Ahoy! Welcome to Replay, where we run down the biggest news of the week in the world of videogames. Anything we haven’t covered elsewhere, we’ve got it here. Let’s get to it.
Google Wants Stadia to Have ‘Negative Latency’—Yes, Really
Ever since Google announced its cloud gaming platform Stadia, there have been questions about latency—that tricky delay between giving an input and seeing its result. Theoretically, this response time could be slower on a system that has to send everything through the internet instead of being run on a console, but Google has promised that open standards and compression codecs would render latency a nonissue on Stadia.
Now Google is promising something that sounds even better: “negative latency.” While that term sounds like it literally translates to “time travel,” what Stadia’s head of engineering, Majd Bakar, meant when said it was that emerging technology will eventually allow Stadia to reduce latency to the point where it’s basically nonexistent—making games on the service more responsive than even those on PCs and consoles.
Sounds cool, but how? Uhhh, good question. Gizmodo speculates it’s probably some form of predictive system that guesses the player’s button inputs algorithmically and renders frames early before sending them to the screen. It’s a technology that exists already, with limited applications in certain emulators, for instance. That’s certainly one idea, though a demanding one considering the complexity of modern games. Players will likely learn more after Stadia launches in November.
Steam Is Turning Every Couch Co-Op Game Into an Online Multiplayer One
In case you don’t have a couch for couch-co-op, couch co-op is coming to the least couch-like place of all: the internet. In a new initiative that Steam is calling “Remote Play Together,” online support for formerly exclusively local multiplayer games will be coming to the PC platform. Steam revealed the information recently on a website only accessible to developers, but as PC Gamer reports, the news quickly leaked out.
The feature will be, purportedly, compatible with every applicable game on the platform, using Steam’s extant remote play technology to simulate everyone being in the same room together, playing on the same instance of the game. There’s no simulating trying to steal another player’s controller when they’re kicking your ass, though.
No More Facebook for PlayStation 4
Social media integration has quickly come to feel like the norm on modern consoles. With sharing functions like screenshots and recorded video being integrated into the functionality of the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, it makes sense that you’d want to share them somewhere. But now, PlayStation 4 has one fewer place to post.
As announced recently in a blog post, Facebook integration is ending on the PlayStation 4. That means that players will no longer be able to post screenshots or videos to the platform via the PS4 or integrate friend lists between the two. No reason was given for the split, but it’s a conspicuous absence, and makes one wonder how the PlayStation 5 will approach such things.
Recommendation of the Week: Quadrilateral Cowboy by Blendo Games, on PC
I think about Quadrilateral Cowboy a lot. It’s a heist game about friendship, a hacking game, an exploration of how videogames work, and what being a developer is like. Quadrilateral Cowboy is all of these things, along with being odd, moving, and a little clunky. But few developers are as brilliant at the first-person perspective as Blendo Games, and few games are as memorable as Quadrilateral Cowboy. Time to hack in.
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