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Microsoft's xCloud is a Push Towards Game Streaming Future, Powered by AMD

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Even the fastest connections I have ever had in an MMO were limited to 16ms and that is with a 100% wired local network too.
MMOs are not really built with latency in mind. Try fast-paced FPS. Already back in Quake2/Quake3 days getting sub-10ms ping for servers in the same country was doable enough. Latency/ping in games is usually round-trip measurement.

Bandwidth and latency are pretty separate. With bandwidth you basically either have enough or you don't :)
 
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MMOs are not really built with latency in mind. Try fast-paced FPS. Already back in Quake2/Quake3 days getting sub-10ms ping for servers in the same country was doable enough. Latency/ping in games is usually round-trip measurement.
Hehe yeah back when you could host your own servers... But here we are talking about a LOT more data and complexity.
 
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Hehe yeah back when you could host your own servers... But here we are talking about a LOT more data and complexity.
Game-wise, there is more complexity nowadays. Around streaming, not really. Technical solutions are complex, no doubt, but the latency this introduces is not. There is a video stream going over an established channel and input going back.

If we do not look at the bandwidth requirement, the latency added is simple:
- The time network traffic takes to send input and get video back is basically a round-trip latency, this is ping to server.
- Video stream encoding adds some latency. From link @notb provided above Nvidia's hardware encoder does that in 5ms, AMD's in about 16ms. If Microsoft gets a custom or customized encoder, this can be done in <5ms.

There is a nice site for measuring Azure latency:
http://www.azurespeed.com/
I am getting around 80ms average latency to closest data centers from my work network (which is managed and probably going through a site-wide VPN).
That would put total latency added by streaming to <100ms.
 
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rtwjunkie

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I notice everybody is talking multiplayer. What about all the places where service is unreliable, or just not that fast?

What about single player games? It doesn’t add up for me. We have enthusiasts on this very forum who have crappy internet.
 
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@rtwjunkie, streaming is not a replacement to normal gaming. I don't see it ever really being that.
 
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I notice everybody is talking multiplayer. What about all the places where service is unreliable, or just not that fast?
Well... the thing about XXI century is that bad internet connection is a serious impairment in developed societies. A bit like fresh water in some parts of the planet. Or sewer access in Europe 100 years ago. If you have a really bad internet connection, you most likely have larger problems than gaming lags. For example, you may have problems accessing your bank account.
Internet has become an informal utility, but is being formalized already. I don't know how it looks in US, but in Europe and Asia countries are working on a guaranteed Internet access.
In Poland, where I live, the plan states everyone will have 30Mbps by the end of 2020. Of course this is relevant for rural areas, not cities.
What about single player games? It doesn’t add up for me. We have enthusiasts on this very forum who have crappy internet.
It's very unlikely that local gaming will disappear in next few decades. You'll still be able to buy a copy and install it on your PC. Don't worry.
 
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If you have a really bad internet connection, you most likely have larger problems than gaming lags.
Untrue. I live in a very affluent area of the country and the infrastructure for high speed internet here is still lacking for most in the city.
 
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Untrue. I live in a very affluent area of the country and the infrastructure high speed internet here is still lacking for most in the city.
But you live in USA. USA is rather famous for large disparities in ISP offer (and large disparities in other things as well ;-)). It's always been like that.
This isn't true for Europe or developed Asian countries.

Also, what exactly do you mean by "lacking"? We would need some numbers to make a proper comparison.
There are some rankings available online and US average isn't that bad (20th place worldwide):
https://www.cable.co.uk/broadband/speed/worldwide-speed-league/
 
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But you live in USA. USA is rather famous for large disparities in ISP offer (and large disparities in other things as well ;-)). It's always been like that.
This isn't true for Europe or developed Asian countries.

Also, what exactly do you mean by "lacking"? We would need some numbers to make a proper comparison.
There are some rankings available online and US average isn't that bad (20th place worldwide):
https://www.cable.co.uk/broadband/speed/worldwide-speed-league/
Are you kidding me? There is a chronic lack of choice in ISP land when it comes to the bandwidth of connections. The amount of different ISPs dwindles. There is only one cable ISP here, no fiber, and half a dozen ADSL ISPs that cap out at 3MB/s. And I live in one of the countries with the highest penetration rate of Internet in households, worldwide. KPN, one of the oldest ISPs in the country has basically put fiber rollouts on a nationwide hold with some nasty moves and that's where we're at. If you're lucky you have a small, community scale project nearby for getting a fiber to the home connection.

You can safely say that if you don't live in a large city, the chances of decent ISP options are low at best.
 
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You say that like you think I haven't been to Europe and Asia recently. Those areas are no better off than North America.
I'm not saying they're better. But the infrastructure usually is. For multiple cultural, geographical and historical reasons.
Also the approach is different.
I mentioned that many countries are going to make Internet access a utility, i.e. you'll be guaranteed to have some bandwidth. So the state will either build infrastructure in rural areas or pay private companies to do it. This is communism for huge part of Americans, isn't it? :p
Are you kidding me? There is a chronic lack of choice in ISP land when it comes to the bandwidth of connections. The amount of different ISPs dwindles. There is only one cable ISP here, no fiber, and half a dozen ADSL ISPs that cap out at 3MB/s. And I live in one of the countries with the highest penetration rate of Internet in households, worldwide.
Well, let's be honest. You live in a small town. It's NL, so all villages are basically suburbs of few major cities and they're actually great to live. But you can't expect luxuries of cities. Fibre is expensive. Always will be. Even in large cities no ISP will voluntarily lay fibre to individual houses and small blocks.
On the other hand, since NL is basically cities and suburbs, I bet you have excellent 4G (soon 5G) coverage. Well... trade-offs everywhere. :)

What you've described seems fairly OK. Single cable ISP is a typical situation in small towns and rural areas. I wouldn't expect more. Is their offer unacceptable? What are we talking about? 200 Mbps? Less?
If you're lucky you have a small, community scale project nearby for getting a fiber to the home connection.
Small local projects became extinct in Poland years ago. Cultural reasons. We Poles prefer buying from large brands at this point. We like big ISPs, large shopping malls, large franchise restaurants and so on. Most of Western Europe is past this period already.
 
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I'm not saying they're better. But the infrastructure usually is. For multiple cultural, geographical and historical reasons.
Also the approach is different.
I mentioned that many countries are going to make Internet access a utility, i.e. you'll be guaranteed to have some bandwidth. So the state will either build infrastructure in rural areas or pay private companies to do it. This is communism for huge part of Americans, isn't it? :p

Well, let's be honest. You live in a small town. It's NL, so all villages are basically suburbs of few major cities and they're actually great to live. But you can't expect luxuries of cities. Fibre is expensive. Always will be. Even in large cities no ISP will voluntarily lay fibre to individual houses and small blocks.
On the other hand, since NL is basically cities and suburbs, I bet you have excellent 4G (soon 5G) coverage. Well... trade-offs everywhere. :)

What you've described seems fairly OK. Single cable ISP is a typical situation in small towns and rural areas. I wouldn't expect more. Is their offer unacceptable? What are we talking about? 200 Mbps? Less?

Small local projects became extinct in Poland years ago. Cultural reasons. We Poles prefer buying from large brands at this point. We like big ISPs, large shopping malls, large franchise restaurants and so on. Most of Western Europe is past this period already.
Trade offs exactly, because there is more in life than a cloud service society :) And with each trade off, the reality of pushing everything across a low latency, high quality connection dwindles. This is never going to hit the masses in any way shape or form. There are simply too many reasons for it not to be as great as the best case scenario that is required.
 
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Notice how in the video the "real gameplay" moments are all static, at most moving directly forward. I bet there would otherwise be noticeable input lag? :)
Not that the lag would not be manageable, more so for Microsoft who genuinely have data centers all over the world.

I wonder if the imagery of putting XBox hardware into the rackmount chassis has anything at all to do with reality. It seems a horrible computation/power density. I suspect this is all virtualized and running on good old regular servers with AMD GPUs. Not even sure if Powered by AMD has much meaning beyond GPUs.

Large part of the target market is mobile. 720p-ish will more than likely work just fine.
With h.264 the bitrate for 720p at 30fps is ~5 Mbps and at 60fps ~7.5 Mbps. With HEVC, cut that in half.
Work on fast (and hardware-assisted) encoding has been going on for a while now. The modern history for it starts with Onlive in 2010 and both the technologies as well as hardware performance have improved since then.

As much as me or probably most other people in this thread will hate it, 720p and maybe 1080p will be "good enough" for the target market.
They Are Likely using h.265, AMD has had support for it since the RX 480. My friend also uses it for his Plex servers and was so happy with the gains/efficiency that he was spamming me with the compression and bitrate numbers everyday for like a month xD
 
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Trade offs exactly, because there is more in life than a cloud service society :) And with each trade off, the reality of pushing everything across a low latency, high quality connection dwindles. This is never going to hit the masses in any way shape or form. There are simply too many reasons for it not to be as great as the best case scenario that is required.
It's only recently (like the past year) that even decent wireless peripherals have been made to make pro gamers happy (enough).
 
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It's only recently (like the past year) that even decent wireless peripherals have been made to make pro gamers happy (enough).
Decent wireless peripherals have been around for years. It's only now that they've started to be marketed towards gaming community.
You can't just be a pro gamer and use a Logitech MX mouse or a business notebook anymore! And imagine someone coming to a gaming event in a Lacoste sweater.
It's all just social and marketing pressure making people look and behave in particular way. Gaming is a cultural phenomenon now, not just a casual hobby.
Trade offs exactly, because there is more in life than a cloud service society :) And with each trade off, the reality of pushing everything across a low latency, high quality connection dwindles. This is never going to hit the masses in any way shape or form. There are simply too many reasons for it not to be as great as the best case scenario that is required.
You know this is exactly what people said 10 years ago about high-quality video streaming? :)
Also, you're making a mistake by extrapolating your particular needs. "Masses" don't need low latency and UHD. They'll be fine with what streaming offers already. And they'll be able to try quality that their hardware can't provide.
There will obviously be a niche that streaming is not good enough for. A high-end hardware will always give you lower lags and so on, so it'll be favoured by those with urge for best available experience.
 
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Decent wireless peripherals have been around for years. It's only now that they've started to be marketed towards gaming community.
You can't just be a pro gamer and use a Logitech MX mouse or a business notebook anymore! And imagine someone coming to a gaming event in a Lacoste sweater.
It's all just social and marketing pressure making people look and behave in particular way. Gaming is a cultural phenomenon now, not just a casual hobby.

You know this is exactly what people said 10 years ago about high-quality video streaming? :)
Also, you're making a mistake by extrapolating your particular needs. "Masses" don't need low latency and UHD. They'll be fine with what streaming offers. And they'll be able to try quality that their hardware can't provide.
There will obviously be a niche that streaming is not good enough for. A high-end hardware will always give you lower lags and so on, so it'll be the favoured by those with urge for best available experience.
I'm not talking about marketing.. but 1ms latency. Afaik, only Logitech and Corsair make them.. and they came out within the last year.
 
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Decent wireless peripherals have been around for years. It's only now that they've started to be marketed towards gaming community.
You can't just be a pro gamer and use a Logitech MX mouse or a business notebook anymore! And imagine someone coming to a gaming event in a Lacoste sweater.
It's all just social and marketing pressure making people look and behave in particular way. Gaming is a cultural phenomenon now, not just a casual hobby.

You know this is exactly what people said 10 years ago about high-quality video streaming? :)
Also, you're making a mistake by extrapolating your particular needs. "Masses" don't need low latency and UHD. They'll be fine with what streaming offers already. And they'll be able to try quality that their hardware can't provide.
There will obviously be a niche that streaming is not good enough for. A high-end hardware will always give you lower lags and so on, so it'll be favoured by those with urge for best available experience.
Nah, no, sorry not buying it. High quality video streaming was always possible and it has way lower requirements. All you need is bandwidth. Latency is no real issue. Video 'streaming' is as old as the TV itself. The only novelty is on-demand and it moving from analog to digital data streams.

For gaming, there are fár better tools available. Consoles being a low-cost entry point and if you want faster hardware, you can even buy an updated version of it. And if that doesn't satisfy you, you're already into the PC Gaming niche of high quality experiences, which is exactly the niche cloud stream can't cover apart from the graphical aspect. But: those same masses that play on consoles now can't see the difference between 1080p upscale and native 4K. See how the target market is super tiny now?

The real target market for streaming is our age group of 'no time for gaming' 30+ of age that still like to pick up something from time to time but don't want to get into high end hardware again. And the promising target market for cloud gaming is probably that failing idea of 'being able to use content on any device' which opens it up to everyone anywhere, in theory. Yes, its a fun idea in theory, but then we come upon the practical limitations. When in fact 'any device' really just means catering to mobile.

Call me a man of limited vision, but this is just one of those developments that I really don't see going anywhere. This is not a pure technology/development problem, its similar to VR in that sense: there are practical reasons why it just won't ever truly take off for consumers.
 
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