'Predictive button presses' and 'negative latency' will supposedly make Google Stadia faster than local gaming systems in a year or so

Does this address concerns of the fighting game community or does it only add to them?

Posted by Justin 'AdaptiveTrigger' Gordon • October 9, 2019 at 5:07 p.m. PDT

Let's be completely honest about the initial impressions regarding the Google Stadia announcement. There are some merits to the idea of a video game streaming service on paper, but there are some major concerns that absolutely need to be addressed in application.

For one, the Google Stadia will essentially require you to always be online since you're streaming from the cloud. Doesn't this mean there would always be an increased feeling of input delay compared to consoles that can be played offline?

This is particularly important for fighting games. Most hardcore and casual players alike probably won't care for a fighting game that feels like its underwater. It seems that Google Stadia might have a solution, however.

Evidently, Google believes that their product can eventually become faster and more responsive than local gaming consoles in about "a year or two," as vice president of engineering, Madj Bakar told Edge Magazine (via PCGamesN).

"Ultimately, we think in a year or two we'll have games that are running faster and feel more responsive in the cloud than they do locally, regardless of how powerful the local machine is." - Madj Bakar

"Ultimately, we think in a year or two we'll have games that are running faster and feel more responsive in the cloud than they do locally," stated Bakar. "[R]egardless of how powerful the local machine is."

It goes without saying that these are rather big boasts to make. One would think that a game played locally would always have less delay compared to a streaming service.

Bakar ended up citing terms like "predictive button presses" and "negative latency" for reasons behind this thinking. Yes, those are what they sound like.

While lag is being detected, the service will supposedly do things like these or increase the frames per second in order to compensate.

Essentially, the game will attempt to "predict" a user's next action or button press. If they should actually go through with it, the game has that action ready to render.

Does this mean that a few startup frames will essentially be skipped from time to time during local fighting game sets? In some ways, it does sound like some sort of rollback netcode, except during local matches.

While it's possible this may address the concerns about latency, it also brings about a number of other questions. In any event, it does still come across as being unlikely that the fighting game community will adopt the Google Stadia for practice sessions or tournaments.

Button photo source: Learn Adafruit.

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