Bleats

Google's New Gaming Platform Is A Game-Changer For Everyone Except Australia

This could change the video game landscape as we know it.

Google has been on the forefront of technology for quite some time and now the tech giant has introduced something that will revolutionise video games as we know it.

During the 2019 Game Developers Conference, Google pulled the curtains back on its entry into the video game ring by introducing Stadia, an upcoming new gaming platform.

But whereas companies like Sony and Microsoft threw all their eggs (and countless millions) into building a console, Google has instead gone in the complete opposite direction.

Stadia is a cloud-based video game streaming service that allows users to play games from any device that can support Google Chrome, meaning anything from laptops and PCs to tablets and smartphones can all use the platform. Think Netflix but for games.

There is no console box or anything and the only piece of hardware is the optional Stadia controller, which looks like the bastard love child of the PS4 and Xbox controllers.

Google appears to have also worked some crazy cloud-based witchcraft with its new service because unlike the PS4 or Nintendo Switch, there are no hardware requirements to use Stadia and installing games will be a thing of the past because of how the platform is integrated with YouTube.

To show what I mean, say you were watching a game trailer on YouTube and felt the urge to play said game. Just click on the YouTube link and the game will start streaming via Stadia in less than five seconds.

As I said, witchcraft.

This is nothing short of a revolutionary game-changer for gaming but for everyone in Australia, we probably won’t be getting it for about 50 years.

That’s because Stadia requires a super-fast internet connection in order for to stream video games with no lag or other associated problems. While no specific internet speed requirements have been revealed, running next-gen video games at 4K resolution (or even just 1080p) will be far beyond what Australia’s internet is capable of if our experience with Netflix is anything to go by.

Google has also yet to answer two big questions related to Stadia. The first is how much the service will cost. Streaming means the traditional way of buying and selling games no longer applies. Does this mean we’ll have to subscribe on some sort of deal like Netflix or is it a one-time fee?

The second big question is what kind of games will be on the service. The only confirmed titles so far have been Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and the upcoming Doom Eternal, and Google has yet to reveal what developers will be putting their games onto Stadia. The platform is hugely impressive but it all means nothing if there are no games on it.

It remains to be seen how Google will fare in the gaming sphere with Stadia. There are still many question marks over the platform but early signs are pointing towards a paradigm shift in the entertainment world should the service work as intended.

As for when Stadia will arrive, it will be launching at some point in 2019 in the US, Canada, UK, and “most of” Europe. There’s no release date for Aussies but if we were to hazard a guess, 2050 is probably the closest window we’ll get based on how long it’ll take for our internet speeds to catch up to the rest of the world.

Peter Dutton Is Using The Christchurch Shootings To Stir Up The Debunked Video Game Violence Debate Again

Standard play from the politician's handbook: don't own up to the issue and blame video games instead.

Home Affairs Minister and potato representative Peter Dutton proclaimed that the “extreme left‘ are basically as much to blame as the “extreme right” when it comes to the recent Christchurch shootings the other day.

But just when you think ol’ mate couldn’t say anything more stupid than that, he somehow managed to top himself on ABC Radio National on March 18 by using Christchurch to revisit the well and truly debunked video game violence debate.

“I think there is a further debate, I might say, in relation to the use of computer games and graphic videos, and the way in which that is accessed online.” 

Good grief, Dutto, you’ve done some truly stupid things in your time as a politician and yet you continue to surprise us.

Rehashing the video game violence debate is a standard play from the politician handbook: ignore the real issues at hand and/or deny that you had anything to do with the incident at hand and blame it on video games.

It’s a fearmongering tactic pollies like to use that also has no basis in fact. There have been several scientific studies conducted over the past decade or so that conclusively proves that there is simply no link between violent games and real-life violence.

Just last month, the University of Oxford and the Oxford Internet Institute conducted one of the most comprehensive study into the link between violent games and real-life violence. After collecting data on over 2,000 teens, parents, and carers, the study concluded (again) that there simply is no link between the two.

Having been a gamer for nearly my whole life, defending video games from fact-denying politicians is just exhausting and pointless because it feels like I’m screaming into a void.

So politicians, here’s my response to your constant rehashing of a debunked subject:

It’s an honest question that I don’t think I’ll get an honest answer to.

If politicians really want to deep dive into what caused angry people who happened to play games to go shoot up two mosques, then perhaps they should start looking into the anti-migrant and Muslim rhetoric that’s been peddled by certain parties over the last decade or so.

But that’s a story for another day. For now, let’s just cut the crap on this rehashed video game violence thing before it goes anywhere.

Time To Stop Playing Anthem Because It May Kill Your PS4, Literally

Definitely an anthem you don't want to march to.

EA recently released Anthem into the world a few weeks ago and the reception has been, uh, not too nice.

The latest big-budget game to come from BioWare, the studio best known for making the critically-acclaimed Mass Effect games, Anthem ended up getting middling reviews at best, criticism that there’s not really much to do despite such a beautiful world, loot balance issues that would stump an Olympic gymnast, and more glitches and bugs than the Amazon rainforest.

Time to add another big problem to Anthem‘s increasingly long to-fix list because PlayStation 4 users are now demanding refunds after reporting that the game has been killing their consoles.

Not good at all.

Anthem players have been reporting on Reddit that the game has been causing their console to crash to the main menu. Some have reported more serious crashes, such as their PS4 switching completely off and causing problems akin to yanking the power cable straight out of the wall socket while the console is still running.

I’m no tech wizard or anything but these crashes don’t sound particularly good for a console’s health.

Rather than risk bricking their PS4, owners of digital copies of Anthem have started asking Sony for refunds. While the company has a pretty strict return policy (don’t wanna lose that sweet moolah after all), users have reported that the refund process has been relatively simple and pain-free.

That being said, other users are reporting that Sony won’t give them a refund and are recommending people to simply stop playing the game while EA fixes it.

So if you’re a PS4 owner and you bought a digital copy of Anthem, you have a choice of going for a refund or going back for another go of Red Dead Redemption 2 while they fix everything, which could honestly take a while given the scale of the problems BioWare are facing.

What’s happening behind-the-scenes for Anthem right now.

While Anthem‘s problematic launch is been less than ideal for EA and BioWare, it is sadly par for the coarse when it comes to launching big-budget, large-scale online multiplayer games.

A combination of meeting deadlines, artistic compromises, extremely difficult tech hurdles, and high public expectations mean that flawed video game launches are becoming increasingly common. Even the relatively-smooth launch of the critically-acclaimed Apex Legends last month had its share of problems.

Launching a broken game and having developers craft it into a decent playable experience in the following months is the norm these days and it’s something that needs to change. But that’s a topic for another day.

EA and BioWare has yet to issue a statement regarding these PS4 crashes and refunds, but I imagine there won’t be one since the time spent crafting that message would be better spent fixing Anthem‘s many problems instead.

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