions when these exclusivity deals are put in place like it does the competing console. I appreciate that most of the time PC versions are released later but I thought it might be worth mentioning as it’s a bit of a loophole that publishers/developers may have had available since the launch of Stadia might have been a relative unknown to the majority of the industry as a whole,especially with such a short turn around to launch from the initial project stream trials.
This leads me to launch expectations/time frames… Now a lot of this is opinion but there are some things we do know that I’m basing my internal timeline for launch:
The tweet explicitly says we will have all information in the summer, which is after E3 Earlier Phil Harrison whether at the GDC announcement or in an interview, I can’t seem to put my hand on where stated, they would be giving more information twice more before the summer.
With all that said this is probably to my mind hardest to put a true prediction on but there is at least one solid fact that it will depend on before launch. Which is quite clearly to me the YouTube engagement with the video creator community. Now again this may seem so obvious it hurts but ultimately the way the service and its integrations have been sold at GDC means to me that they want the entire community clued up on how everything works in advance and what their involvement looks like before they hit launch. There would be no point in them ever launching and watching people scramble to work out how to integrate Stadia on day one, undoubtedly causing backlash, this needs to be a well established idea and potentially a well defined set of options that people know where and how to activate on any of their streams. This would serve as a great marketing ploy due to the undoubtedly vast amount of day one streams this will launch and potential sceptic/naysayer adoption due to readily available play now button linking and crowd play streams YouTubers will want to test. Now seeing as Youtube gaming is listed as an E3 presence this seems to me when this will happen. Which all leads to point that we will see the full launch after E3 at some point, along with the bullet above regarding full information. I was once in favour of the idea that they would put on a guerrilla style marketing of this that as soon as E3 ends they would drop a launch video show casing the games coming, the games available now, the store front and the revelation its free, all culminating in a ‘visit store’/’play now’ button at the end of the video, with either a trial of AC odyssey to wet peoples appetite or the Stadia games experience I mentioned earlier; but this neither seems feasible or in line with the recent tweet now. Although I do believe at launch this will be the type of video to play cross experience I outlined I don’t think it will be as early as the end of E3. Instead i feel they will likely do this in two stages, firstly a video with a wrap up of all the up coming games just after E3 with a specific launch date announced for the platform. Giving time for YouTubers to get clued up on how they are to set up for this, with the content presented at E3. Then following this initial video the one i originally outlined with the play/store button will include a guide to the store and a quick showcase of all the games available now, culminating in the ‘Its free jump in and play now’ style messaging at launch. With this I feel we will undoubtedly see the associated video splashed across the YouTube banner at the top, beyond that I feel almost certain it will be linked to the periods google doodle, because nothing says It’s here better than being placed on possibly the most active homepage on the web today. They may even to some extent hijack the chrome browser to display a popup on launch of the app for mobiles/tablets etc. We may even see the controller go on preorder within this first phase video as this would likely allow them to accommodate for level of demand.
As for specific dates based on this, allowing enough time for people to get ready, i have three trains of thought: It will coincide with a big game launch most likely Doom eternal, which is a potential at earliest release around early September to my thinking. Seeing as we already know it will launch in 2019. Although this is speculative, seeing as game developers have used this sort of window in the past and the release of the likes of MHW Iceborne that will be releasing in this period, it isn’t unfeasible that google might follow this sort of pattern expecting to garner interest in the platform before the run into the holiday period for the regions they have outlined at launch: UK/US/Canada/Europe. At worst it’s likely to be in the early November window that traditional consoles use, although I’m less keen on this as it doesn’t seem necessary as it’s not going to be a box you put under the tree as such. Sometime in July, now this is more to me to garner the interest of the most prevalent of early adopters, a younger generation. Seeing as all the launch regions will be breaking for summer holidays this could give them a very good platform of players to try the experience with both those enjoying the break and those who are taking work holiday to be around their family in this period. Although I feel this is the most unlikely period for launch it still has potential. Lastly another big gaming event, now this is somewhat tentative as there are a two that could potentially fit the bill during the summer window:
Gamescon 21st-23rd August: With Gamescon we have possibly the largest gaming event for the public in the world, it says so on their site ;p but beyond this having perused the job adverts for Stadia it appears that google also has a department situated in Germany devoted to making games and they’re hiring now. Although this is a tenuous last link, this could be made a little more rational due to the potential proximity to a local google data/server centre. Either way this doesn’t diminish the initial truth that a event like this would certainly be suitable, seeing as it’s possibly the largest consumer focused event after E3. But I hear you crying why would they not do it at a US event…
PAX West – 30th August – 2nd September: I’ve thrown this in for the exact reason i tail ended with above, its publicly accessible, it’s in the US and its by no means small as events go. So this seems to fit for exactly the same sort of reasoning as above.
Now with this all being said my money is on it being the early September period. As this aligns quite well with the build up to Christmas and a potential hit release as mentioned before. And assuming it is at one of the events mentioned they will have an amazing consumer focused stage to make it happen from. I know I’ve speculated a lot of potentials here but in all honesty these are the common themes I’ve seen for launch of every console to date and the industry seems to keep to these, as i call them, windows of opportunity.
If you’ve made it this far I really appreciate it, thank you!
I’m more than happy for you to use any of the thoughts and opinions here by all means, whether to argue against them or to put them forward as things you agree with in future content. Only thing I would ask is to stay anonymous please and thank you!
Really love the podcast and I’m looking forward to both your own and Lloyds input as things continue with Stadia.
Thanks again, Gary
Email from Joe-Man
Just caught up on Stadiacast! Listening to you and Lloyd talk about better A.I. potential in Stadia reminded me of some videos involving Google DeepMind. DeepMind made big news a couple years ago when their A.I. AlphaGo was the first program to beat professional human players at the ancient strategy game of Go. What made less of a splash but was more impressive is that they built an A.I. called Alphastar that was the first to ever beat professional Starcraft 2 players. They deliberately limited the computer’s actions per minute to human level to make it fair. Your podcast made me pick up on some details that I hadn’t previously understood the importance of. They attempted, with mixed success, to produce AlphaStar A.I. which mimicked human players of various skill levels not just professional!