A Brief Word on Streaming Games

  First Google releases the Stadia, and now Amazon announces their own streaming console. When are companies gonna learn? No amount of attempts or “gender neutral gamepads” are gonna solve this problem. It’s not that streaming games is an inherently bad idea, it’s just that the technology simply isn’t there yet. It’s not a problem any one console can address, because it’s an inherent problem with the internet and the companies that host it. Online gaming has lag. Online only single player games have lag. Streaming games online, will have lag.

  “Ghost Recon: Breakpoint” is a game with legitimately solid mechanics that I have installed on my Xbox One. But thanks to Ubisoft’s insistence on “online only” (a mistake they were already forced to revert with Wildlands), the promising game I played during the beta has been almost entirely ruined. Unarmored enemies take entire mags to so much as staggar, headshots don’t register, bullets are stopped by thin air, enemies aren’t marked by a gadget whose sole purpose is to mark enemies (I get it’s a crutch but either give it to me or don’t pretend to).

  These are all problems caused in my single player game hosted on my console because of server lag on Ubisoft’s end. These are problems I simply didn’t have in the beta. But now that the servers are stressed by millions of people playing, the game can barely keep it together. It’s made me not even wanna play the game until this idiotic function is removed. Which is a shame, because before these problems it was legitimately the best tactical shooter I’ve played since MGSV.

  Online multiplayer games go through painstaking balancing and testing to figure out how to prioritize players and moves in any given situation. All of this is trial and error, because every game is coded differently. The slightest change in mechanics can break the online balancing of a game, forcing developers to restart the process in the next outing. It is not a “one size fits all” problem.

  Some companies (like Ubisoft) can’t even get one installed game to work properly with any kind of online functionality. Streaming consoles try to get every single varying game in their libraries to work through the server connection alone. The internet is fickle, the companies that host it even more so. On top of all the problems that are presented with a single game, you have to deal with everything from cheapskate companies to the weather.

  Game streaming may be the future, at least an option for it. But it simply won’t work until there is a universal internet that works flawlessly for everyone all the time. Until that happens, effective game streaming will really only be an option for those who are at least somewhat wealthy. In other words: It’s an unsustainable market. Any drug dealer will tell you: Make it cheap, and make it good. That’s how you make money.

  Thing is, that’s a problem that might actually be solvable. If only corporations would focus on that problem, rather than hawking dysfunctional products and virtue signalling because your controller is white instead of black.