Google Stadia’s launch hasn’t gone smoothly. A lackluster library of games and several missing key features soured what was supposed to be Google’s big arrival to the gaming industry last week. Worse still, many of the games simply aren’t running at the true 4K resolution that was promised as a standard feature following Stadia’s initial reveal event.
Destiny 2, for example, is streaming at 1080p, and recent tests performed by Digital Foundry revealed Red Dead Redemption 2 is being upscaled from the same resolution to 1440p. Many other games, too, are well off the mark in terms of reaching the visual fidelity benchmark laid out by Google.
Understandably disappointed customers have since taken to accusing Google of exaggerating Stadia’s performance and misrepresenting its product, which has prompted the company to issue a statement to try and put out the fires.
In a statement issued to 9to5Google, Google essentially offloaded the blame to the developers:
“Stadia streams at 4K and 60 FPS – and that includes all aspects of our graphics pipeline from game to screen: GPU, encoder and Chromecast Ultra all outputting at 4k to 4k TVs, with the appropriate internet connection.
Developers making Stadia games work hard to deliver the best streaming experience for every game. Like you see on all platforms, this includes a variety of techniques to achieve the best overall quality. We give developers the freedom of how to achieve the best image quality and frame rate on Stadia and we are impressed with what they have been able to achieve for day one.
We expect that many developers can, and in most cases will, continue to improve their games on Stadia. And because Stadia lives in our data centers, developers are able to innovate quickly while delivering even better experiences directly to you without the need for game patches or downloads.”
The long and the short of it is that Stadia is capable of delivering 4K resolutions but only if the developers have ensured their ports are designed to do so.
Technically, then, it isn’t Stadia that’s the problem, but you’d have to say it was a very short-sighted decision on the part of Google to promise that all games would run at 4K resolutions when it was out of their hands to begin with.
Ultimately, Stadia customers are not getting the experience they were told they would, and that’s entirely at the fault of Google’s messaging.
While moving forward I’ve no doubt that as the service matures and more developers offer Stadia ports we can expect true 4K to be a standard feature of the platform, but this latest statement definitely reinforces the sentiment that Stadia just isn’t ready for prime time. Right now, it’s a glorified beta and not a serious competitor to conventional gaming platforms.