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Google teases its big break into video games

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Project Stream

Years ago, on comedy website Cracked of all places (which is kind of similar to us but they’re actually funny), I read a post about the future of video games. In it, was a look at tomorrow and how games would be delivered. Not as fully completed products on a physical storage medium, but rather as piecemeal releases that would be streamed to a console.

Back then, I scoffed at the idea. I scoffed to the max, because surely such a lofty idea would never find a place with consumers…right? These days, I’m not so certain. Hell, in the current gaming landscape, I’m more than content to have a digital library, with the majority of my games grabbed from an online store. A truth that exists across all three of my primary consoles, and a new status quo that I’m happy with as services such as Xbox’s Game Pass prove themselves to be actual value for money.

I’m still not convinced over the idea of streaming gameplay to a console. PlayStation Now only works in a select market for a tiny number of people who can afford the high-speed connection necessary to maintain a stable experience, and short of emigrating to South Korea, that’s not going to change any time soon unless some radical new software can make the system work across a wider variety of regions.

Google might have solved that conundrum. The search engine titan has been investing an ungodly amount of cash into gaming, and it looks like a reveal is finally on the way. Invites to Google’s Game Developer’s Conference 2019 keynote have begun circulating (Thanks GI.Biz), with said notes revealing a “light at the end of the tunnel” and a date of March 19 for a reveal which will kick off at 7PM CET/10AM PST.

What’s on the agenda? Well back in October 2018, Google showed off Project Stream, which broadcast gameplay of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey at a rate of 60fps over a 1080p resolution through Google’s Chrome browser. It’s kind of impressive stuff, if you’ve got the internet connection to handle it:

There were still some latency issues during the trial period that Google ran for Project Stream, but the results did look promising. Hopefully the March reveal of what’s next, shows even further improvement for the system. There are also murmurs the company will reveal its own gaming console. Welcome to the future of gaming.

Last Updated: February 20, 2019

20 Comments

  1. No thank you.

    Reply

  2. Pariah

    February 20, 2019 at 08:02

    How many years before we get the local servers we’d need for something like this to work here? Pipedreams for us until then.

    Reply

    • justlikemo

      February 20, 2019 at 08:15

      should be soon enough, if not already here, know people that work at Google SA.

      Reply

      • Pariah

        February 20, 2019 at 08:22

        It’s not just about having servers though – it’s about having enough of the right servers. Remember, all the rendering grunt-work has to be done by the servers, and graphic cards aren’t really a thing in most server setups.

        Reply

    • Kromas

      February 20, 2019 at 09:12

      Even with local servers you would need at bare minimum a 20 meg fibre line to even think about doing it.

      Reply

      • Pariah

        February 20, 2019 at 09:34

        Yeah, but by the time the servers are there, the fibre infrastructure will be wide-spread enough. Already so many areas in Jhb and Cape Town have fibre, so it’s really not a hinderance at this point.

        Reply

        • Kromas

          February 20, 2019 at 11:06

          That ain’t the issue. a 20 meg line will cost and arm and a leg quite soon as we are heading towards a monopoly situation in that space already.

          Reply

          • Pariah

            February 20, 2019 at 11:34

            You mean the space where more and more companies are laying their own fibre / entering the market? That space?

          • Kromas

            February 20, 2019 at 11:54

            I am talking about the space where compnaies like Vumatel have already purchased fibrehoods and is planning on buying more companies for their fibre backhaul.

            In fact fibrehoods prices already increased because of it.This includes the likes of Vox fibre and Afrihost fibre.

  3. justlikemo

    February 20, 2019 at 08:15

    Wow its a fancy flash player

    Reply

  4. Captain JJ

    February 20, 2019 at 08:42

    As a pc gamer having an all digital library has been reality for years. Hell, I haven’t had a disc drive in my computer for many many years.
    Streaming a game however, that’s not something that appeals to me at all. Online streaming that kind of quality and content just isn’t reliable right now.

    Reply

    • G8crasha

      February 20, 2019 at 09:19

      I have a few hard copies of older games, but 99% of my games in the last few years have been purely online purchases. Likewise, streaming is not going to be a reality for us in SA for many years I think. I mean technically, its possible that you can send highly compressed files over the Internet that are extracted in game and injected into the game, but imagine the complex structure of such programming. Also consider how much processing power it takes to compress and extract files. Maybe they have a more technologically advanced way of doing it. I mean let’s be honest, we are only able to stream movies and series over an IC because of video and audio compression standards used by Netlfix, Showmax, Prime, etc.

      Reply

  5. Gavin Mannion

    February 20, 2019 at 09:28

    I don’t quite understand why anyone would want this? Is hard drive storage space really that much of a problem. Hell to play this you need a really good line so just delete and redownload games at will?

    I just don’t see a point to this at all

    Reply

    • Pariah

      February 20, 2019 at 09:35

      A new gaming PC costs R15k+. If you don’t need all the extra grunt, you can spend 1/3rd of that and still play the games. Also, no need to upgrade every few years to keep playing stuff on the highest settings. Just increase your internet speed as and when for higher fidelity.

      Reply

      • Mark Treloar

        February 20, 2019 at 09:57

        Sure, but the cost of a decent line that could manage this at least locally would be a significant cost, and that would exclude the monthly subscription fee for the service itself.

        Reply

        • Pariah

          February 20, 2019 at 10:11

          I recently upgraded from a 10/1 capped ADSL line (150gb data) to a premium uncapped (no shaping, no fup) 50/50 fibre line. I pay R150 more per month, all inclusive. I’m sorry, costing around 15-20% (edited, I redid the math a bit better) more for 500% of the speed and unlimited data is somehow significant?

          Gamers won’t be on the cheap 2mb or 4mb lines to begin with, so the only thing in the way is the physical infrastructure. And bear in mind, had I gone with regular uncapped I would’ve been paying less than what I was paying on my ADSL line.

          Reply

          • Dresden

            February 20, 2019 at 10:18

            Thanks for reminding me that my area doesn’t have fibre yet!

          • Pariah

            February 20, 2019 at 10:32

            You’re welcome. But take heart – by the time there are servers in SA that can stream games to your whatever pc you own, there will be. 😛

            Heck, fibre may even be obsolete by then, which means it’ll be the main thing we have here in SA.

          • Mark Treloar

            February 20, 2019 at 10:18

            That may be, but not all Fibre connections are equal. Some gated communities and complexes price gouge the tenants to the point that a 20M/bit connection is over a R1000. Then you have to rely on up-time to play anything. My line was recently down for over a week because Cell C were pathetically slow to respond.

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