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Forums - Gaming Discussion - Why is Sony being left out of the Streaming Future Conversation? Why are we even having it?

HoloDust said:
Data centers and coverage - both MS and Google have a lot of them. As in crapload of them.

I can't remember exactly which one of those two, but I think it's Google's Project Stream that is calculating some things in advance to reduce latency - no idea how that actually works.

I've heard about the whole predicted AI too. I don't quite get this as a function for games. Are they really trying to advertise computers making moves for us before we have even decided it because they suspect that is what we will do?! So at that point a computer is playing the game for us.

 

Do you want The Matrix/Skynet? Because this is how you get it.



      

      

      

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SvennoJ said:
Pemalite said:

The laws of Physics literally comes into play.

Depends on the encoding algorithms in use and the hardware support to go with it.

The laws of physics add about 4.8 ms for every 1000 km of glass fibre (light travels about 31% slower through fibre optics) or adds 9.7 ms to ping time per 1000 km. Of course that's the maximum speed on the backbone. The number of hops the signal has to go through to get into your house adds a lot more.

You can test it yourself with Azure http://www.azurespeed.com/
While playing you will have a more stable connection of course, this is just a ping test.
Anyway far above the laws of physics as the nearest server is only 100 km away from me at 50 ms average.

The better the encoding the more expensive the hardware to encode and decode. Yet those will keep getting cheaper over time. When blu-ray came out you pretty much needed most of the ps3 capabilities to decode h.264. The main cost of early blu-ray players was the power needed for decoding. Nowadays h.265 is in newer phones so decoding should be fine. Efficient real time hardware encoding still asks quite a few resources though. And that while people are getting used to 4K60 on their new 65" HDR tvs. My laptop can't handle 4K60 you tube :/ It will be 1080p60 at most I guess. Aiming for 10mbps is decent quality 1080p60.

Streaming will literally lag behind local hardware for quite a while, perhaps indefinitely and we'll reach a point where people won't care about pristine quality and lag free gaming anymore over convenience. Just as Netflix has killed the video store, game streaming could accomplish the same and buying games could become a niche.

I wonder how prices will stabilize for streaming. Netflix went up quite a bit from the early days and has currently 3 tiers for different quality streaming and number of simultaneous clients. The same could happen for games, extra for fast action games, newer games, higher resolution. Commercials in the stream for cheaper subscriptions. Time limited / unlimited. So many possibilities to make money for service providers. That $10 console fee Sony and MS currently get for 3rd party games is nothing compared to that!




Great post, obviously te reason everyone is talking streaming is the success of Netflix and Spotify.  For my 2 cents, I am becoming disillusioned with streaming, as more and more video services split a finite number of movies among them...will I pay for a Disney service, or will it simpky decrease the value of Netflix for me? Also, why can't I get a single James Bond movie on Netflix?  I am curious to see what this does to  Netflix in the next 2 years.



KBG29 said:

Been wondering the same thing. I have been streaming games to my Vita via Remote Play since PS4 arrived, and I have been using PS Now since 2014.

I have seen so many videos and articles talking about how awesome it would be to stream things like God of War or Spider-Man a Mobile device, and I'm like, o/????

I have watched a few vidoes of people streaming Assasins Creed, and praising Google and Micorosft for innovating game streaming.

It makes no sense. PlayStation Now has been great at the technology level. Remote Play has been allowing you to Play any PS4 Game on Vita and Xperia all gen. The only draw back to PS Now is the lack of new games. Other than that, what other services gives you streaming, downloads, and covers your Online gaming subscription?

NONE

This just seems to be a thing with Sony services though. Music Unlimited was miles ahead of Spotify and Apple Music, but it could not gain traction. PlayStation Vue wipes the floor with Cable, let alone the other OTT services, yet it has the lowest subscriber count of them all.

For whatever reason, Sony just can't sell services.

PlayStation Vue costs more money and has less channels than my Hulu with Live TV package.  No thanks.



couchmonkey said:

Great post, obviously te reason everyone is talking streaming is the success of Netflix and Spotify.  For my 2 cents, I am becoming disillusioned with streaming, as more and more video services split a finite number of movies among them...will I pay for a Disney service, or will it simpky decrease the value of Netflix for me? Also, why can't I get a single James Bond movie on Netflix?  I am curious to see what this does to  Netflix in the next 2 years.

Indeed, we kind of had it all for video after the format war was settled. One box plays all. No matter where you get the movie or tv show, you can watch it. Now we already have Netflix, Amazon video, Hulu, CBS all access, Disney, HBO Go, Playstation Vue and more popping up. At least I can still buy Westworld season 2 on blu-ray at some point and play it on any blu-ray player.

Games were already fragmented between platforms and no doubt at some point we'll get, and already have, exclusives or originals / early access for Game pass, EA Access, PSN, Nintendo online and what ever other subscription services will pop up. With game services it's going to be more complicated with which devices support which services. Just as more and more games become multi platform with the end of 3rd party exclusives, we're about to open a whole new can of worms.



There's more potential in that area coming from Google and Microsoft. Their cloud infrastructure and capital dwarfs Sony's.

Consoles will stick around for a while and Sony will likely remain on top, but the giant tech companies have a much better footing when it comes to developing technology for streaming games and it is hard for smaller players to compete. Even Amazon has a better claim in the streaming race.



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SvennoJ said:
Pemalite said:

The laws of Physics literally comes into play.

Depends on the encoding algorithms in use and the hardware support to go with it.

The laws of physics add about 4.8 ms for every 1000 km of glass fibre (light travels about 31% slower through fibre optics) or adds 9.7 ms to ping time per 1000 km. Of course that's the maximum speed on the backbone. The number of hops the signal has to go through to get into your house adds a lot more.

You can test it yourself with Azure http://www.azurespeed.com/

I didn't know about that website. Looks like I have 32-40 ms ping to the nearest Azure data center, which is in my state. That's not bad at all, I could live with 32-40ms of additional input lag while streaming singleplayer games. I used to play CoD with 100ms ping back when I had crappy Verizon DSL, before I upgraded to Comcast Cable. 

Plus we've heard that MS has other plans for reducing input lag while streaming. They're working on predictive algorithms in a project called DeLorean, which guesses what you will do next in a game. We've also heard rumors that they are working on a streaming version of the next-gen Xbox, which will cost less and have weaker hardware, but will use it's local rendering power to run the latency dependent aspects of a game locally (controller input, collision detection, and image processing), while the less latency dependent aspects are pulled from the cloud. 



forevercloud3000 said:
HoloDust said:
Data centers and coverage - both MS and Google have a lot of them. As in crapload of them.

I can't remember exactly which one of those two, but I think it's Google's Project Stream that is calculating some things in advance to reduce latency - no idea how that actually works.

I've heard about the whole predicted AI too. I don't quite get this as a function for games. Are they really trying to advertise computers making moves for us before we have even decided it because they suspect that is what we will do?! So at that point a computer is playing the game for us.

 

Do you want The Matrix/Skynet? Because this is how you get it.

It doesn't play the game for you. It basically predicts the most likely controller inputs that you will make next in the game, renders the frames for all of those choices and sends them to back to you, so that when you make the actual controller input, if it matches one of the choices the AI predicted, the frame is already there ready to be played on screen, resulting in little to no additional input lag.  



shikamaru317 said:

Mainly because there haven't been any rumors or announcements about Sony's plans for PS Now next gen. Comparing the current PS Now to Microsoft's XCloud and Google's Project Stream is like comparing PS1 to the original Xbox and Gamecube, it's like 2 different generations of technology.

XCloud will have lots of data centers because it shares MS's Azure Cloud network, meaning that the distance to the closest data center will be shorter for most people than PS Now in it's current state, resulting in less latency. They are working on predictive algorithms that help to minimize the additional input lag that streaming services have, and we've even heard rumors that MS is working on a streaming version of the next gen Xbox, which will cost less than the traditional next-gen Xbox and will run latency dependent tasks locally, while pulling the non-latency dependent data from the streaming service, resulting in even less input lag. They are also also rumored to be working on a unique foldable tablet codenamed Andromeda, which will basically act as a handheld version of the next Xbox, able to access the full Xbox library over XCloud (yes, the eventual plan is to make the full Xbox library, including OG Xbox, 360, XB1 games through backwards compatibility, and next-gen Xbox games, playable over XCloud).

Project Stream meanwhile will also have a ton of data centers, because it's Google, meaning that much like with XCloud, most people will be closer to the nearest data center than PS Now in it's current state. Early tests show that Project Stream will go up to 1080p on a strong internet connection, compared to 720p on PS Now, and that you get about 40 ms of additional lag, compared to 62-80 ms of additional lag on PS Now.

Now, that's not to say that Sony doesn't have plans to improve PS Now to bring it more in line with the "next gen" services from MS and Google, we just don't know about those plans if they do have them. 

If we are looking at a shootout in hardware, software and infrastructure, you would believe that MS, Google and even Amazon would have a leg up in this race.  All big 3 already have paid the money for they datacenters and their datacenters make them cash.  Sony on the other hand would have to rely on ramping up datacenters to co-exist with the big 3 and PS Now would basically have to be the bread winner.  This could be very pricey for Sony as their market cap just isn't in the same league as the big 3.  It would be interesting to see if Sony has a response to MS and Google entering into the market and if they have kept some hidden secrets on making PSNow a better offering before the big boys start to throw their weight around.  At least Sony still has the content, which is always king.



shikamaru317 said:
SvennoJ said:

The laws of physics add about 4.8 ms for every 1000 km of glass fibre (light travels about 31% slower through fibre optics) or adds 9.7 ms to ping time per 1000 km. Of course that's the maximum speed on the backbone. The number of hops the signal has to go through to get into your house adds a lot more.

You can test it yourself with Azure http://www.azurespeed.com/

I didn't know about that website. Looks like I have 32-40 ms ping to the nearest Azure data center, which is in my state. That's not bad at all, I could live with 32-40ms of additional input lag while streaming singleplayer games. I used to play CoD with 100ms ping back when I had crappy Verizon DSL, before I upgraded to Comcast Cable. 

Plus we've heard that MS has other plans for reducing input lag while streaming. They're working on predictive algorithms in a project called DeLorean, which guesses what you will do next in a game. We've also heard rumors that they are working on a streaming version of the next-gen Xbox, which will cost less and have weaker hardware, but will use it's local rendering power to run the latency dependent aspects of a game locally (controller input, collision detection, and image processing), while the less latency dependent aspects are pulled from the cloud. 

Streaming still needs to go for the most cost effective solution. You don't get 4K blu-ray quality with Dolby Atmos on Netflix.

The improvement in performance doesn't come for free; sending those extra predictive frames and information does add a bandwidth overhead of anywhere from 1.5 to four times that of a normal streaming game client, according to Microsoft Research (those numbers would be worse if not for compression owing to the similarity of most predicted frames). Getting the service to work also required special coding on top of the tested versions of Doom 3 and Fable 3, which were modified to support the new predictive streaming system.

It's a cool research project. However when the money men step in it's going to get axed quickly. Extra coding, extra data, extra hardware, not cost effective.

Plus we're still waiting for that cloud assisted game, Crackdown 3. I don't expect much from complex clients doing half the work. The point of streaming is to have a simplified solution that works on as many devices as possible. Not a complex client that has to download half a game first and do half the processing locally. That's the worst of both worlds.

Another question that comes up is, what will happen to controllers? Will every different streaming service require their own controllers like consoles do now? At some point people will wonder why all the different controllers as you don't need a different remote either for Netflix and Amazon Prime. However controllers etc is where console makers make the most money.



It is a little strange, I guess it's because PS Now has been focused on older titles and maybe because it has received mixed bad and positive press throughout it's life. But even PS Now (which is actually pretty good) is built upon older attempts from Gaikai (PS Now is Gaikai) and Onlive. Streaming games is not new, it's just looking like more competition is about to take it seriously.