Spencer: Video game streaming 'years and years' away from being mainstream

Napalm_Frank

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
3,037
Finland
If you were paying attention at E3, you'd be forgiven for thinking game streaming, via services like Google Stadia and Microsoft's Project xCloud, were coming to transform how we play video games -- and fast. Like, 2020 fast.
According to Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft's Xbox division, that might not actually be the case. As part of an exclusive series of interviews with CNET's sister site GameSpot, Spencer revealed that he expects the game streaming revolution to take longer than some may have anticipated.
"I think this is years away from being a mainstream way people play," he told GameSpot. "And I mean years, like years and years."
...
"Let's take Netflix, which is 20 years old," he said. "I think we forget that sometimes because tech moves so fast. It's 20 years old at this point, so it took two decades for us to get to the point where shows like Game of Thrones and House of Cards are some of the biggest shows [on] the planet and mainly watched via streaming. I think game streaming will get there faster than 20 years, but it's not going to be two years. This is a technological change. While it seems like it happens overnight, it doesn't."
More at:
https://www.cnet.com/news/xboxs-phil-spencer-says-video-game-streaming-is-years-and-years-away-from-being-mainstream/
https://www.gamespot.com/articles/phil-spencer-talks-microsofts-e3-2019-and-why-he-w/1100-6468799/

Would be interesting to know what is the exact time they hope for streaming to hit big and if Stadia has the patience for a long term plan.
 

Bits N Pieces

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,328
Scotland
Really hope I get into the beta later this year, I'm doing a lot more travelling with work right now and being able to access my games on my phone or tablet whilst holed up in hotels would be fucking amazing.
 

Dan Thunder

Member
Nov 2, 2017
3,125
I agree. The technology just isn't there yet for the vast majority of people to have an experience equal to, let alone better than, a dedicated machine.
 

Theorry

Member
Oct 27, 2017
19,603
Nailed it. You need to ease people into it, combined with the technology.
Thats why i think what Google is doing isnt the right way. They almost brute force it and that results into blowback. Like what is abit happening now.

We talk about Project xCloud and we use words like "trials" not because we don't believe in our tech--our tech is as good as anybody's tech out there, and the team is doing really amazing work--but this is about the reality of time and choice for customers."
 

thebishop

Member
Nov 10, 2017
1,574
Imo this point mainly speaks to the full unrealized potential of streaming. The wild promises of thousand player battle royales and single instance MMOs and shit. There will be a time when cloud rendering is beyond dispute a bigger and better way to play than local rendering.

But if we're just talking about content, Stadia seems to be off to a good start. They've got almost every major publisher signed on a year before launch.
 

modiz

Member
Oct 8, 2018
5,329
Personally I don’t think it will ever be mainstream, but as he says, we have long time before it has the opportunity of catching on
 

Raide

Member
Oct 31, 2017
7,611
Agreed. It will be years before the mainstream adopt it, mainly due to broadband speeds etc but the hardcore will jump on it if the price is good and the service offering is solid.

Thankfully the Xcloud test comes soon, so people will be able to see if it is worth it now.
 

Burai

Member
Oct 27, 2017
661
I've tried to get Steam Link running satisfactorily with equipment all inside my own home over ethernet and I get a ton of stuttering, frame drops and image quality issues.

I'm going to need a lot of convincing that Google will somehow manage to top that experience via my 70 Mb/s fibre connection.
 

Hyun Sai

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,845
Streaming TV shows is way easier than streaming Video Games, so years and years is still being incredibly optimistic.
 
Oct 25, 2017
11,866
This was rather clear from the start. The infrastructure surrounding it needs a major upgrade on a global scale first.
 

daxy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,713
In-home streaming works pretty well though. Both Steam's and Nvidia's software has been great in my setup, even though I have relatively average internet speeds.
 

bane833

Banned
Nov 3, 2017
3,453
But if we're just talking about content, Stadia seems to be off to a good start. They've got almost every major publisher signed on a year before launch.
So they have less than everybody else and absolutely fuck all regarding self produced exclusive content.

I remember a time when someone like this entering the gaming landscape would have been laughed out of the building.
 

tapedeck

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,282
I mean yeah..I kinda thought this was common sense. I could see game streaming being a real viable ‘mainstream’ option in maybe 10 years or so.
 

Apathy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,393
No shit. It's literally what the level headed among us have been telling people. Maybe now that Phil is saying it, some specific people on this board will get it through their heads
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,185
Sweden
It's not going to be tomorrow, but it I'm fairly confident it will become the mainstream way of gaming eventually.

There are just too many benefits for the platform holders not to do it, and there are lots of benefits for consumers as well (instant access, no updates). The drawbacks will either be ironed out over time (internet speed requirements) or will end up not matter to most consumers (no more game ownership).
 

SuikerBrood

Member
Jan 21, 2018
10,815
Well, duh.

I'm very excited to try it out this year. The streaming future is going to be fascinating. Also really interested in the Stadia Connect next week. Hope they'll improve their messaging.

Streaming is going to be amazing, but it's going to take a while. The idea of giving people more options to play will increase the industries' reach.
 

Mendrox

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,105
Not mainstream, but it's already mainstream for me when I can easily play my PS4 or PC all over the world without any hassle. Works like a charme and is great. Dedicated servers all over the world? Great! But yeah I am the exception.
 

Aprikurt

Member
Oct 29, 2017
4,745
PS Now/Remote Play have both been an utter joke for me whenever I’ve tried it, and I don’t exactly have the worst internet going. It’s going to take a while.
 

Kwigo

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
2,634
Really hope I get into the beta later this year, I'm doing a lot more travelling with work right now and being able to access my games on my phone or tablet whilst holed up in hotels would be fucking amazing.
You mean with hotel wifi where 300+ people share one 80MB internet connection?

Yeah good luck with that
 
Oct 28, 2017
574
Phill has this rare thing called common sense. I hope he will be in this or a higher position for a long time at xbox.
Game streaming will be all down to the isps upgrading to fiber and the number of cloud data centers to ensure minimal lag and decent quality picture.
So far I'm sceptical about Stadia, since they couldn't even deliver the announcement live stream flawlessly on youtube despite me having a wired gigabit connection. So how would they deliver [email protected] with high bitrate AND real time controls?
 
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DavidDesu

Member
Oct 29, 2017
2,567
Glasgow, Scotland
Would be interesting to know what is the exact time they hope for streaming to hit big and if Stadia has the patience for a long term plan.
I'm guessing technology like (real) 5G will leapfrog many people's home connections, which given the speed of tech like 5G, might make it so that many people never have their wired connection at home ever improved upon because the infrastructure costs to do so are prohibitive. Why lay cables when you can just set up a few masts and do everything wirelessly? And from what I gather 5G, when all is working as it should, would give a far better connection for streaming than my current 35mbps fibre connection does.

So I'd say in 5 years the tech will be wide spread enough that streaming platforms become way more viable. Then the final issue becomes removing data caps or paying some sort of streaming premium, or some kind of behind closed doors deal between providers and streaming companies, to make downloading GBs of data everyday possible for most.
 

zedox

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,614
By 2030... Definitely. I see it being normalized by 2025. Also, MS is starting out with mobile and then gradually going to different device types. This is also a way to combat Googles messaging.

Streaming future will be great for me, can't wait.
 

IIFloodyII

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,965
Hopefully this will shut up the next gen is all about streaming brigade for awhile, Sony also said something similar awhile ago. Next, next gen maybe.
 

Primethius

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,455
Thank god Phil is so reasonable here. Now some of the ridiculous hoopla around streaming can be dialed back.
 

Rukumouru

Member
Nov 12, 2017
1,092
I honestly doubt it's gonna be "faster" in adoption. The challenges involved are way fucking bigger. You can't hide micro-cuts with buffering (can't buffer at all without insane input lag, actually) and latency is a thing. A huuuuge barrier.

The kinds of games that wouldn't be affected by these issues don't need to be streamed as they don't require powerful hardware.
 

Aesthet1c

Member
Oct 27, 2017
388
I’m sure you’ve been to the pro-streaming threads on here and seen the deluded defense on there, so unlikely.
Deluded? Come on, let's not be that dismissive. Steam's in home streaming works incredibly well on my setup, to the point where I played through the entirety of DMC5 through streaming. I was also in the beta for Google's project Stream and while Assassin's Creed isn't the best game to measure input lag, it was still %100 playable without many noticable issues. I believe Stadia and Xcloud can work as well as they are advertising it, and that's not from some delusional blind faith, it's from my actual real world experience with streaming tech.
 

Baked Pigeon

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,332
Phoenix
I don't think Spencer was saying it's years away from mainstream due to.developmental reasons, but more to do with consumer acceptance and nternet infrastructure. The technology is clearly in place and will get better over time.
 

Eoin

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,248
And from what I gather 5G, when all is working as it should, would give a far better connection for streaming than my current 35mbps fibre connection does.
Not necessarily. 5G improves over 4G's latency and bandwidth, but compared to home connections, latency should be close to identical. Bandwidth comparisons will be highly variable. With your current bandwidth being so low, 5G would almost certainly give you improved bandwidth over your current connection, but unless you're sharing your connection with other people that probably won't mean any improvement in streaming performance for most services. No games streaming service that's available now or in the near future will be bottlenecked by a 35 megabit per second connection.
 

jroc74

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,464
I compare it to digital purchases.

Last gen was the inception, this gen it took off.

Ten years at a minimum. Like someone said, next, next gen.
 

Alienous

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,527
Let's take Netflix, which is 20 years old," he said. "I think we forget that sometimes because tech moves so fast. It's 20 years old at this point, so it took two decades for us to get to the point where shows like Game of Thrones and House of Cards are some of the biggest shows [on] the planet and mainly watched via streaming. I think game streaming will get there faster than 20 years, but it's not going to be two years. This is a technological change. While it seems like it happens overnight, it doesn't.
This is a nonsensical point. Netflix started streaming in 2007. It has been streaming effectively for years now. It didn't just figure it out in 2019, 20 years after starting as a DVD rental service.

And gaming has already taken its nascent steps into game streaming. Perhaps not Microsoft, but Sony and Nvidia and others.
 

LCGeek

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,218
I've tried to get Steam Link running satisfactorily with equipment all inside my own home over ethernet and I get a ton of stuttering, frame drops and image quality issues.

I'm going to need a lot of convincing that Google will somehow manage to top that experience via my 70 Mb/s fibre connection.
Ethernet while being better than wireless isn't automatic in low latency scanerio where the tuning of software and hardware matter more than just method of networking you chose.

You bandwidth means little in streaming, any form of it in networking once you have enough.

I had a better experience on google streaming service than I've had with link and it's bugginess or inconsistent performance.

Not necessarily. 5G improves over 4G's latency and bandwidth, but compared to home connections, latency should be close to identical. Bandwidth comparisons will be highly variable. With your current bandwidth being so low, 5G would almost certainly give you improved bandwidth over your current connection, but unless you're sharing your connection with other people that probably won't mean any improvement in streaming performance for most services. No games streaming service that's available now or in the near future will be bottlenecked by a 35 megabit per second connection.
They can and will be bottlenecked by network stack features that add unnecessary lag to your connection. This still happens and the industry hasn't really addressed seriously what Toke and others have found the last decade that makes network performance bad.

Considering that we know now that proper network connection can maintain microsecond timing people should account for those factors. Most of hidden latency i talk about will not be seen unless you run tools to expose it.
 

digitalrelic

Weight Loss Champion 2018: Biggest Change
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Oct 25, 2017
2,733
Microsoft’s approach to streaming is the correct one. It should be supplemental to traditional gaming, not a replacement.
 

Ōkami Haundo

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,964
PA - US
This seems like a "Duh" kind of quote, but I'm still glad Phil openly said it. I've seen too many people who think next gen is the start of same "all-streaming" future and that just doesn't add up. Even when streaming takes off it won't necessarily kill physical or locally downloaded games.

Obviously, this also doesn't mean that Microsoft is pulling back on their streaming initiatives either. They just realize they won't get where they want to be overnight.
 

Elephant

Member
Nov 2, 2017
896
Nottingham, UK
We live in a streaming culture now, in all media except video games. The adoption rate is going to MUCH higher and faster than a lot of people in this thread are predicting. I personally think 3-5 years

Like how this gen has ended with digital surpassing physical sales, we'll see something similar with streaming next gen.

EDIT: Also this isn't some brand new thing. PSNow has been available for 5 years already. The first steps were taken quite a while ago.
 

UraMallas

Member
Nov 1, 2017
2,451
Iowa
I would say that next-next gen (8ish years from now) will be when we'll see real talk of mainstreaming this tech. MS getting in now puts them in a great position for that gen.
 

Kyrios

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,430
100% with Phil on this. Streaming will have to be eased in. That's why I like how MS is touting xCloud as "just another way to play". Streaming is not going to be an overnight success or become the norm any time soon. If streaming is successful within the next 10 years or by the time next gen winds down, then I can see a big push next-next gen, but again, we have to wait and see what happens as I don't think there's really a right or wrong answer on the future of game streaming yet.
 
Oct 26, 2017
4,641
United Kingdom
Spencer's inaccurate here. Game Streaming will be longer than 20yrs from the trchnology's introduction before it becomes mainstream (if it ever does).

If Spencer thinks it'll be a little less than 20yrs from Stadia launch, then it'll be close to 30yrs when all is said and done, especially since we're already nearly 10yrs in since the first streaming platform On-Live launched.

I personally don't think there's enough of a value or quality benefit for consumers to move to streaming platforms primarily.

I just don't see it ever happening.