Google Stadia and Game Streaming

The big news in gaming (other than the Five Nights at Freddy’s teaser images) is Google’s announcement of Google Stadia. “What on Earth is this thing?” I thought. I began looking into it. Pretty soon I saw that just about everyone has something to say about it, which got me even more curious.

According to the Google Shop page, the Stadia will be a video game streaming service. The games will be on the cloud, so you’ll be able to play your games anywhere that has Internet connection and on any device. The page goes on to state that you’ll be able to shift from watching a video to playing a game.

There wasn’t much else on the page, but there was a place to enter your email address so you could be updated as news releases.

According to IGN’s article “Google Stadia Streaming Platform Launch, Game, And Feature Details Revealed,” Google plans to release the Stadia by the end of 2019–they just aren’t sure when. But sometime in the summer there will be more about pricing, what games will be available, and more.

Google plans to have the Stadia as a service without a console. They want it so anyone can use it with any device. The game controller, which you would need to buy, would connect to Google’s servers not to the device; this would allow the controller to work with any device. The developers did hint at that if you want to play the games on your TV you would need Google Chromecast–but at $35 it is still better than the $300 plus you’d spend on a console.

The controller would also allow you to capture and share gameplay and upload it to YouTube. Another Stadia feature is called “State Sharing.” This feature allows a player to create a shareable link of their progress. The player then can give out the link and other players will be transported to that spot and given all the equipment and levels the sharer had. I could see this as a cool giveaway option for YouTube gamers.

The main concerns of the gaming community that I came across is price, game selection, and lag. Players are worried that Stadia will come with a hefty membership price. Players are also concerned about Internet connection. When streaming a video, the stream is one-way–the movie comes to you and you watch it–but video games are two-way–you have the game coming to the player and the player responding. The data from the game has to travel to the player and the player’s input has to travel back. The players input also changes the course of the game and that data has to be sent back. It is a constant back and forth, which causes lag.

Hopefully as Google releases more information, some of these concerns will be addressed. The issue about lag has already been addressed somewhat in IGN’s video “Google Stadia ‘Won’t Reach Everybody Day 1’–IGN Now.” Basically, as the title says, Google knows that Stadia won’t reach everyone on launch day. Google can have the best servers in the universe, but it doesn’t matter much if the individual has a slow Internet.

Google has also repeatedly said that the Stadia will carry many AAA games like Assassin’s Creed (according to the IGN “Google Stadia Streaming Platform Launch” article), but there seems to be some concern about independent developers. The Game Theorists (under the GTLive channel) address this issue in their tea series live podcast “GTeaLive: Will Google Stadia be the Netflix of gaming?” The hosts mention how they strongly advised Google to somehow include indie games.

Personally, I would really like to be able to play a video game pretty much anywhere and not have to buy a few hundred dollars worth of equipment every time some slight new improvement comes along. But, I’m also worried about what it will do to businesses. We’ve already seen what happen to movie rental chains after Netflix started. How many more businesses will close and how many more people will lose their jobs?


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

Status Update

Stories

Since it’s been awhile since I worked on my work in progress (or WIP), I’m going to have to redo some of it. I’m hoping to save most, but there is much that needs reworking. So, the Alone story has a bit of a delay.

Side Quests #5, Freaky Furry, will be out April 1. Available at many online retailers.

Side Quests #6, Sparks of Rebellion, will be out April 19. Available at many online retailers.

I have begun the rough draft process for Side Quests #7.

Videos

A few YouTube videos have been released, such as a new comic video and a Frozen 2 theory based on the trailer.

Another comic video will be released on March 27.

I am also working on a couple tips and tricks projects which might be a video or a blog post.

Finally, I am working on another “Read by the author” video–this time focusing on my Alliance story.

Blog

Along with the possible tips and tricks project, I am working on a post about the Google Stadia announcement. It should come out March 26.

Game

I’ve finished the main gameplay part of the next text adventure game. I am now working on the fine details, such as images and sound. Once this is done, I’ll work on testing the game.

Holy Disney Takeover, Batman!

I’d just finished watching the IGN video going over some of the new franchises owned by Disney now that they have bought part of Fox. Among listing things like Predator, Aliens, Die Hard, and Avatar (not the Airbender), they said Disney owns the rights to the 1960s Batman with Adam West. I thought, “Now if they could only somehow add Mickey into the show then we could connect the Disney Universe with the DC Universe as a shared universe which would also connect the Marvel Universe because DC has crossed-over with Marvel many times.” But, I then thought of a more feasible approach: Aliens.

Batman and even Superman have fought the alien xenomorphs, so it is possible to link the universes that way. All Disney would need to do is have a xenomorph invasion of some of their new properties. And who wouldn’t want to see John McClane battle a xenomorph or have one chest-burst out of Mickey Mouse. Disney wouldn’t even have to do that big of an invasion. They now own The Simpsons and they’ve had crossovers with X-Files, South Park, Family Guy, and even Rick and Morty–according to a video done by the Nerdist.

The Nerdist video goes on to talk about how many cartoons are all connected, even connecting BoJack Horseman to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which the TMNT also connects to Batman via the Batman/TMNT comics. The TMNT also connects to DC through the Injustice 2 game (which also connects it to Hellboy and Mortal Kombat). TMNT also connects to the Power Rangers; the Power Rangers also connects to DC via a JLA/Power Rangers comic. There have also been many Looney Tunes and DC stories as well. Looney Tunes can be connected to the show Tiny Toon Adventures which had appearances by many real-life actors and other Warner Brother properties.

Mortal Kombat also has a connection to Jason Voorhees from Mortal Kombat X, which also connects him to Jason Vs. Freddy, and thus to Freddy Kruger.

Speaking of a real-life connection, videos by The Game Theorists connected many video games to real-life through Mike Tyson and some through Tony Hawk. This got me thinking about further “real world” connections. I thought, “How could you show a connection between a show–or game–and the real world?” One way is the real-life celebrities. So this would connect Scooby-Doo to the real world because he’s met many real-life people, such as the WWE, but he also has connections to Archie and Batman (man, Batman gets around).

Another way to connect the real world is using the same technique that scientists use to find dark matter: look for what isn’t there. This one is a bit of stretch because it basically asks for some faith. I started thinking about the show Captain N, where a teen from the real world is transported into the Nintendo game world. I started thinking, “How would you know for sure this never happened?”

Look at Toy Story, it is supposed to take place in the real world. How do we know that toys don’t come to life when we aren’t around? So, in theory we could add any show or game that takes place in a real world where the general public is unaware of the events of the plot. For example, the Harry Potter series, the general public doesn’t know that magic exists. Who’s to say that there isn’t a Hogwarts? It’s kind of like the discussion about alien life; there’s no proof that they exist but there is no proof they don’t. So as long as Harry Potter doesn’t get on the six o’clock news and say, “I’m a wizard,” it could share a universe with us. For clarity, Cloverfield wouldn’t count because everyone knew about the monster attack; and as far as I know, a monster did not attack New York in our world.

Another way to connect the real world to other worlds is when the characters travel to parallel worlds and they call our world “Earth Prime,” “Keystone Earth,” or “Land Without Magic.” So this could add things like Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.

We could also potentially connect every LEGO game and movie because of The LEGO Movie. The movie connects the LEGO world to the real world when Emmett goes through the portal. The LEGO Dimensions game then connects The LEGO Movie to the other LEGO worlds. Since The LEGO Movie even mentions other toy sets and LEGO Dimensions also mentions other dimensions, we can add connections to all the LEGO toys, like Minecraft (at least the LEGO version). Also, Into the Spider-Verse and TMNT have also said, “every version of Spider-Man and the Turtles are part of a multiverse” LEGO TMNT and LEGO Spider-Man connect to the Marvel Universe and TMNT Universe. LEGO Michelangelo is in The LEGO Movie.

But all of that is just faith and theory…on to the facts and back to my main point. Another Game Theorists’ video connects the Kingdom Heart games to Doom which also connects to Fortnite and many other games, including ones discussed in their videos about a Ubisoft Universe and the Mike Tyson connection. So, the Disney Universe has many connections to video game universes as well as real-life.

The videos also connect Spider-Man to Star Wars and the Star Wars universe is all one universe. This would bring in any (non-fan made) Star Wars book, comic, and show. Spider-Man then connects us back to the DC Universe.

My main point is that if Disney connected their new properties (and it wouldn’t take much since many of the Fox shows they acquired were already connected through shows like The Simpsons) via xenomorphs, they would have connections through many show universes–thanks to Batman and Scooby-Doo–as well as many game universes. Almost every fictional universe could connect back to Disney. There would be one massive shared universe, including our own, with “one mouse to rule them all.” Disney would be the center of the fictional universe AND the real universe! BWA-HAHAHAHA!!!

Well, except for Five Nights At Freddy’s, like the Game Theorists, I couldn’t connect it either. Unless you want to count the Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode “War and Pizza.” Donatello upgrades the pizzeria’s mascot, an animatronic bear (cough, cough), and it comes to life and attacks everyone. But…I doubt it because he used science and not the souls of murdered kids. Wait a minute…Donatello wears a purple bandana. Oh my gosh! Donatello is the Purple Guy!!! Hee, hee…LOL.

It’s not like the Turtles have a connection to anything else in the game, for example the infamous Bite of ’87. Wait, didn’t the original animated series came out in 1987?


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

YouTube CliffsNotes | Living the Write Life

After seeing the latest “couch-side chat” by MatPat (host/owner of The Game Theorists channel–among others) where he discusses how the good that YouTubers do is largely overlooked by the news media, my first reaction was “duh.” (Click here for the video.)

He mentions how a public relations person told him that no one is interested in good news about YouTubers. As a once-upon-a-time reporter (and for a short period a PR person), I was not surprised by this statement. The first thing they tell you when you walk through the Journalism 101 door is “if it bleeds it leads.”

It’s not just YouTubers that are targeted by this “no one interested in the good news they do” belief, it’s everyone. I can’t tell you how many times I pitched a “good” news story only to have it rejected or published on page 25.

The reason for the “no good news” is partly because “bad news” is what sells. News media operates by lowest common dominator, which sadly is drugs, sex, and violence. People are more interested in reading about a scandal or accident or disaster–probably because these things end up affecting people. The story about the 100-year-old woman is cute but how does it affect the average person. The story about the tornado ripping through a town impacts more, especially if you have friends or family there.

The “bad news” is also easier to write from a reporting perspective. It’s a lot easier to find an angle for a story where YouTuber X is found to be a child predator versus YouTuber X donated $2,000 to charity. In the later, pretty much all your questions are answered within a few words; the former creates questions and creates more stories (i.e. coverage of a trial, controversy over if YouTube should run background checks, etc). In the charity example, you get one, maybe two, stories. In the child predator story, you get hundreds.

But, I’m not here to talk about business theory or sociology or psychology. I’m here to talk about the second thing I thought of after watching the video. How do people find out about all these news/debate topics and still spend hours upon hours on their videos? Is there a YouTube CliffsNotes I don’t know about?

So, naturally I began thinking about how funny that would be if there were CliffsNotes on YouTube Creators/Channels (there might be; I just said I’m not “in the loop”). Wouldn’t that be weird/cool to walk into a bookstore and there is CliffsNotes: MatPat? It’d be full of all the stuff about his channels you’d need to know, like “clap and a half,” and “#BlameJason,” and “Pro Tips.” It would also have brief summaries of the more popular videos.

Or how about a “For Dummies” spin-off/series. Grian for Dummies or Domics for Dummies.

I’m sorry, these are the weird rabbit holes that writers/artists find themselves in sometimes. But, you can’t tell me that you would rather have a post discussing news media theory or dissecting an Internet video than hearing about Let Me Explain Studios for Dummies.

Two hours later…

Two hundred dislikes?!

OK, so maybe you would rather have a post dissecting a video…


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

The latest Side Quest short story Carl Rogers Is Missing is out now for FREE.

Walmart eBooks | Review

I just wanted to buy The Atlantropa Articles by Cody Franklin (aka AlternateHistoryHub on YouTube) on Walmart eBooks. I had some money on there and was going to spend it.

I found the book on the app; it said if I wanted to purchase the book I would have to do so from Walmart. UGH! Fine! I headed to the Walmart app and searched for the book. I found it, but it was the hardback. I don’t want the hardback; I want the eBook!

I figured that maybe it wan’t in eBook format on Walmart since the author isn’t as well known. I tried “Dean Koontz.” I found only hardbacks and paperbacks. Finally, I saw an eBook filter option. When I clicked on that, I got random eBooks like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. What does that have to do with Dean Koontz? (I guess he did write the forward.)

I finally just gave up.

Walmart really needs to fix their search and eBook system if they want to compete with Amazon. On Amazon, you search, find the product, buy the product–no hoop jumping required. Nobody wants to go through 15 different sites just to buy a product, which is why Amazon is doing so well–you go to the site, buy, and you’re done.

I know I could get the eBook from Amazon, but I wanted to get it from Walmart eBooks because a) I have credit with Walmart eBooks and b) I don’t trust Amazon.

I never thought I’d see the day I was rooting for Walmart. Don’t get me wrong: Walmart is far from a saint. When I was younger, Walmart was always the “big bad” choking the life out of smaller businesses. There were tons of news and personal stories of Walmart causing local businesses to close because they couldn’t compete. Now, it’s Amazon, and they aren’t just hurting small businesses but the larger ones too (RIP Toys R Us, not to mention a few bookstores).

At first, I liked Amazon, but the more I dealt with them, the less I liked them. A lot of the trouble came from when I tried to self-publish eBooks with them. Their exclusive publishing program sounds good but that means you can’t sell it anywhere else–including your own website. Customers have their own preferences, like buying from Barnes & Noble. If you only publish at Amazon, you are limiting your customer potential.

Also with Amazon, you can’t sell your book for free unless you are part of the exclusive program, and you can only do that for like five days every few months. Finally, their royalty rates are pretty low. Most of the money from your sales, unless you go exclusive, goes to Amazon.

There are other sneaky things, but those mostly come from other people or are alleged rumors, so I won’t go into them here.

The point is I started seeing Walmart as the lesser of two evils. Kind of like with the “subscribe to PewDiePie” campaign. For a long time I’d see YouTubers mocking or saying how much they dislike or are annoyed with PewDiePie. Suddenly, everyone was saying “subscribe to PewDiePie” and “save PewDiePie.” I couldn’t understand the shift.

At first, I figured it was a joke or YouTubers trying to find something to vlog/make content about…and I’m sure that still plays a part, but I started to see a deeper reason.

PewDiePie, like his videos or dislike his videos, is an independent maker (or independent-ish). Meanwhile, T-Series is a multi-channel organization with a staff. And then there is the theory that YouTube itself is helping T-Series succeed in order to get a foothold in the Indian market.

To the other YouTube Creators, PewDiePie is a symbol of the small content maker who works out of their closet (even if PewDiePie might not actually be doing that) while T-Series is seen as a big company with big backing. It is the same reason that many YouTubers are having trouble with celebrities, like Will Smith, becoming YouTubers (as seen in the FootofaFerret video): the small scale YouTubers can’t compete with the high production value and fame that celebrities bring.

So even though PewDiePie has more subscribers than some countries have citizens, he is still seen as the lesser of two evils to the other content makers. To them, he is seen as “one of them,” some random person with a camera talking about stuff. They see the channels, like celebrity channels or T-Series, that can pretty much buy their way into the trending tab as a threat to their livelihood.

My point is that sometimes it is better to go with the devil you know. And also if Walmart doesn’t want to become the next sad, goodbye, going out of business meme–like Toys R Us–they better get to work on improving their eBook app.

(I can’t believe I mentioned “subscribe to PewDiePie” in a post, sigh.)


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

The first interactive story game based on my book series can be found here.