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Founder
Founder

How to be more responsive: Offer Beta version

I am loving the Stadia gaming experience in general, I think Google have done wonders with the technology to give a lag free experience when playing a game on a server.

However, what dents this is the consumer experience in terms of communications, with a very low level of updates from Google, and a lack of information in the updates we get.  What we want to know is that the issues we see, and the features we want, ARE being worked on.  Consumer perception is everything.

Other companies tackle this using a Beta channel.  This has two purposes, it gives visibility of what fixes/features are being worked on, it allows consumers to test those fixes and preview features, and it gives a great way for Google to test things in the wild without risking the stable channel. For the Chrome version of stadia this would be as simple as having a beta link at the top of the landing page, so users could easily switch between stable and beta. For the App, well the play store has beta capability built in!

What I would love to have visibility on, and would love to test, or in for the first one know if google are even working on it:

  • Fixes for the lag some people see when playing through Chrome (my Del 11 3120 chromebook is too laggy to play, I am considering getting a chromebox but I am worried I might get one that doesn't work that well with Stadia)
  • The ability to play on my non Pixel phone
  • The ability to use the controller in wireless mode when playing through chrome/phone
  • 4K through Chrome

Honestly, so much of the moaning I read about Stadia is about lack of updates and communication, that should be simpler to remedy than any technical problems!

This is meant to be a positive post btw, I am a massive supporter of Stadia, and would love to see it executed even better!

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18 Replies
Community Member

@Dratster : Good grief, I can't think of anything worse than offering beta versions.   Just imagine the negative feedback about beta features not working properly and all the hassle that that will cause.

Better that they roll-out new features on the fly as has been the case for those few features that have been added, but I suspect that we'll start to see more stuff  over the coming months.

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Founder
Founder

@Mad_Dog_Bravo I have to disagree with you there. Betas are common place, and people know what to expect from them, you expect bugs and that is the trade off for trying the latest features. As for creating hassles, any company that considers customer feedback as a hassle, well.. 

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Community Member

@Dratster : I understand your point, I'm just saying that from my own opinion I can't think of a valid practical reason to have a beta program. The thought where some new feature is available to the beta users and not to the general public will just create a nightmare.  Maybe if it was performed under an NDA then perhaps it might be more practical, but it would have to be a closed beta and keep it away from the mainstream IMHO.

But I think a public beta would be more of a hindrance than a benefit.   But once again that is just my opinion. 

And from my own perspective, having worked in software development since the late 80's on software that has had millions of users worldwide I fully understand the benefits of beta programs.

I'd be surprised if Google didn't already have in some form a beta program in place for Stadia, but if they do then they have kept it quiet from the general public.

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Community Member

I agree with @Mad_Dog_Bravo . First of all, if you read the threads here, the most frequent complaints are not gameplay. They are a few threads about bugs that needed fixing, but midst of the complaints are the same. There's not enough games, there's no communication, someone bought a game and then it was offered free, or now the big thing is people comparing this service to other services when none of them are actually quite the same.

Offering a beta won't stop any of those complaints. It will in fact create more complaints as @Mad_Dog_Bravo said. Sure, it's be free, but then people will absolutely complain about the beta when they find bugs and it takes time to fix them. Remember... Google can't fix bugs, it's not Google's software. They have to get the developers to fix the bugs. It's the same as right now when Google says that the developers control when game announcements can be made, and the developers remain silent. Everyone still blames Google for that. 

So all a beta creates is another platform for users to complain about things Google can't fix. I'm not saying you're wrong. This is just my opinion, and I agree with mad dog. 

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Community Member

Also I want to add to what I said. Google's focus needs to be on the main product right now. There is a lot that needs fixing, and once they do that and the service is performing up to standard, and the developer relationships are better, and there are more games and the subscriber base is growing, then they could possibly look to include a beta program. But honestly right now a lot of Stadia is still beta. It's not complete yet and that's where the focus needs to be.

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Community Member

Didn't they already do a beta last year or is it more like a trial you are asking them to offer?

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Community Member

@ARGAH I think he means like running a beta program alongside the actual platform to allow people to experience what's coming, test new games and features and stuff like that. But it's just not the time for that. 

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Founder
Founder

My main point was that having an open Beta channel solves much of the communication complaints.

I agree they need to solve many of the technology issues, but having the best technology does not mean you are guaranteed to win, look at Betamax v VHS, look at Sony's digital walkman which had by far the best sound quality yet it lost to the Apple iPod which had a so so sound quality but a great user experience. User experience is king, and that sits at so many levels.

My big fear is that Stadia won't catch the imagination of the target audience, sales will stagnate and Google will let it fade away, this has happened many times with Google before.  This, in my opinion, would be a huge shame.

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Community Member

Stadia is going nowhere, even if Google got bored someone else would take over and run it with a different vision.

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Community Member

I understood your point @Dratster , but I disagree. First of all, opening a beta channel is no small effort in itself. This is not the time to devote resources to that. Much if the communication people claim is missing is because the developers drive game announcements. Google has addressed that. 

But now is not the time for Google to devote valuable resource to a beta channel. They are trying to get the service up and running and ready to open the main product to the public in both the free and subscription versions. They need to devote every resource to doing that. If they really get worried about these communication complaints, the way to solve that is to simply step up communications. Obviously they're not worried about that.

As @ARGAH said, Stadia isn't going anywhere. Google has deals in place and continues to make long term deals related to the service. They wouldn't be doing that if they were worried at all about the service folding, and companies wouldn't be making deals with Google if they thought that either. The only people who are worried about Stadia are the people who are impatient and don't realize just how young this service is and how much it is going to grow. I'll put my money on Google making this work for as long as they want it to work.

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Community Member

A number of other companies offer opt-in to beta releases for those willing to accept the bugs and issues that may arise.  I seem to recall Apple do this with their iOS because I remember having an early release of a recent iOS update.

I just wonder whether two problems Google may have doing this would be the stability of Stadia betas and the infancy of the tech?  It may be just that little too "rough around the edges" to warrant a public beta opt-in perhaps?  Its not like Google have a decade of past experience with the tech/software etc. to rely upon.

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Community Member

@matzy : Apple do this if you have subscribed to their developer program.  I'm not aware of any other method to get access to early release iOS versions, but its been a while since I last had my Apple developer license running so things may have changed.

Microsoft offer a sort of program with their office products and Win10 where you can get stuff from a stable release branch or a more bleeding edge one, Docker offers something similar and some companies may even go so far as giving access to a daily build etc.

But I've never seen a console do this, the closest that you might get was with the a development version of which some have been an utter nightmare (PS2 and PS3), and some have been really well executed (Xbox 360).  But I've not seen a public beta channel setup for a console yet, and I'd be surprised if Google would even entertain the thought.  

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Founder
Founder

stadia isn't a console, so I wouldn't compare a beta on stadia to a beta on the Xbox!

Anyway, this forum seems quite hostile. Sorry if I have a contrary view.

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Community Member

@Dratster : Everyone is entitled to their view.  In this topic there is no right or wrong answer.  Ultimately, it is up to the decision makers within Google to decide what or what not to do.

I only made the reference about the consoles because the Stadia pricing of games is more in line with console prices than PC/Steam pricing.  From my perspective I consider Stadia to be more of a console platform albeit without the actual console, but by the same token it could be called a PC in the cloud or a cloud gaming service or whatever, it doesn't really matter. 

But that shouldn't make you feel that you can't speak up about things that matter to you, you absolutely should!  By the same token, if you feel that you are receiving hostile messages then please flag them, the admins do review them to see if terms of service are breached etc., I certainly don't hesitate to flag anything that I think is out of order, thankfully I don't get to do that very often, but I have done it on occasion.

 

Kudos appreciated if deserved.
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Community Member

Who was hostile? I'm not sure what was possibly deleted, so maybe I missed something. But I didn't see any hostile posts here. I'm usually the hostile one! But I'm behaving much better these last few days, lol. 

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Stadia Player
Stadia Player

 

 

Uncle Phil already stated that there was no time for testing and that if Stadia worked in the US with the worst infrastructure in the world, it could do so in the rest of the countries, and investors had to be paid soon. The customer is not a priority.

 

Then Stadia must first pay investors and then grow and expand with Chromecast sales, controllers, chromebooks, pixel phones and subscriptions and game sales. This will be a slow process during the year. No one here with marketing or business knowledge ... you have to be pragmatic

 

One of the main doubts of the future users of Google Stadia is if the streaming game service will be able to offer with its connection a good quality and the minimum latency that allows to play without problems. However, Phil Harrison, project manager, has confirmed that there will not be a beta before its launch. Project Stream - the prototype of Google Stadia - was launched last year and allowed a limited number of users to try Assassin's Creed Odyssey directly in the Chrome browser.

 

About Stadia "it is a pity that we only tested Project Stream in the United States, and still it was a relatively small number of players, but you have experienced it and you know it works." On the possibility of doing a test with Stadia in other territories, Harrison comments that "the United States is the most complex place because of the size of the country.

 

In Europe, and in particular the United Kingdom, they are closer - among themselves - it is easier to launch. So we won't do another test in the UK or Europe. If we had time, probably, but it’s not necessary. On these deadlines, he mentions that the United States began preparations for its data centers before Europe.

 

 

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Stadia Player
Stadia Player

Oh I see that censorship starts working in this forum. It seems that my money is welcome but my opinions are not You can also delete this post by spam. continue on that path and my creditcard will go somewhere else

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Stadia Player
Stadia Player

At the moment this is my last publication in any social media of Stadia

 

Bye and good luck

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