Is Google Stadia REALLY a threat to Xbox? This and more on #AskDanWindows 58.

On this episode of #AskDanWindows, I take your questions on Google Stadia, Windows Core OS and tablet mode, privacy features you might see in the new Edge browser, Microsoft's approach to consumer product releases, and much more.

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Audience questions for episode 58

  • Will Windows 10 Pro (or other existing SKUs) tablet mode benefit from the new shells they're developing? — @massijay
  • What privacy features you expect to be present in new Microsoft Edge? Like Ad-blocker or tracker-blocker or inPrivate Window with Tor like we have in Brave Browser. — @kameshkotwani
  • Do you see Google or Apple giving Microsoft a run for their money in the future when it comes to gaming? — @SilverFoxxx1
  • Is the camera on the Lumia 950/XL comparable to the Note 9's shooter, or any other modern high-end smartphones? — @rodneyej
  • How do you feel about Microsoft releasing products with seemingly no expectation of mass market success? They've released the Invoke, GLAS, and recently the Surface headphones all without a marketing push and with limited availability at retailers nationwide or worldwide. — @HeyCori

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Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Is Google Stadia REALLY a threat to Xbox? No I do not think that Google Stadia will be much of a threat. First, its great for gamers to have options, its great for the gaming industry and it allows developers to grow, but as a threat to Xbox, no. Xbox is an established brand, there are first party titles and more to come from Microsoft massive buy out of more game development companies. Microsoft has an existing portfolio of games, with backwards compatibility, they are already ahead of the game. Xcloud: What Google showed was nothing different than what Microsoft's been working on for years. Game streaming have not been well received in the gaming community, things like latency, streaming instability, and internet requirement to stream games play a factor as to why streaming will take a while before people adopt it as the place to play games over all. Local PC's and Console's will still be the best place to play. Also, this effects both Xcoud and Stadia, there are still parts of the US that do not have access to high speed internet service. Another, internet reliability and data caps play a factor with streaming games. Privacy and security is a huge issue as well, we are talking about Google. Here is a question, Google makes a lot of its money from advertisement, will we be seeing ads while streaming games? If there is a window of opportunity, Google might take it. Establishment: During the Stadia presentation, they talk about game development. Here where Xbox Xcloud has its one up. There is no developing, all games right now developed for Xbox and soon to be developed for Xbox will stream right off the gate on to Xcloud. Unlike Stadia, development of games are needed which will take time for development, that includes first party games if any. Stadia: The presentation look great in a control environment. Stadia seems to be a games changer with claim 4k and 8k game streaming at 60 Frames per second with HDR, its all ooooo and aaaaaa's, but we need to see it in a real world environment, the same goes for Xcloud, yet I find Microsoft in a better position. Microsoft has been researching and developing Xcloud for years, Google on the other hand leaves to many unanswered questions. In order to see how well any of the two streaming services work, we will need it out in the real world. We need to see it, play it and experience it. As a gamer, we all know how it feels when you go to play a brand new online games for the first time, then you find out you just cant log in due to the traffic. Well, this is why we need to experience games streaming in a non controlled environment. Microsoft is an established player in the gaming arena.
    Google has yet to show its legs
    Microsoft Xbox offers multiple places to play games: Xbox Console, PC and soon to be everywhere: Xcloud
    Google Stadia will have you rely on internet only.
    Microsoft has GamePass allowing you to download your games onto Xbox and Soon, the PC.
    Google Stadia will have you relying on game streaming only
    Xbox has an established library of games including first party favorites.
    Stadia does not, so far they will rely on third party games which most likely will be available on Xbox. So, I don't think Stadia will effect Xbox.
    Xbox has brand loyalty.
    Stadia has yet to be established in the gaming arena.
    Microsoft will continue to support the development of consoles and its port to PC.
    Stadia will not have that, it will reply on streaming onto its Google software.
    Xbox has Xbox live, soon to be on many devises.
    Stadia Multi player services and how does one connect with friends:????????????
    Stadia Streaming service and Pricing: ?????????? Can Stadia effect Xbox, yea maybe, but not a huge games changer. Microsoft will continue to evolve what's already in place. Stadia is new and it will take time and lots of money to catch up. Not going to be easy for Google to step into this arena with the big three: Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo. Time will tell.
  • Eh. Microsoft has two advantages with streaming and only two: they have a better encoding and decoding solution, interviews with Phil Harrison at Google suggests they're currently requiring 20Mbps to do 1080p 60fps streaming, and interviews with MS's cloud gaming head suggests they're already at 9-10 Mbps for the same, but think they can get all the way down to 5-6. They also have more data centers than Google, in more regions, so they'll have better coverage, and proximity to the data center matters a lot in terms of minimizing latency. As far as gaming initiatives as a whole, MS has the same advantage as they do with the cloud generally, which is that they pretty much control the hybrid solution space. Which is only an advantage in terms of connecting the present to the future. As internet infrastructure develops it ceases to be an advantage, so if Google is willing to continue to invest heavily for multiple years in this with only moderate success, there will come a point where almost everything looks like Stadia anyway, and then those YouTube integrations really start to matter. I think MS is well positioned to compete here, but Google should be taken seriously. They're touting a lot of benefits to a cloud only development paradigm, and those benefits are real. The only drawback for right now is that it's *a cloud only* development environment. But that stops being a drawback in 5-10 years.
  • I agree, yet. Internet availability, reliability, pricing and data caps plays an issue on the consumer side of things. Net Neutrality needs to be reinstated and permanent in order for games streaming to work in the next 5 to 10 years.
  • Net neutrality is a specious argument. Why would I want to pay a higher monthly service fee to compensate heavy users of bandwidth? Over time, things like better data control (encoding/decoding of data streams) and system improvements (more data centers, better network connections--5G) will provide more bandwidth to more customers. If you force network operators to conform to an act written in the 1930s to solve a business environment in the 21st century, all you will do is hinder the build out of 21st-century information systems.
  • Losing net neutrality will be like getting in a queue at a theme park without a fast track option, because everyone else is paying for faster speeds, you'll be forced to do the same, or accept being at the back of the queue for bandwidth, the only winners with the loss of neutrality are those with bottomless pits of cash, to pay for the very premium services and of course the ISP who are now charging more for the same service.
  • If you treat ISPs as utilities and you subsidize them accordingly for access, you don't get cost increase problems. US ISPs have a history of refusing to invest even small amounts of money into system improvements unless they can extract significant concessions in the process, so the idea that they *wouldn't* jack up prices if they're allowed to throttle content is somewhat ludicrous. They'll do that if they can get away with it, regardless of what other conditions exist. The only way to get downward pressure on pricing is through competition or government intervention; the costs of running their networks isn't why prices are high and speed is low. It's telling that in those few areas where there's legitimate competition between ISPs, internet speeds and quality looks more like the rest of the developed world. But none of that has anything to do with Net Neutrality: the reason why it's important is because ISPs also tend to own content production divisions that directly compete with other providers that route content over their networks. Net Neutrality is a way to make sure they don't abuse their effective monopoly positions given the massive conflicts of interest inherent in the way these companies are set up, it has nothing to do with applying downward pressure on pricing.
  • Really net neutrality is a US-only thing because here in Canada and even with people I know from Malaysia & Singapore, internet speeds are super high across all ISPs and the prices are quite low.
    So really the rest of the world would not be affected by game streaming becoming a thing at all. Microsoft just needs to push out that message
  • There is one more advantage from MS. The ability to run your game natively on Xboxes, and on PC (not just Windows classic but also WCOS, arm64 and new architecture and form factors future might bring us) through XPA or xvc. Not an issue if you only game @ home, but portable gaming? How do you stream on a flight? On a train? Bus? Some coffee store, Mac and restaurant has seats in the basement right? I have one more question. The Stadia gamepad connect to server directly through WiFi right? WiFi in the park? On a train or bus? Restaurants? Tether from your phone?
  • Of course this is a threat to Xbox and others in this market. I don't think it's an immediate threat to consoles, but think 5-10 years from now. I wouldn't discount Google for trying to enter this market. People scoffed at Microsoft when they announced their entrance with the Xbox.
  • You really think that Google would be a threat to Xbox 5 to 10 years from now? You don't think the Microsoft would continue to innovate well into the future with what they have achieved so far. 5 to 10 years from now, Microsoft will still be way ahead of Google. Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are established companies in the gaming industry constantly innovating. Microsoft is set to have a total of 20 first party games development companies under the Xbox brand. Google has yet to establish any new companies at this time. 5 to 10 years from now they may have a number of first party companies, but I doubt that Google will catch up to the progress made by Microsoft and the continuing progress Microsoft will continue into the future with the Xbox brand.
  • After watching the GDC show, although I think teaming up with YT is smart but, the move also creates questions. Kids are watching YT.
    "wanna join?"
    "Please pay $60 upfront" interface pops out.
    It's not gonna work. If you go with subscription or free-if-you-watch-overlay-ads.
    No AAA games on day1 cause publishers are selling'em on consoles or on their own store.
    Can ads or sub business model covers electricity bill generated by state-of-the-art (currently faster than ps4+xb1x right?) gaming pc on the cloud? 500~700 watts per game session you reckon?
  • The Invoke and GLAS Thermostat were collaborations with third parties that started when the direction for Cortana was very different than it is now. I think they're casualties of Microsft trying to figure out what their story for Cortana was in the absence of a mobile platform. Because they involved third parties they wouldn't have been so easy to just kill as the story around Cortana began to shift. But because they don't really fit that story anymore they'll just quietly fade away. I think the story around the Surface Headphones is different though, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a software update or a future model that lets you select your preferred assistant instead of being tied to Cortana.
  • Wonder where Playstation will sit with streaming in 5 years time.
  • Sony: It depends on how much they are willing to spend or can afford, they can team up with Amazon with its cloud services. I'm sure Sony will be looking into improving its current streaming service. It all depends on investment.
  • Sony may be forced to transition their first party offerings to someone else's platform, but if they do that they also don't have a platform themselves. So I don't see a future for their gaming division as a whole. They don't have the resources or infrastructure to compete. You can't just build out the data center capacity you need on a whim. It takes many billions of dollars and many years to reach the kind of scale you need. So at that point they'd be so far behind that there wouldn't be much point in even trying. They'd have to already be doing it to stay relevant and they're not. And realistically they can't. They don't have secondary uses for those data centers to help offset the costs involved. Microsoft, Amazon, and Google are the only companies that can compete in this space. So if the future is cloud the future is just them, in terms of platforms.
  • Sony should stop wasting money on VR and start investing more into their online infrastructure.
  • They *can't* compete there. They will *never* be able to compete there. I don't think people generally understand how expensive and time consuming it is to achieve what Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have achieved in terms of online infrastructure. It's tens of billions of dollars and many years worth of work just in construction, never mind developing the institutional ability to engineer a data center. You can't catch up if you're just starting now. By the time you get close to existing capacity, the big players will have doubled or tripled their own. Sony will have to build their services on someone *else's* cloud. And when all of those clouds have their own gaming services already, what's the value to developers for going through Sony?
  • > They *can't* compete there. They will *never* be able to compete there.
    And I heard, Sony's mobile business is actually losing more than gaming is gaining...
    It's a big hole... and if they want to spend billions and years to build servers and undersea cables around the world JUST for their OWN gaming business...
  • > they can team up with Amazon with its cloud services.
    AWS... there were statistics, AWS is slower than AWS and Google Cloud. AWS uses public internet to move data between servers, packages lost happens more often.
    And from our server programmer... it's an infamous facts. AWS is slower within Asia or between Asia and other continents. Sony will have to team up with Google or, MS.
  • Sony already has game streaming.
  • Better performance + bigger scale than Stadia?
  • Last year, my 950 took way better low light pictures than my friends. This year I took my OnePlus 6 on vacation. Camera not so good. I agree the speed of the 950 is bad, but the pictures are still pretty good compared to my family's iPhone 8. Too bad MSFT folded on W10M. I understand why but the integration of Cortana with PC with my 950 is still way better than what I can get with my Android. But I expect the integration will improve as MSFT devotes the money on W10M to Android and iOS app development for MSFT services (Cortana, Office, Edge, OnedDrive). I waited until earlier this year to switch to Android because I wanted Launcher to improve).
  • I still think the pictures on my 920 are overall more appealing than the ones on my Note9, and blow my GS7 out of the water. Dan, my complaint about the N9 vs the 950 is that the 950 takes much sharper, more defined, and less grainy, pics than the $1k N9. How is that acceptable? Color representation, speed, and features, definitely are beyond the 950, but basic picture clarity is still a huge determining factor in my opinion. The Note 9 can't even take a full 12mp picture in 16:9 aspect ratio. What's up with that?
  • "The Note 9 can't even take a full 12mp picture in 16:9 aspect ratio"
    The 950 can't even take a full 20 mp picture in 16:9 aspect ratio. Have to switch to 4:3. That is how the image sensor is set up. Is 12 mp some arbitrary cutoff in image resolution?
    The N9 has a lot of other stuff to justify the price. Not to me personally, I'm not going to get a $1k phone, but the specs are there. And yeah, a 20 mp camera should take sharper pics than a 12 mp camera. How often do you leave the pics at that resolution for display/distribution?
    Don't get me wrong, I like the camera on my 950. I keep it around for when I want to take a great picture, while everyday I still use my idol 4s. For most people, most of the time, the 950 will deliver great results, and good/ok results the rest of the time. A lot of the stuff that has changed in the last several years is addressing the difficult shots: high dynamic range stuff, where something will get washed out on a 950, and portrait photos, where the depth of field information produces the focus on the subject that people like. These are legitimate features: regular point & shoot cameras can often handle this stuff, while smart phone cameras couldn't.
    As I said, the 950 will take great pictures most of the time. Higher end smartphone cameras have been "good enough" for several years. the Zoom, HDR, DoF stuff is filling out the edges of the capability beyond what 95% of users actually use.
  • No, but the 950 can take a 16MP pic i. 16:9.. That's the difference
  • Are you still confusing megapixels with picture quality?
  • Dan, why do you look like Ted Bundy in every single one of your photos?
  • I think he looks more like a young Jeff Goldblum
  • I think he looks like Dan.
  • We think you're boring😊
  • No, they'll abandon it in 2 years. It can work for me since I have GigaFiber 1000/1000 with 2ms, but the people down the street can't get anything over 25/25.