Evaluation of Quality of Experience of ABR Schemes in Gaming Stream

Klagenfurt, November 29, 2023

Reza Ebrahimi successfully defended his Master Thesis on “Quality of Experience Evaluation of Stall Events and Quality Switches in Game Streaming“.

Abstract: The exponential growth of computer game streaming has led to the development of Quality of Experience (QoE) metrics to evaluate user satisfaction and enjoyment during online gameplay and live streaming. Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) streaming is a recent technology that has been suggested to improve QoE. This method enhances the streaming experience, upholds visual quality, minimizes stall events, and boosts player retention. It achieves this by estimating network bottlenecks and selecting appropriate versions of the content that best match the available bandwidth rather than adjusting encoding parameters. To investigate the correlation between quality switching and stall events, a subjective test was conducted separately and comparatively with 71 participants. For more detailed and in-depth research, video games were analyzed with the Video Complexity Analyzer (VCA) tool and divided into three categories of different genres, camera view, and temporal complexity heatmap from the two sets of normal and action scenes. This study seeks to shed light on three unresolved issues pertinent to QoE in game streaming: (i) the user preferences towards quality switching and stall events across varied scenes and games, (ii) the user inclinations towards either a single, prolonged stall event or multiple, shorter stall events, and (iii) the impact of conspicuous quality switching on the user’s QoE. Results from the study provided valuable insights, both qualitatively and quantitatively. The study found a marked preference among users for quality switching over stall events across all types of game streaming, irrespective of the scene’s intensity. Furthermore, it was observed that multiple short-stall events were generally favored over a single long-stall event in streaming first-person shooting games. Interestingly, approximately half of the participants remained oblivious to quality switching during their game viewing sessions, and among those who noticed a change in quality, the alteration did not significantly impact their perceived QoE.

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