With Stadia preparing to announce launch, pricing, and game information tomorrow at its first-ever Stadia Connect event, and with the recent rumor that it will be announcing Destiny 2 as one of its launch titles, it raises the question of how the service plans to handle PvP content with potential issues like latency, which could cause big problems for players who are engaged in online play against others.
Though this wouldn't necessarily be limited to game like Destiny 2 as there are countless others with multiplayer modes, Destiny 2 is so far the only game that's been mentioned in Stadia's lineup. Even though it's not official yet as there's been no confirmation from either Stadia or Bungie, latency problems could be a hurdle for Stadia to climb when it comes to Destiny 2's (and other multiplayer games') PvP content.
PvP or, Player vs Player, is the term that refers to modes in which players face off against other players in a live match. For Destiny 2 PvP content revolves around the Crucible, which includes a selection of different match types for players to engage in, including quick play, private matches, competitive play, and one additional match type that sticks around on a weekly basis before rotating to a new match type the following week.
All of these match types offer high-energy content in which players pride themselves on winning, and although many players are good sports even in the face of a loss, it can still be a little bit frustrating when losses happen. It would be even more frustrating if the reason for that loss was latency with the platform you're playing on.
Latency is an issue that all online gaming has to deal with, but it could be more of a problem with online games that are played over cloud game streaming services such as Stadia. There are obviously other factors at play that will dictate your own personal experience with such a service and playing online PvP games.
Stronger network connections and using something like a 5GHz wireless router as opposed to a router with only 2.4GHz network connectivity should provide a better experience with less input lag, and being closer to the server for the cloud gaming service that you're connecting to would also have an affect on your experience and whether there was less input lag or more.
You could even argue that the device you're playing on could alter the experience as well. For example, you might have variable latency with online gameplay through Stadia when playing the game on a computer as opposed to a compatible mobile device. There's also the issue of what peripherals you're using to control your character, though this might be less of a problem with Stadia since using the service can be done with the Stadia controller regardless of the device you're playing on.
Google promises the service will work on internet speeds as slow as 15Mbps, and that the Stadia controller will provide the best experience thanks its built-in WiFi and capability to connect directly to the Stadia data center. The service will also support just about any controller which HID though, and these might be less optimized for handling gameplay, which is one area where latency and input lag might become more of a problem.
It's tough to currently know how big of an issue latency might be with Stadia in regards to PvP content. The service is not yet available and until Google announces more details there's no information on what hardware Stadia will be running on, which will play into how much input lag there is for players.
Google of course could share this information at Stadia Connect alongside all the other details it has confirmed it will be announcing, but even then there are still other variables to take into consideration. Whatever Stadia is running on now in its current unreleased state could change by the time it's made available for consumers, and even with that information that doesn't tell you how it will actually feel when playing it yourself.
Experiences will vary, no doubt about that, as there will most certainly be people playing with a wide variety of internet connections and controllers and mouse/keyboard combos, and players who tend to engage in more casual PvP content may notice any potential input lag less than those that tend to engage in competitive play.
Regardless of all that, Google will probably be doing its best to minimize any difference in experiences so there's a fair and pleasant experience for anyone that wants to give Stadia a try, and who knows, any issues that could arise might receive quick treatment for a fast turnaround. A lot remains to be seen.
With that said, latency and input lag is something that players may have to deal with when it comes playing games that have PvP-based content, and although the team behind Stadia has surely thought of this, these types of questions won't truly be answered until players have a chance to get their hands on the service and test things out for themselves.