Google Stadia Boss Is "Absolutely, Unequivocally" Sure Latency Won't Be An Issue

"We get the data, the video, from our data center to your eyeball quicker than your eyeball to brain to nervous system to finger."

28 Comments
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Now Playing: DOOM 2016 - Google Stadia Gameplay

Google's new video game platform, Stadia, is completely digital and requires a constant, reliable internet connection to function. One of the issues people immediately bring up with streaming technology is latency--or lag. Everyone who has experienced lag in some capacity knows how frustrating it can be. Will lag be an issue with Stadia?

Stadia boss Phil Harrison says he is "absolutely, unequivocally" sure that latency won't be an issue. "We believe that it's not just for when the service starts; actually we've demonstrated it today," Harrison told us from San Francisco at the Game Developers Conference where Stadia was announced.

Harrison--who formerly held executive-level positions at Sony and Microsoft--added that it was no accident that Google used Doom Eternal to highlight Stadia.

"Having a studio with the very, very high threshold of quality and functionality from id; having id on our stage was very purposeful because the way [producer Marty Stratton] tells the story is spot on," he said. "They were skeptical when we first started talking to them. they were skeptical that a streaming platform could support the level of quality and responsiveness that they needed to deliver on their game experience. What they have delivered with Doom Eternal absolutely demonstrates that."

Harrison went on to say that Google has been able to achieve a low-latency platform because of the investments its made into the infrastructure supporting Stadia.

"It's because of the investments that we are making in the hardware and the fundamental networking fabric in the compression and encoder and the way we transport the bits from our data center to your home," he said. "There's probably 100 innovations there that each mean that we can deliver that quality of experience."

Also in the interview, Harrison pointed out that Stadia streams faster than the human body can process the information.

"We get the data, the video, from our data center to your eyeball quicker than your eyeball to brain to nervous system to finger," he said. "The human operating system is the slowest part of the [Stadia] operating system. Some humans are slower than others."

As with any internet-connected service, your experience will depend on the quality of your connection so mileage may vary between users. Harrison added Stadia will offer a bandwidth test service that informs them of the performance characteristics of their network, while he said Google will help players optimise the internet quality of their homes in a number of ways, including simply moving a router closer to the device.

Given that streaming a video game will be highly data-intensive, some people are also concerned about data caps and limits imposed by Internet service providers. Harrison said ISPs have a history of adapting their models to support new services. As an example, he said when music streaming became popular, ISPs increased bandwidth limits, and the same thing happened with the rise of YouTube and Netflix. Bandwidth limits are expected to continue to rise over time, Harrison said. That may be true, but it remains to be seen if ISPs will continue to charge extra for such increases.

Stadia launches later this year, but there are still many unanswered questions about it. One of the biggest ones is price. Harrison also told us that Google has the pricing sorted out, but it's saving that reveal for a future point in time. Google will talk more about Stadia this summer, and one possible forum for further announcements is E3.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Avatar image for davecrimsonidol
davecrimsonidol

latency is an issue streaming from my PC to my HTPC hard wired to it 10 meters away. That's before I even get the internet involved.

Avatar image for Yams1980
Yams1980

latency will be an issue. what a big lie they are selling here. Maybe they should be testing their services in various different areas in the country and not with their own internet service thats probably only a few feet away.

They aren't telling the truth or are just ignorant and not tested their service in a real world environment.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

What a crock.

Avatar image for BassMan
BassMan

I don't want any snake oil. Go take your bullshit elsewhere.

Avatar image for comments123
Comments123

Do they really think they are fooling anyone with this line of marketing? Only someone with absolutely zero understanding of how streaming and really the internet as a whole works could possibly buy that.

Avatar image for spekk123
spekk123

vsync with triple buffering adds about 20ms latency and it makes games unplayable. I do not believe google can manage to send my input to their cloud and back with less than 20ms. I would say 10ms is acceptable, unless its an fps game with mouse and keyboard.

Avatar image for Yams1980
Yams1980

@spekk123: so true. and not only that, the extra latency from playing on a regular tv compared to a gaming monitor is light and day and adds even more input lag.

When you add this into the equation, you are getting 50+ms at least from using a tv, maybe even more if its a tv that has no gaming mode, then adding another 20-60ms from internet lag. You're almost at dialup latency levels at this point at easily over 80ms at best case and as bad as 250-300ms on a worse case. Also a wireless controller adds a few ms of delay as well.

Avatar image for edwardnygma
EdwardNygma

Absolute lies.

Avatar image for Atzenkiller
Atzenkiller

"We get the data, the video, from our data center to your eyeball quicker than your eyeball to brain to nervous system to finger," he said. "The human operating system is the slowest part of the [Stadia] operating system. Some humans are slower than others."

That must be the dumbest statement I've ever heard. And the main thing I remember from Gamespot's article about the reveal was that there was very noticeable latency while they were playing Doom Eternal. Doesn't look good if they can't even get it right during their own presentation of the service.

Avatar image for wilem
Wilem

Latency won't be an issue*.

* Unless it will, in which case you're just a hater.

Avatar image for LesserAngel
LesserAngel

Google Stadia Boss Is "Absolutely, Unequivocally" wrong

Avatar image for idakooz
idakooz

Phil Harrison is the Todd Howard of Bethesda when he announced all the amazing features of Fallout 76.

Avatar image for Yams1980
Yams1980

@idakooz: he sounds like all the bad parts of Peter Moleneux, Richard Garriott, Sean Murray, Randy Pitchford & Todd Howard mixed together. The amount of lies and bullshit exceeds them all.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

@idakooz: Yeah, this level of confidence almost always turns out to be lying hype. He would have been better off just saying Stadia's latency prevention tech is the best around.

Avatar image for wilem
Wilem

@Barighm: You can't "prevent" latency any more than you can "prevent" the concept of time. Latency, by definition, is just the time it takes to for the data to travel from point A to point B. And again, even if you say "prevent high latency", you cannot "prevent" it, because it's defined by the laws of nature. That google boss is full of shit, as is customary among gaming companies at this point. You have, on average, about 40ms latency just for the data. Then you've got your input devices and the monitor/tv latencies. For TVs it can be another 20-40ms. Maybe console players wouldn't notice a difference because they are used to, you know ... consoles, which are pretty bad as they are. But this is laughable for gaming PCs.

Avatar image for Yams1980
Yams1980

@wilem: ur 100% right here. Tv's alone have at least 20+ms more input lag compared to a gaming monitor. As bad as 80ms if a tv has a fake gaming mode or no gaming mode at all where you can't turn processing off.

And internet lag is crazy, the best i've seen is around 10ms when pinging my own isp's server that was literally a few kms from me, and this was directly connected, no other routing ip addresses in its way. You add actual internet traffic and routing problems, this service will be unplayable or extremely poor for large amount of people. A realistic ping to a google server is more around 30-50ms, even more if you were streaming the insane amounts of data that would be required here, they said around 20-25mbps.

Google is assuming everyone has lag free internet like they do. Not everyone lives in a city with perfect internet and unlimited bandwidth.

Avatar image for zoniax2
zoniax2

No, it definitely will be. Pass.

Avatar image for igroku
IgrokU

Maybe latency won't be a problem if you live near the server, but I'm positive it wouldn't work for me out in the boonies.

Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

And this will be the final test. If what he is saying is true, that it will really be that fast...then that will be it for traditional gaming as we know it. I doubt it, though. I expect Google's version to be the fastest of all, but THAT fast? Now that I need to see to believe.

Avatar image for fatsnoopy
Fatsnoopy

You forgot to add *Paid Advertisement to the end of the article.

Avatar image for Xylymphydyte
Xylymphydyte

The beta introduced about 100ms of input delay from my location. It'll be hugely location dependent and it will NEVER be so fast as to be zero.

Avatar image for Decoy77
Decoy77

"Given that streaming a video game will be highly data-intensive, some people are also concerned about data caps and limits imposed by Internet service providers. Harrison said ISPs have a history of adapting their models to support new services. As an example, he said when music streaming became popular, ISPs increased bandwidth limits, and the same thing happened with the rise of YouTube and Netflix. Bandwidth limits are expected to continue to rise over time, Harrison said. That may be true, but it remains to be seen if ISPs will continue to charge extra for such increases."

Funny I've heard of MORE internet caps from ISPs because they are losing cable customers. So to combat that they add caps to their internet to get people to have to pay more to stream. THAT is how they adapt to more bandwidth usage, not increasing caps. Luckily I'm in an area without them.

Avatar image for barcaazul
BarcaAzul

Where I am there are no data caps......yet

Avatar image for lion2447
lion2447

It's funny there is an article about lag and not being perceptable, yet Gamespot posted another hands article on playing Doom and could feel the lag. The hands-on article said the reticle felt like it was playing catch up.

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/google-stadia-hands-on-impressions-with-new-game-s/1100-6465694/

"Input lag was the worst offender during my time with Doom; this was readily apparent when swiping the mouse around to aim."

Avatar image for darkelf83
darkelf83

@lion2447: Their statement about latency not being an issue is, absolutely, unequivocally BS.

Avatar image for Random_Matt
Random_Matt

Phil, this name correlates with bullshit.