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 Message Boards » » Microsoft buying Activision/Blizzard Page [1]  
stevedude
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Who saw this coming? https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2022/01/microsoft-set-to-purchase-activision-blizzard-in-68-7-billion-deal/

Microsoft now owns Obsidian, Blizzard, Bethesda, and Arkane (and many more). Will they implement quality leadership and bring Activision/Bliz back to their glory days?

1/18/2022 11:00:52 PM

FroshKiller
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I didn't see it coming, but I really don't see how it's possible for Activision Blizzard to return to any sort of glory days in terms of the quality of their output. Their best development studios are cogs in a machine that churns out annual Call of Duty games. I think it's much more likely that Microsoft will reassign the talent to other projects and kill a bunch of projects & studios.

1/19/2022 9:12:05 AM

TreeTwista10
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I think it's much more likely that Todd Howard will take over Microsoft and then the rest of the world

1/19/2022 12:45:07 PM

rwoody
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Remember when we had meaningful antitrust legislation??

Oh yea me neither

1/19/2022 11:03:56 PM

stevedude
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japan and/or EU might have something to say about this
https://www.dailysabah.com/business/tech/microsoft-activision-blizzard-deal-to-face-antitrust-test

interesting take: Regulators might even see value in Microsoft challenging video game industry heavyweight Tencent, which is based in China, analysts contended.

1/20/2022 9:23:31 AM

smoothcrim
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I saw this coming. I have been interested in game streaming since onlive, so much so that I built the first cloud game streaming. It hasnt been a technical problem in 10 years, it's been a money problem. By owning the IP, MS can make a "netflix of games" that no one else has been in position to build.

1/24/2022 8:42:39 PM

FroshKiller
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It's absolutely a technical problem still. You just can't get the input latency down low enough with streaming. It's only suited to certain types of games.

1/24/2022 11:28:43 PM

smoothcrim
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you can get it low enough with the right last mile for pretty much anything besides esport level fps (>60fps). the latency from gpu to frame on your screen is damn near 30ms. that's easy enough to beat over wan

1/25/2022 6:24:46 PM

FroshKiller
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A frame rate of 60 fps is not esport-level. We're in a console generation where most games have a 60 fps mode. Both the PS5 and Xbox Series consoles have 120 Hz support. PC's got 240 Hz gaming displays. Streaming's just not good enough for high frame rates.

1/25/2022 6:36:31 PM

smoothcrim
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I pretty clearly said >60fps. Which only really matters in competitive fps. hell, look at the steam hardware survey for confirmation. in addition, most console gaming is on last gen gear that very rarely produces a solid 60fps at 1080p.

most gaming happens at 30fps or less. most gaming happens on mobile devices. streaming is technically sound enough for the lion's share of gaming. there's a reason x cloud and stadia only ran on android devices in beta and why the fireTV originally came with a now discontinued controller.

streaming games also gets around import taxes

1/26/2022 2:59:47 PM

FroshKiller
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I misread you, but you still need to check that math. Your frame time at 60 fps is not 30 ms, it's 16 ms. Last-gen consoles are not well equipped to decode & presumably upscale at 60 fps with consistent frame pacing. Even if they could, you are not doing all that AND round-tripping input every 16 ms consistently. Your best-case scenario is a consistent ping up and down of less than 8 ms one way with minimal input processing that delivers each new frame on time.

Even if you just want to look at streaming last-gen games to mobile at 30 fps, streaming still takes ridiculous bandwidth. You're pushing every single frame plus audio so your player can burn through 6 GB an hour or something like that playing Diablo 2 on his iPhone instead of downloading a 500 MB app package and playing locally on the device with an overall better experience? No way.

Game Pass is already about as perfect a Netflix of games as it could be, because most games can be downloaded to your Xbox so you can avoid all of streaming's many deficiencies.

1/26/2022 3:59:16 PM

smoothcrim
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Quote :
"Last-gen consoles are not well equipped to decode & presumably upscale at 60 fps with consistent frame pacing."

are you just making stuff up now? h264 accel has been around for 10 years in your standard $10 ARM soc. OF COURSE a first gen ryzen APU with vega graphics is up to the task.

Quote :
"Even if they could, you are not doing all that AND round-tripping input every 16 ms consistently. Your best-case scenario is a consistent ping up and down of less than 8 ms one way with minimal input processing that delivers each new frame on time."

I consistently have 3ms to google dc's and 2.75ms to amazon dc's. besides this being a money problem to fix most people's last mile and network quality, its generally irrelevant. the average user tolerates 60ms input latency without recognizing it

none of the problems you listed are technical hurdles, they're money hurdles. with variable refresh rate, variable bitrate, and variable resolution, all techniques any cloud game streaming service should be using (ie: not just relying on hardware encoders and a constant framebuffer), 6gb an hour for a mobile device is ridiculous. In 2013, <1gb/hr was my p90 using h264. now that there's hardware h265 and you have extra hardware to compress the frame before encoding it, you should be half that.

aside from all of the optimizations that exist in games, how exactly do you see the bandwidth to be any different than netflix? you watch a 2 hour movie at 1080p, its the exact same amount of bandwidth as playing a game at 1080p for 2 hours, as the video is in the exact same encoder. this is in the absolute worst case, with a very naive encoder. in general a game is encoded far better.

again, google, MS, amazon, nvidia, EA, sony, et al are all invested in this because the technology exists to produce a satisfactory result for the masses, but until you own the IP, it doesn't make financial sense.

1/26/2022 6:29:39 PM

FroshKiller
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Streaming a movie is no analogy for streaming a game. A movie is a static piece of content. Everyone who wants to stream the movie will get the same asset. That asset can be sitting on slow edge servers colocated at a million data centers. Hell, your ISP probably has a nondescript shed somewhere with the most popular Netflix shows cooling out.

A game isn't anything like that. You have to have a game process running on a machine somewhere. That's a separate process per player, mind you. That media output has to be compressed & sent per player. There is no redundancy, no easy colocation.

If I want to watch Ozark, I guarantee you Google Fiber's got that shit peered. But if I want to play Guardians of the Galaxy: Cloud Version on my Switch, they are not running a game server. That traffic is going back and forth to wherever Nintendo is hosting it. It's silly to pretend they're anything alike.

None of these companies are invested in cloud gaming because the result is satisfactory. They're invested in it because it allows them to retain the code & assets without having to spend money on DRM. They're invested in it because it will get them out of the consumer hardware business apart from a cheap streaming box and a controller. They're invested in it because it gives them a recurring revenue stream, because there won't be a disc you can buy and own--you'll be stuck subscribing.

Also:

Quote :
"this is in the absolute worst case, with a very naive encoder. in general a game is encoded far better."


This is not true at all. When you are encoding a movie, you can make multiple attempts at encoding and review the results, because the input does not change. The movie is the movie. You can tune the encoding to optimize for a target bitrate, target file size, whatever because you only have to do it once to deliver a final product. A game is rendered moment to moment with a variety of effects that have drastically different impacts on the encoded picture. Look at capture footage of games that use film grain or heavy alpha effects. Encoding on the fly means you WILL hit pathological cases that wreck the frame pacing. And never mind the pacing, just look at how bad the artifacts are in a game when there is a screen-filling effect like a big explosion or burst of light. That's not a satisfactory result compared to a local, native experience.

[Edited on January 26, 2022 at 8:07 PM. Reason : ///]

1/26/2022 7:51:02 PM

StTexan
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This is some frazier/ali III shit right here.

1/27/2022 1:59:45 AM

FroshKiller
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It's not that serious. I just disagree with smoothcrim on this point because I feel there are technical & gameplay-related considerations that make streaming impractical and undesirable for most games. I'm not saying he's an idiot or anything like that.

He's right that there are plenty of games that could work well streaming and players who'd be satisfied with them. But I think he's overestimating how many types of games that includes and how many players who'd tolerate them in a streaming format.

1/27/2022 1:12:52 PM

smoothcrim
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Quote :
"Streaming a movie is no analogy for streaming a game. A movie is a static piece of content. Everyone who wants to stream the movie will get the same asset. That asset can be sitting on slow edge servers colocated at a million data centers. Hell, your ISP probably has a nondescript shed somewhere with the most popular Netflix shows cooling out.
"


how does this affect how much bandwidth is required to get that asset to your phone? just because you can buffer and cache it doesn't make it any smaller.

Quote :
"Encoding on the fly means you WILL hit pathological cases that wreck the frame pacing. And never mind the pacing, just look at how bad the artifacts are in a game when there is a screen-filling effect like a big explosion or burst of light. That's not a satisfactory result compared to a local, native experience."


the dedicated encoder on modern cards can do multiple encode passes in a single millisecond @ 1080. it really won't be noticeable.

i'm done talking on this. have whatever opinions you want. I built 2 of the biggest players in the space and consulted on/turned down offers on several others. I don't work in it anymore because it's a stupid business (for all the players except MS now)

[Edited on January 28, 2022 at 2:27 PM. Reason : I agree, it aint a big deal]

1/28/2022 2:19:54 PM

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