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Google Stages is the future of games, and it's bad news for the earth

Daven Mathies / Digital Trends You would have trouble finding Google's data center in The Dalles, Oregon if someone did not "t point it out at you. The complex is not small &#821 1; it takes up to 800,000 square feet, just a little less than 14 football pitches – but the nasty silver-and-beige building doesn't scream" high tech "unless you already know what you [19659004] The biggest giveaway is not what you see, but what you do not do.The undeclared data centers do not easily give away the owner, and you will not see loaded trucks passing through the facility's gates Columbia Road, a two-phase piece of curbs in the heart of the complex, are among the precious few streets that you cannot visit through Google Street View. Google's Data Center in The Dalles, Oregon Daven Mathies / Digital Trends Google's data center in The Dalles, Oregon Daven Mathies / Digital Trends Power lines connected to Google's data center in The Dalles, Oregon Daven Mathies / Digital Trends Power lines connected to Google's data center in The Dalles, Oregon Daven Mathies / Digital Trends Anonymous data centers like this will run Google Stages, the company's deep expansion in gaming. The company proudly spoke of the platform's many benefits to players and game developers at the GDC 2019 message. If it catches on, it will effectively kill the home console and physical games, replacing them with the cloud. Every game you own will live in the cloud, available from anywhere…

Daven Mathies / Digital Trends

You would have trouble finding Google’s data center in The Dalles, Oregon if someone did not “t point it out at you. The complex is not small &#821

1; it takes up to 800,000 square feet, just a little less than 14 football pitches – but the nasty silver-and-beige building doesn’t scream” high tech “unless you already know what you [19659004] The biggest giveaway is not what you see, but what you do not do.The undeclared data centers do not easily give away the owner, and you will not see loaded trucks passing through the facility’s gates Columbia Road, a two-phase piece of curbs in the heart of the complex, are among the precious few streets that you cannot visit through Google Street View.

Anonymous data centers like this will run Google Stages, the company’s deep expansion in gaming. The company proudly spoke of the platform’s many benefits to players and game developers at the GDC 2019 message. If it catches on, it will effectively kill the home console and physical games, replacing them with the cloud. Every game you own will live in the cloud, available from anywhere with an Internet connection, playable on any device. The goal is no less than a reconstruction of the entire video game industry.

The stage can be good for players who cannot afford the latest hardware. Nevertheless, the way we play will change unintentionally. Google’s stage is the future of games and it’s bad news for Earth views from dallesport wa “/> Google’s data center in The Dalles, Oregon Daven Mathies / Digital Trends

Leading by example

To Google’s credit is its data center in The Dalles undoubtedly the model for what a modern data center should look like. Their location is also part of the company’s strategy. Dalles is a city of less than 16,000 people, an hour and a half east of Portland, Oregon. It does not scream high tech, but it has excellent access to renewable energy.

Oregon is one of the country’s renewable energy leaders, with just over three-quarters of renewable electricity generation.

Gary Cook, Senior IT sector analyst for Greenpeace, says Google is more responsible than many of its peers. “They are one of the few companies that, when working to expand their infrastructure, are trying to provide access to renewable energy where they build these data centers,” Cook says.

Dalle’s data centers are a perfect example. They are located just one mile from The Dalles Dam, one of several hydroelectric power stations located along the Columbia River. Oregon is among the nation’s renewable energy leaders, with over three-quarters of electricity generation coming from renewable sources.

 google stages is the future of games and it's bad news for earth dalles lady Dalles Dam Daven Mathies / Digital Trends

It stands in contrast to Amazon, which also holds a large amount of streaming content from its ever-growing list of facilities.

“Amazon is bright year after them . Amazon’s rapid growth came with a commitment to renewables, and they just left it at the end of 2016,” said Cook, while Google is making efforts to build near renewable energy sources. Amazon encouraged explosive growth in Virginia, where a swarm of new data centers (led by Amazon Web Services) has overwhelmed plans to invest in green energy and spurred demand for cargo gas. [19659004] Renewables are just 4 percent of state energy production. With four facilities currently located in Virginia, Greenpeace’s Click Clean Virginia report estimates that they use a relatively modest 77 megawatts of power per year, however, Amazon has seventeen sites where at least three sites each consume an estimated 1 686 total megawatt per year

Daven Mathies / Digital Trends

Focus on renewable energy is matched with focus on efficiency. Google, like many of its competitors, publishes Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) figures for its data centers quarterly. This measures the extra power consumed in support of each watt that a data center consumes for computation.

The first of the two data centers in The Dalles reached a PUE of 1.11 last quarter while the other newer plant hit a PUE of 1.24. A report published by MDPI’s Energy Journal in 2017 hung the average global data center PUE at 1.8, which means that Google’s data center is much more efficient than most. This is true for all Google data centers, which reached a “fleet wide” PUE of just 1.1 in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Will others follow?

An overview is Google’s commitment to efficient data centers based on renewable energy can calm any concerns over cloud gaming demand for power. The company’s data center is constantly improving efficiency, not just as a moral imperative, but also for saving money.

But Amazon’s decision to resign from renewable efforts acts as a precautionary story. Google’s focus on renewable energy sources and efficiency is voluntary. There is no reason why Google could not escape its commitments.

There’s also nothing to keep a less responsible competitor like Amazon out of the fight. Amazon already has a game engine, called Lumberyard, which is built to work with Amazon Web Services, and the company has a large stake in gaming through its ownership of Twitch. A cloud gaming service would not be a stretch for Amazon. But unless the company listens to its own employees and is hit drastically by a new commitment to environmentally friendly activities, Amazon’s entry into cloud games would be an immediate problem for anyone who hopes to play without leaving a massive carbon footprint.

Although Amazon remains sideways, others will not. Nvidia, Sony and Shadow are among the companies that already have cloud gaming services available, and others will undoubtedly follow their lead. Not all of these companies have Google’s focus on efficiency. In fact, the smallest players will have to rely on data centers for co-location, which rent out services as needed to those who need them or buy computational power from a large industrial player such as Amazon. This can lead to confused web of connections making it difficult to know the effectiveness of a cloud gaming service.

I reached out to Nvidia, Sony and Shadow for this article. Only shadow offered comment. A spokesman for the company said that efficiency is “definitely a factor in choosing a peering partner when looking to expand our data center business.” Shadow also provided efficiency data for three of the colocation data centers with which partners, which averaged a relatively good PUE of 1.44 (not as low as Google, but lower than the industry average). The transparency of the shadow was refreshing. Unfortunately, it is not yet the norm for the industry.

Nvidia and Sony do not make these figures known and have made no public commitments for renewable energy for their cloud services. Sony has a “PlayStation and Environment” page available on the PlayStation site, but it addresses the company’s physical products. And while Google provides some publicly available data center operations, it didn’t comment on this article.

Player Demand

Even the best effort can be for nothing, but because of a huge, undeniable problem. Demand.

Common mobile data has made streaming services like Netflix into bandwidth buttons. Video streaming now accounts for over half of all internet traffic, and some estimates claim that the figure will rise above 80 percent in 2021.

Incredibly, this massive spike has occurred for a decade; Streaming video amounted to 30 percent of global data in 2009 and only 10 percent in 2005. The rapid acceleration of video streaming has not only been caused by the adoption of smartphones globally but also by improved mobile data connections that enabled high quality streaming

 google stages is the future of gaming and Shadow </span></figcaption></figure> <p> 5G is likely to come up before and while mobile devices will benefit greatly from improved bandwidth and lower latency, only more frequent use of streaming services will be incited. "I've seen forecasts go from $ 75 billion to $ 500 billion," said Greenpeace Gary Cook. "It is a much larger ecosystem for internet-connected devices, and especially in streaming, which is expected to lead demand." </p> <p> With Stadia to be launched in 2019, games will become an important player in the explosive growth. No study has evaluated the current bandwidth usage of global game streaming, and no forecasts have been made – but players are legion. Nearly 70 percent of Americans play video games, and most estimates put worldwide players over two billion. </p> <p> Not all players would identify themselves as such. Many play on smartphones, which in turn will benefit greatly from 5G – and that's just for the benefit of the flow. A service like Stadia allows everyone to play high quality games on all devices – even a cheap phone. Unlike a game console, which inevitably targets a harder audience, the Stage includes "Netflix for gaming" cliché. It is designed for mass consumption. </p> <div class=

Extreme estimates of fear of data centers could be 20 percent of all global energy consumption by 2025.

Increased demand will lead to the need for even more data centers and more centers will inevitably drive up power consumption. Industry-wide numbers are alarming. The US data center used over 90 billion kilowatt hours of 2017, with worldwide consumption estimated over 200 terawatt hours. The most extreme estimates of fear of data centers can account for 20 percent of all global energy consumption by 2025.

Part of the increased consumption at data centers can be offset by reduced household consumption. Players who embrace Stadia can decide that they do not need a powerful home scene and instead manage a less capable device, such as a laptop, which draws less power. Nevertheless, the hope that reduced home use will compensate for the effects of cloud games is misplaced. Research shows that streaming entertainment from the cloud uses more energy overall even when it makes the viewer or player slim down their energy use at home.

Dr. Evan Mills, leader of the Green Gaming project and former senior researcher from the US Department of Energy Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, spent years watching it largely neglected the issue of how gaming devices consume energy. He sees some potential in cloud games because the nature of the data centers means “a certain amount of work can be achieved with widespread efficiency. Here, the main potential for energy efficiency is generally, and especially green gambling.” Unfortunately, the possibility of efficiency is offset by a data center’s infrastructure needs. “[…] for identical computing power, cloud gaming will almost always mean significantly more overall energy usage than playing strictly on a local client,” he says.

“Cloud-based gaming is by far the most energy-intensive form of games over the Internet”

A 2018 study published by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory sets the issue a problem. It found that “cloud-based gaming is by far the most energy-intensive type of game over the Internet […]” and that, depending on device and charge, cloud games can increase overall consumption by up to 300 percent. “[19659004] Alarmingly, the biggest gains in total power draw on the most efficient devices. Google prides itself on Stadia, which uses a custom AMD chip, can deliver 10.7 teraflops of total computing power – multiple times that of Microsoft’s Xbox One X. But that device could easily be reached on a Google Pixel phone or Chromecast streaming device, Evans found that it was dramatic in its research and said the “worst case” would actually be a media streaming device (like Nvidia Shield) which only draws 10 watts or so in the home, but still requires many hundred power upstream. “

It represents a tremendous increase in per-session power draw but at the same time gives players reason to believe they make a more responsible decision. The environmental costs are physically moved from a player’s home and to the data center, a place that is closely controlled by the owner and is located many miles away. Players may notice that they use less power at home and establish that cloud games are a win-win.

And not all power goes to make a game in sumptuous detail in the data center. At least part of it also goes to the network needed to drive the data transfer from one data center to your home. The largest technology companies, including Google, have large private networks that specialize in delivering large amounts of data to users. They are very effective. Their reliability and speed enable modern video streaming. But they have their own infrastructure, which also lowers electricity.

 google reveals the stage streaming service gdc news stadium

To Dr. Mills, this is the hidden variable that most people do not consider. “In our calculations for PC cloud, the data center plays about 340 watts per user and the network another 180 watts,” he says.

The exact numbers can change depending on the device used to stream the required network bandwidth, the distance data must travel, the data center’s efficiency driving the cloud game service, and many other factors. There is no way for a user of any streaming service, whether it makes up games, video or anything else, to know how much power the convenience requires.

Only one thing is clean, definite and transparent. The numbers never change in a way that makes cloud games use less power than local games, and there is no clear way to do that.

Making a service easier to access, and demand is often greater than what efficiency can compensate for.

Yes, data centers become more efficient. But to Greenpeace’s Cook, efficiency can become its own form of curse. “Your per unit, per gigabyte energy required to deliver it can go down, but the overall level of consumption continues to rise. And, in fact, it’s going to be significant,” he says. “In some ways, efficiency is more consumable.”

That’s A core issue that spans all human innovation, the stage that video streaming before it, and the worldwide web before, is possible thanks to great efficiency improvements, but making a service easier and cheaper to access requires inevitable demand and it often requires dwarfs cloud efficiency will not be different.

The physical question

Although the effect of the cloud is on the power consumption is easy to calculate, it is also somewhat abstract, the effects of greater power consumption and the greater carbon footprint that comes with it is not clear to see robbery of the data centers, but from power plants that deliver them.

Effect is not the only resource that data centers consume. Many plants require a surprising amount of water. This consumption often comes from cooling towers, such as those found on Google’s data centers in The Dalles, and data centers can indirectly increase water consumption when power plants usually deliver them, require water.

 google stages is the future of games and it's bad news for earth views from river 2 shallow dof Google’s data center in The Dalles, Oregon Daven Mathies / Digital Trends

“Water is something we look at, because in some cases they are “re [data centers] blocking a fair number of water rights to be used to search,” says Cook. “The biggest problem is some of the deals being made where a significant amount of water is allocated to data centers that do not receive much. public discussion. “

In one case, a new Google facility in Berkeley County, South Carolina requested 1.5 million liters of water per day, requests like this are not secret, exactly but they typically pass under the radar, and the communities affected by the query rarely has direct input on whether the request is approved, while the privacy protection helped the process of approving the special request in South Carolina, Google b current permits to use 548 million gallons per year, and requests for more outstanding cases. Most inquiries continue without the public taking note.

“A significant amount of water is allocated to data centers that do not receive much public discussion.”

The Datacenters industry has an efficiency measurement for water, just as it does for power, but the issue has not received so much attention so far, and few companies publish water efficiency figures for their facilities. While water is abundant in some areas, it is much more troubled in places that are exposed to drought, such as California.

Physical waste is another potential problem. Cloud games can reduce physical waste, theoretically, as it can reduce the demand for gaming devices such as consoles and graphics cards. Datacenter has its own hardware, and that hardware often changes.

Google, like in other areas, seems to care more about the environment than its peers. The company uses what is called a “circular economy” model for data center management, which focuses on repair and reuse as much as possible. Excess, broken or obsolete components are sold or recycled as needed. As a result, six of Google’s data centers set up a 100% “deposit deviation” in 2016.

 data center google Google Datacenter Google

As with so much else in the computer industry, it’s unclear how Google will keep this standard ahead. The company does not publish exact figures on how much junk its data centers produce and where it goes and says little about how future plans could change that commitment.

For example, the stage is an obvious problem. Promise of state-of-the-art performance is part of the appeal to players, suggesting that the company often needs to update its servers with advanced hardware. Can it interfere with Google’s commitment to a circular economy?

Raising the reality of the virtual

Cloud game ultimately leads to an uncomfortable question. To what extent are we willing to harm the real world in pursuit of a better virtual future?

I do not have the answer to this question. No one does. Like the rest of the debate on global warming and our environment, the answer is something that both individuals and communities have to decide for themselves.

The real risk of cloud games – and of all forms of streaming – is actually how it hides the issue. Gaming on a local device can remind you of your impact when it comes time to hide your own console, or when you accidentally leave your advanced gaming PC on World of Warcraft’s characters choose screw over night. However, Cloud plays the consequences to a remote location and makes the results opaque.

We should ask for better. We have to. Even a company like Google, which has some respect for the environment, will only be as responsible as we force it to be.

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