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Stadia Sees Another Upgrade – So how does it Compare to Systems like Live Casino Gaming?

It might not be on most gamers’ minds anymore, but Stadia is still here running in the background and receiving updates. The latest of these is the feature to join multiplayer games without players first having to send an invite. A standard feature in other online systems like Steam for years, the delay in implementing such basic functionality is a little frustrating, but as the saying goes, it’s better late than never.

As a streaming service, Stadia has only recently passed its second birthday, but it’s not without older contemporaries. Using live casino games as a comparison, we want to look at how Stadia compares to these more established systems. Why is it that online casino games operate easily on even older devices, while Stadia can struggle even on cutting-edge systems, and will Stadia ever overcome these issues? We investigate.

The Basics

As a full game streaming service, Stadia operates by a constant back and forth between server and user. Online live casino games operate in a similar matter, but instead of video games, they offer classic casinos titles such as blackjack, roulette, poker, and mega ball. Essentially all the table games you could expect at a major casino are available on live casino services, alongside some more esoteric options. In terms of operation, live casino games stream the dealer to the user, who is updated via controls on the player’s device.

This works along the same lines as Stadia: from the server, the video of the game is sent constantly to the players’ devices. From the user, input is taken from a keyboard, mouse, controller, or touch-screen, and then relayed to the server. By constantly updating each other many times a second, the goal is to achieve the same synchronization as a player would experience on a home system.

However, one crucial difference for online live casino games is that, since real-time reactions and constant user updates aren’t as necessary, the demands are much lower.

Where do the Stadia Problems Come From?

Even slower 5 Mbps online connections can play live casino games just fine, and latency above a second is workable, but the same cannot be said for Stadia. Instead, Google’s system relies on sub-100 millisecond latency to be playable in many titles, where playing at the highest quality will cost at least 35 Mbps of bandwidth.

The bandwidth issue for Stadia, at least for most users, shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Drops below this point will simply lower video quality, and since even a 4K image over the system is compressed, a compromise is already expected. Latency, however, is a real killer. In some titles, like Doom Eternal, too much lag makes enemies near unavoidable, which in turn makes fast-paced titles untenable.

Is There a Solution?

In some cases, the answer is no. The maximum possible speed for even fibre optic technology at this point is around a third of the speed of light. While this is extremely fast, it’s still limited by distance to Stadia servers and router connection points. For this reason, unless Google decided to put a Stadia server in every city, latency will always be a problem in fast-paced games. Of course, this won’t always ruin the experience, and for some titles, latency won’t be as much of a problem.

blankFibre Optic Tips” (CC BY 2.0) by EpicFireworks

In live casino games, we’ve already reached the point where faster speeds won’t make a difference anyway, as the highest level of quality has already been achieved. This reality does at least create a target at which systems like Stadia could aim. Maybe the best systems aren’t so much about trying to force technology to what it can’t, but rather in understanding limitations, and working within them. Regardless, we’ll still be watching closely to see what Stadia does next.