Written by Feliks Olko
10 min read
Cloud Gaming Newsletter: November 2019
Major Industry Developments
The Key Stories from this Month
- Riot has created its own publishing label which will produce single-player games in the League of Legends universe.
- John Carmack has stepped down at Oculus to pursue AI passion project ‘before I get too old’
- NetEase has started testing its cloud gaming service in China
- Mobile games generated $41.5 billion in 2018 and is expected to more than triple by 2025
- Niantic and Qualcomm have announced they will build Augmented Reality glasses for world-scale games together
- The global eSports market is expected to reach $1bn in proceeds this year
The end of year has also led to a flurry of final financing activities:
- NetEase has bought a minority stake in Bossa Studios worth a reported $30m
- Tencent has bought 10% of Sumo Group (15 million shares)
- Wildlife Studios has raised $60m in its latest funding round. Led by Benchmark, the studio is now valued at $1.3b.
- Genvid Technologies has raised $27m for interactive streaming engine
- Hong Kong software startup Area28 has secured over $2.1m from investors including Alibaba and Vectr
EA: "Cloud gaming is going to bring in another billion players"
Outside of Google, Xbox and PlayStation, Electronic Arts is another huge company taking major strides in the game streaming space with Project Atlas. At Microsoft's X019 event, CTO Ken Moss announced several more EA titles will be coming to xCloud and gave more information about EA's huge investment in Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Streaming and Technology. Read the full article.
"I truly believe that these forces – cloud and AI – will change just about everything in games... I don't even think that's a bold prediction. How cloud gaming evolves is uncertain right now, but it's going to bring in another billion players into the gaming world. We say we're at 2.6 billion or so right now. We want to make sure we're at the forefront, but also get the early learnings so we know how to change how we build our games in that world."
– Ken Moss | Chief Technology Officer, Electronic Arts
Cloud Gaming: What’s new in Unreal Engine?
Unreal Engine’s new high-performance physics and destruction system
Revealed onstage at GDC this year during the “State of Unreal,” Chaos is Unreal Engine’s new high-performance physics and destruction system coming in beta to v4.23.
The real-time tech demo is set within the world of Robo Recall, a virtual reality first-person shooter game developed and published by Epic Games. With Chaos, users can achieve cinematic-quality visuals in real time in scenes with massive-scale levels of destruction, with unprecedented artist control over content creation.
- Geometry Collections: It is a new type of asset in Unreal for short-lived objects. The Geometry assets can be built using one or more Static Meshes.
- Fracturing: A Geometry Collection can be broken into pieces either individually, or by applying one pattern across multiple pieces using the Fracturing tools.
- Clustering: Every sub-fracture is an extra level added to the Geometry Collection. The Chaos system keeps track of the extra levels and stores the information in a Cluster, to be controlled by the artist.
- Fields: It can be used to control simulation and other attributes of the Geometry Collection. Fields enable users to vary the mass, make something static, to make the corner more breakable than the middle, and others.
Spotlight: Google Stadia Launch
Google Stadia launched last month, here's everything you should know.
Google has launched its own game studio for Stadia-exclusive titles, Stadia Games and Entertainment. Jade Raymond, who joined Google as a Vice President and the Head of Stadia Games & Entertainment division back in March, is leading the drive for Google to make its own games. An industry veteran, Raymond has previously worked at industry powerhouses Sony, Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft.
Google says more than 100 studios already have Stadia development kits, and more than 1,000 creatives and engineers are already working on titles that will work on the service. Today, Stadia is a $130 one-time purchase plus a $10-a-month subscription charge thereafter (after a three-month trial) – though this is expected to be removed sometime in 2020. Users will also need to pay between $20 to $60 per premium game.
It's early access to a service that lets you play a limited selection of 22 games, though more are coming next year, that you can mostly already buy everywhere else.
|Latency Tests||Xbox One X||Google Stadia||Difference|
|Destiny 2||100ms (30fps)||144ms (60fps)||+44ms|
|Mortal Kombat 11||78ms||122ms||+44ms|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider (60fps)||83ms||139ms||+56ms|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider (30fps)||167ms||217ms||+50ms|
Hang on, a second; Shadow of the Tomb Raider ran better at 60fps than 30fps?! Confused? Well, you're not the only one...
Yes, all games at launch support 4K. We designed Stadia to enable 4K/60 (with appropriate TV and bandwidth). We want all games to play 4K/60 but sometimes for artistic reasons a game is 4K/30 so Stadia always streams at 4K/60 via 2x encode.— Phil Harrison (@MrPhilHarrison) October 9, 2019
The general consensus since Stadia's launch is that although it's the best game streaming option around, it still falls short in almost every way that matters. Not considering the fact it's missing a variety of key features at launch, people are chastising the fact that Google has not fully seen through the project to delivery. The issue is that the service, in short, is not the future that gamers were promised.
"There are a lot of things that being cloud native enables that you're just not going to be able to see on other platforms, and I think that's the job of first-party, to really show that off and let people imagine what those things are. Whether it's creating more detailed simulations, more advanced AI behaviours, or MMO-like experiences that redefine "massively multiplayer."
– Jade Raymond | VP and Head of Stadia Games & Entertainment, Google Stadia
Other Stories From November
Jan 24, 2020 10:00:00 AM | 3 min read
A new year and a new decade is upon us and it’s time to get serious about our future. The World Health Organisation ...
Jan 15, 2020 9:35:02 PM | 4 min read
So let’s be direct; Cloud Gaming has had a lacklustre launch because it’s not a true experience.
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