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Yesterday, Google hosted an AMA on its next cloud game service, Stadia. Stadia is a unique project in the field of games – there is no other service available – but this particular facet goes both ways. The users had a lot of questions and the Stadia team provided some answers about the operation of the different facets of the service.
One thing was clear from the start: Stadia is not "Netflix for games". Stadia's Product Manager, Andrey Doronichev, written:
Stadia Pro is not "Netflix for games" as some have mentioned, a closer comparison would like Xbox Live Gold or Playstation Plus. Pro subscribers enjoy 4K / HDR streaming, 5.1 audio, exclusive discounts and access to some free games. About a free game a month or take. Starting with Destiny 2 (yay!).
This comparison is not very good either. Whether you like the idea of Stadia or not, what it offers – existing games only in the cloud you buy at a high price – is not the model used by Microsoft, Sony or any other company. The best companies offering cloud streaming services also offer physical downloads for local gaming. or they offer a Netflix style streaming service with an extensive catalog of titles.
Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus are thematically similar to the Stadia Pro in that Yes, these three services provide "added value" over the base platform experience. Stadia, however, is a service very different from the one offered by Sony and Microsoft. This changes the value proposition of Stadia Pro over Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus.
Another question players ask is whether Google invests in the product in a way that encourages players to invest. This is not an unfair question. Every big company launches and withdraws products. But few, if any, do it at Google's speed.
As this article discusses, from January to April 2019, the removal of Chromecast Audio by Google, the removal of YouTube annotations, the installation of Louisville KY fiber, the removal of IoT support from Android Things, the destruction of its laptops and tablets division, the closure of Google Allo and the closure of its Spotlight Stories VR studio, stopped accepting new users for the URL shortener Goo.gl, stopped IFTT support and ended Google+ and Google Inbox.
The Google Cemetery lists 155 projects that Google has eliminated, as well as statistics on its long-term behavior:
When asked if there were any EoL warranties associated with Stadia, Doronichev hinted that the transfer of games to the cloud was no different from the music, movies, photos and documents. He pointed to Google's investment so far in the stadiums before declaring:
(W) We are committed to making Stadia a success. The games you buy on Stadia are at your disposal. From the first day, we will support Takeout so that you can download your metadata set, including backups if you wish.
Of course, you can doubt my words. There is nothing I can say now to make you believe if you do not do it. But what we can do to launch the service and continue to invest in it for years to come. Exactly what we did with gMail, Docs, Music, Movies and Photos. That's exactly what we are committed to.
However, the question was: "If the Stadia service is interrupted, do we know what will happen (if any) with gaming purchases?" Alternatively, these are minimum EOL guarantees, etc. "
Donichev never really answers the question, leaving the de facto answer: "No." It begins by drawing a parallel with how movies, documents, and photos are moved in the cloud, but it ignores that content has been made available on streaming sites with Netflix-style content systems. or that the cloud the services in question are used to store his own personal data. stadiums is not the same as these services. The fact that Google continues to try and elide this difference is troubling.
You can quit your Stadia Pro subscription and still access the games. you bought (but not the titles you obtained for free as a subscriber). However, if Google closes Stadia, you will lose access to the securities you have purchased. This point is confused in some spaces, with reports that you can "quit" the service while retaining the titles you previously had to be a subscriber. This does not seem to be the case. You regain these titles if you re-subscribe, but it's not the same as having a version of a game that you can download and keep if the company decides to shut down its servers.
No company in the launch phase of a major launch will say that it only intends to operate a service in the short term or that everyone at Google is not determined to make this launch a success. The fact that Google has nothing to share about an EOL guarantee could mean that the company simply did not finalize this aspect of its service, but given its history, Google is one of the last companies on which I bet. come to the long-term question of whether it will keep a product on the market.
Google Docs is a major component of Google's efforts to integrate Microsoft Office as a suite of enterprise productivity. Some of Google's other cloud services are directly related to Android. Google Stadia, by contrast, is an attempt to attack Microsoft and Sony in an entirely new market with an untested business model. If Stadia takes off, Google will keep it. If that is not the case – and keep in mind, we have no idea what steps the company has internally set out to determine what's "taking off" – then Google is the ########################################################################## 39, one of these companies. less likely to engage in iterative improvement or pivotal marketing. Google can rehabilitate some of its products, but its long-term trend has always been to throw them away and launch something new. (This is how the company ended up with seven messaging platforms simultaneously at one time).
If you are the type of person who is buying a game, beating it and never playing it again, this risk may not matter. But I have not been able to offer a long-term platform support, not a Silicon Valley company. Some companies dig and improve products; some companies throw them away and start again. Google has always tended more towards the latter than the first.
Other treats from WADA include:
Stadia games prices will be competitive compared to other platforms. To play on a TV, Stadia Controller ($ 69) and Chromecast Ultra ($ 69) are needed, but Founders Edition also includes these components, three months of Stadia Pro, as well as a coupon to give this Stadia Pro to someone. Another one. time period for $ 130.
If you unsubscribe from Stadia and re-subscribe later, you will have access to the games you requested again while you were a Pro subscriber. You will not receive games that were distributed during your unsubscription.
Bluetooth audio support will be present at launch but may be added later. Support for audio via the Stadia controller is only via a headphone jack.
Google is committed to adding support for cross-games. The company begins by adding support to Chromecast Ultra but can turn on the service on other devices. Andrey also wants to support iOS and Android.
Achievement support will be added after launch but not available the first day.
The free game offer per month is reserved for Pro users. You can keep the game as long as you remain subscribed. Stadia Base does not include a game, only the option to buy games.
Google thinks that ISPs will increase data caps to allow services like Stadia to work without consuming all your bandwidth. There will be unspecified tools and services for bandwidth management. Doronichev writes: "There are many excellent ISPs offering packages with hundreds of Mbps or even gigabits and no cap", which is really cute, considering that about 40% of the country, including myself, has access to only one access provider.
The sharing of the family happens "early next year".
Overall, it's a solid AMA, but I would wait a year or three before investing money in the platform. In the past, Google was far too willing to kill products that were passionately loved by its user base so I could trust the company not to kill Stadia overnight. He never cared that users depended on products like Hangouts or Reader to make the decision to kill them, and that does not deserve to have begun unless, of course, that the company does not want to explicitly guarantee it in writing. Until now, Google has not done it yet.
I will not recommend anyone to buy products on Stadia unless Google wants to provide the warranty to provide the service for a minimum period of time. "Trust us" is a totally unacceptable answer at this stage.
Earlier this year, we heard about two new switches that Nintendo is supposed to launch. Switch Lite has recently been announced, confirming its own existence. Nintendo unveiled a second update of Switch. The new model has dramatically improved battery life and shows no other difference and will be sold at the same base price of $ 299.
Note: The fact that Nintendo does not claim any other differences does not mean that there can be only a few. This means however that they will probably be small and accessory.
The old switch had an estimated range of 2.5 to 6.5 hours. The new switch has an estimated range of 4.5 to 9 hours. Do the math, and that equals a 1.8x increase at the bottom of the scale and a 1.4x increase at the top. Even if the exact numbers are wrong, the new switch should live much longer than the old one with the same charge.
With FCC filings, we already know that Nintendo has asked for a new SoC and storage in the switch, but that would be obvious even if we did not have that information. There are only three ways to increase the battery life from 1.4x to 1.8x:
The original switch still uses Nvidia 's Tegra X1, a 2015 – era processor built on the 20 nm node of TSMC. The data suggests that the Lite switch and the upgraded switch both use a Nvidia T214 chip, codenamed Mariko. Mariko may be a smaller version of Tegra X1 with backported security updates and support for LPDDR4x as opposed to LPDDR4. We do not know the process node on which Mariko is built, but it is proven that it is capable of a higher clock speed than its predecessor. Nvidia could have used (and there are many choices). A node reduction and DRAM change would explain the improved energy consumption.
– The original T210 hardware has 4GB LPDDR4 (retail) or 6GB (dev) DRAM memory;
– New T214 hardware features 4GB or 8GB LPDDR4x DRAM memory with 10nm chip support;
– Mike Heskin (@hexkyz) July 11, 2019
If you want to choose one of the new units, look for switches whose serial number begins with XKW. the model number is HAC-001 (-01). We do not have a specific date for launching the devices in the United States, but Nintendo said we expect an availability for mid-August.
The fact that Nintendo is installing a new SoC in an undiscounted switch seems less likely that we will see an upgraded upgraded switch in the near future. The simplest explanation is that Nintendo decided to fully dedicate the benefits of a new node to extending the battery life, as this was the functionality that Switch's players wanted the most. The simple fact of improving the life of the battery, however, was not enough for the company to feel as if a brand new high-end product was guaranteed.
Rumors around an improved switch have always been vague. One possibility in all of this is that Nintendo retains the switch as is, but deploys its own upgrade in 9 to 12 months, to better compete with PlayStation 5 and Xbox Next. The objective, in this case, would be its own game on this front – but to ensure that the Nintendo has demonstrated its own ability to provide better material on a market pace The degree of interest of the company for this step probably depends on the extent to which it sees itself competing with Sony and Microsoft in the first place.
Rumor has it that the new switch's GPU might be clocked at a higher default frequency, which would improve performance in games where memory bandwidth is not limited, but we will not know if the console offers many performance improvements until it is actually available.
Growing up, I was not a console player. My parents steadfastly refused my requests for a NES console or console and reluctantly tolerated my fondness for computer gaming. I guess they thought computers would play too big a role in the future to crush my main ways of interacting with them, and they respected the idea that I had the right to spend my money for the hobbies of my choice, but there were limits to their tolerance. Computer games have just fallen on the right side of the line. Console games do not have. As a result, my own introduction to the game came squarely from the PC space classics of the '80s to the late' 80s – Space Quest III and Ultima IV were the two titles I remembered playing.
As a result, I have never really been familiar with NES or SNES titles that were popular at the time. I played in Final Fantasy I, II and III at a friend's house, but I had never had a lot of time on side scrolling that was popular. I played enough Super Mario Bros. to beat 1-1 and 1-2 and that's about it all. Recently, thanks to emulators, I bought SNES games that I had never played before, such as Castlevania IV, Super Mario World and Super Metroid.
I really did not know what I would think. Above all, I was impressed. The skills to play these titles well – and to be clear, I do not play them well, having never acquired more than a rudimentary level of skill with a controller – are not just quick reflexes. They ask the player to become familiar with the position and movements of enemies in the 2D space, programming certain attacks and jumps accurately. Games often challenge you with cleverly placed traps, such as a Mario ball that runs exactly through the space will be to occupy if you try to take some power. These puzzles can be maddening. Game developers leave clues to tell you that something can be done, but finding exactly how to do it is a challenge.
This type of game is totally different from the games I grew up with. Solving puzzles in Conquests of the Longbow or Fighting Ad Reviews in Quest for Glory II was not at all the same kind of experience. The Sierra, Origin and LucasArts games that dominated my childhood were thoughtful adventure titles that focused on writing and analyzing text, or later on point-and-click interfaces with a variety of actions possible. Other games, such as Civilization, offer long games and a sophisticated strategy that surpasses what the consoles were doing at the time. This is a fascinating example of how developers from another country have found ways to overcome language barriers and hardware limitations to design very different types of experiences.
In the modern era, in which consoles are functionally based on PC hardware and in one case, run a modified PC operating system, the differences between these platforms are a handful of graphics options, frame rates and loading times. Thirty years ago, the gaps were much larger. Dedicated hardware capabilities provide consoles with graphical options that PCs of the time can not replicate. I remember nostalgically watching a Super Nintendo around Christmas 1991, precisely because there was no equivalent to what Super Mario World looked like with my own entertainment solution.
Playing console titles that I have never played before and have not really experienced. I had played side-scrollers enough to know that I was not very good for them. Taking the time to play them enough to improve (slightly), I developed a respect for the subtle ways that Japanese developers have shown players the rules of the world over time, with little clues where the monsters will appear, visual guidance on how powers work, or a smart level design that requires you to use the abilities you just collected. Often, the arrangement of threats and carrots – as one? block you know contains 1Up – are downright cunning.
Learning to do it or not, it does not look like anything, it's not like solving puzzles in Myst or the colonel's legacy and it does not compare much to those of Doom or Quake – but that always has been part of the fun of the game the way it evolves over time. The current games are fundamentally different from the titles I played in my childhood, and even if sometimes I miss my style of play, the different types that have emerged are missing as well (at least in some cases).
One thing this experience has shown is that it is absolutely worthwhile to take back the old experiences that you have never had. It would be a little more difficult for console players to take this idea in the other direction. Getting used to computer games where you read a lot and type commands if you have the habit of playing the game console is, in my opinion, a bigger challenge than choosing a controller if you were a old school player. But both sides of the PC / console debate could learn from their respective stories. Playing some classic 16-bit titles has allowed me to better understand this aspect of the game story that I did not have before, even though I will never trade from PC to console as a main game system.
Microsoft announced yesterday the Xbox Next at E3 and, although we still do not know what will be the next generation system, we will finally know what kind of specifications it will offer.
First of all, let 's talk about availability. Microsoft said it plans to launch its next generation console for the 2020 holiday, involving a schedule from November to December. That would be pretty much aligning with the Xbox One, which debuted on November 22, 2013. This also means that the Xbox One will not take off as long as its predecessor, although it gets a major mid-cycle upgrade in the form of the Xbox One X The Xbox 360 lasted eight years, from November 22, 2005 (there is again this date) until 2013. The Xbox One / X, on the other hand, had a life of seven years. The Microsoft E3 revelation trailer for the platform is integrated below:
Regarding the features, we know that the console, like that of Sony, will include an SSD, with performance up to 40 times higher than current systems. This is not impossible for SSDs, which offer access times typically measured at 0.1 microseconds or less, compared to 10-12 ms access time for hard drives. .
If all goes well, it means that the inevitable remake of Mass Effect will have fewer elevator trips without nowhere. The other statistics are about what you expect. Zen 2 and Navi are both connected, as is ray tracing (no explanation for the moment, however, ray tracing abilities or effects that will be specifically supported).
Supposedly, the platform will support both 120 fps output and 8K resolutions, but we do not expect 8K resolution to be a playable target resolution for traditional AAA game titles. Technically, the console is able to produce at this resolution, but these are modern PCs – if you play a pretty old game with super-sampling enabled. Similarly, a 120-frame-per-second game may be possible, but console games have always been targeted at 30 frames per second or, more recently, at 60 frames per second.
4Would Xbox Next support this? Yes … but only by sacrificing greater visual fidelity than most developers would likely choose to spend. That said, it would be interesting to see more game developers with this kind of tactic, or simply offer players an option to play with lower details and higher speeds. Maybe the message is less about the probability wide support and more on providing flexible features if developers chose to exploit them. Whatever the case may be, we do not expect 8K games to be standard.
Microsoft also seems to have learned from the terrible legendary debut of the Xbox One: instead of spending his unveiling to reveal everything, the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, assured the audience that the game performance would be the focus. "For us, the console is vital and central in our experience," said Spencer. "We heard you, a console must be designed, built and optimized for one thing and one: the game."
There are a lot of things we do not know about the console, including how it compares to the PS5 in terms of speed and flow. The prize is also a major issue that has not yet been answered. These decisions were made in the past, but they are two companies, they stick to the subject to make sure they do not sell their current genes. . Despite recent news about collaboration in cloud games, Microsoft and Sony remain very determined competitors in the ongoing console war.
The end of a console cycle can be a difficult time for video game retailers, as computer hardware sales decline in anticipation of new launches. As a factor in the decline in retail sales and physical games sales, this means that GameStop is currently going through an extremely difficult time.
Sales decreased overall by 13.3% (11.5% when currency fluctuations are taken into account). The average decrease in comparable stores in the United States was 10.3%. The decrease is attributable to the sharp decline in console hardware sales, as sales in this sector fell by 35%, despite strong sales growth from the Nintendo switch. In comparison, software sales decreased by only 4.3%, according to GameStop, attributable to "lower launches of new titles in the quarter compared to the previous year". Although the company did not lose money in the first quarter of 2019, its net profit dropped to just $ 6.8. M, down from $ 28.2 million in the first quarter of 2018.
One of the main potential weaknesses for console sales in 2019 is the potential for upwardly transparent compatibility with the next generation of consoles. We do not know all the details about how Sony and MS are going to handle this problem, but assuming that both companies are taking the same approach and making their current generation libraries fully compatible with previous releases, new software sales do not necessarily fall, especially where appropriate. an option for the PS4 era titles to correct for higher performance on PS5 without having to release a brand new version of the game (of course, we will probably see at least a few PS3 and PS4 – remakes also come back on PS5).
But the damage to GameStop sales was not limited to new hardware. Sales of used vehicles have also decreased by 20%. GameStop is essentially the owner of the used games market, which makes it a huge source of revenue.
According to the president of the company, George Sherman, GameStop is restarting. At the company's last conference call, Sherman called the company is relaunching "a comprehensive and comprehensive review of all aspects of our business and how we can transform it – this is going to be a critical part of our transformation – it's not just a cost-cutting initiative. However, there will be an element of this in the overall process.I am expecting this process to lead to margin improvement, including improved supply, prices and promotions. as well as an optimization of our scope. "
As part of this effort, Sherman expects GameStop stores to laser focus on the companies that make the most money, cut areas that do not, and find new contiguity and markets. which extend if they are perfectly suited to its brand. and business. ThinkGeek, for example, will be integrated with the GameStop shopping experience. The company has eliminated its quarterly dividend, which will save it $ 157 million a year.
GameStop talks about braving the game, but the current move to digital distribution may kill the company. By all accounts, console gamers are clearly oriented towards digital distribution channels, just like PC gamers. The fact that the company's shares are now trading at levels not seen since the early 2000s attests to the poor performance of the company in recent times.
It is clear that investors are not sure that GameStop can really contribute to a market strategy that does not rely on physical game sales as the main source of revenue. If players continue to refrain from buying physical games, sales of used vehicles will also drop naturally. At present, it is not clear that GameStop can create enough secondary market for accessories and sales of digital games to replace other markets' income.
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The Mortal Kombat series team is one of the most trusted combat game developers in the world. Mortal Kombat 11 is perhaps their best game to date, with the exception of their ugly implementation.
Mitchell Saltzman gave MK11 a incredible score of 9/10 IGN, our sister site – MK's highest ever score at this point of sale. Story mode, complex mechanics, incredible graphics, and even online performance are all praised by Saltzman, but the sheer number of preparations needed to unlock krypt customization elements prevents the game from reaching its highest peaks.
With 53 critics accounted for, the PS4 version currently has a 83/100 metascore. This is not the highest in the series, but it is in the image of other recent versions of NetherRealm Studios. You'll find quite laudatory reviews on Age of play and CGM, and much of it depends on how nice the gameplay is in face-to-face. And with a very detailed tutorial system, Mortal Kombat is more accessible than ever to new players.
However, outlets like USG and News from the cabin were a little more muted in their pleasure. Mike Williams of the USG finds that the unlocking process is tedious and Ozzie Mejia's Shack News did not feel like story mode. After spending quite a bit of time with MK11 ourselves, it's hard to disagree with one or the other of these criticisms.
We played through the story mode, we are fought to ride countless tricks and unlocked tons of treats in the krypt on the PS4 Proand the visuals are really impressive. As expected, there are some slight imperfections in transitions between cutscenes and fights, but nothing is really worth worrying about performance. Even when special movements trigger a particle spray, we have not yet seen any significant impact on the gameplay.
The versions for PS4, Xbox One and PC work largely according to expectations (at least locally), but what about the Switch version of the game? In the video above, you will see Giant Bomb employees let the Nintendo hardware work. The resolution is low, the krypt becomes foggy and the loading times can be a bit tedious – it's by far the worst version of the game. However, any experience is there, with acceptable performance in the form portable, so commuters wishing to browse the story mode on the train should get away with it.
Unfortunately, there is a significant amount of content and rewards that are only accessible when you are online. So, if you do not have a reliable mobile connection for your switch, you will find yourself in a difficult time.
[Créditd'picture:[Imagecredit:[Créditd'image:[Imagecredit:IGN, NetherRealm Studios]