Google addresses criticisms over Stadia's 4K performance

Humza

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Google wasn't expecting to hit a home run with Stadia but rather usher in a new era of game streaming that eventually makes a case for itself in the video games industry. Right now, that case is seemingly possible only in brief moments with the service when it magically allows for games to instantly switch across supported devices.

However, with Stadia already missing out on some important features on arrival, developer concerns over Stadia's fate, and a limited launch library, Google has been recently facing more criticism over how it marketed Stadia's gameplay quality to what has been the case post-launch.

As noted last week by 9to5Google, the quality of games on Stadia leaves much to be desired as the service doesn't support true 4K resolution for all launch titles as previously committed by Google.

Destiny 2 on Stadia, for instance, renders at 1080p and then gets upscaled to improve visual quality that's equivalent to a PC version running at medium settings, a Bungie rep told The Verge.

Similarly, Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2 also doesn't play in true 4K and renders at either 1080p or 1440p resolution which is then upscaled to 4K on the Chromecast Ultra.

Digital Foundry's usual in-depth analysis resulted in the following comments:

Perhaps there's something more we're not seeing behind the compression but from a technical perspective, Red Dead 2 on Stadia doesn't seem to be delivering on key marketing promises - certainly not the spirit of them at least. At the reveal, we were told that Stadia's GPU has the power of Xbox One X and PS4 Pro graphics combined, yet RDR2 on Stadia only has 44 per cent of the X's rendering resolution, while even the 4.2TF PS4 Pro GPU is generating a higher pixel-count (even before factoring in its checkerboarding upscale). Stadia's GPU seems to be an offshoot of AMD's RX Vega 56 based on its specs, yet in 1080p mode, performance is more in line with the PC version running on a much less capable RX 570 or RX 580.

Google has responded to these criticisms saying that "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."

The company added that for the best streaming experience, Stadia uses "a variety of techniques to achieve the best overall quality." as can be seen on "all platforms." It also said that developers have been given the freedom on "how to achieve the best image quality and frame rate on Stadia" and that the company is impressed with what they [devs] 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," hinting that upgrades made to Stadia ports would boost their performance over time "without the need for game patches or downloads" for end-users.

Elsewhere, several Stadia users have raised issues with the Chromecast Ultra dongle, which is getting "extremely hot" during streaming sessions and lasts between 10 or 20 minutes for some players before losing connectivity and/or shutting down.

A community manager from Google responded that "there is no thermal overheating issue with Chromecast Ultra," adding that the device may get warm during normal usage (like watching cat videos on YouTube), but that's working as designed.

"The team has done extensive testing on the hardware, services and games—this includes tests of long Stadia play and video sessions—and have not seen thermal shutdown problems," she added.

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Toju Mikie

TS Addict
I knew the "4k" was too good to be true. The game is being played on a video card that isn't even capable of 4k. This is what happens when you overpromise and underdeliver. We saw it coming. It should have still been in beta until it is ready.
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
I stand by my prediction that in the long run the buying public will reject any service that requires memberships or "pay to play" services. Coming up short as they have will only speed the rejections ...
 

RaXoR

TS Maniac
I stand by my prediction that in the long run the buying public will reject any service that requires memberships or "pay to play" services. Coming up short as they have will only speed the rejections ...
Depends on which kind of service you are referring to. Stadia requires you to purchase the game and then pay an extra $10 a month to play it at "4k." So yeah, this will fail in the end.

Services like xbox game pass however, will not fail. It's already successful and a much better system. Bigger library and definitely worth the $5 to $10 to get the sub for PC.



Also, unrelated to the reply: I saw this blunder coming a mile away. Google has no clue what they are doing. They obviously lied and are still lying. Claiming that the Stadia is streaming 4k 60 period yet there is strong evidence against it while also rejecting the claims that the chromecasts are overheating... yeah they're digging themselves in a hole. They've already lost customer confidence, they're simply in the process of adding more nails to the coffin in which Stadia will be buried. RIP Stadia 2019-2019
 

lipe123

TS Evangelist
Why did they even promote/promise 4K?!

It's so dumb, just to stream 4K requires a TON of bandwidth already. I'm pretty sure most people don't have internet that works well enough.

Then you're using a chromecast on wifi, so once again no bandwidth. People may think their 5ghz wifi is amazeballs but lets face it. Wifi sucks a decent amount at the best of times unless you spend a fortune on it.
 

RaXoR

TS Maniac
Why did they even promote/promise 4K?!

It's so dumb, just to stream 4K requires a TON of bandwidth already. I'm pretty sure most people don't have internet that works well enough.

Then you're using a chromecast on wifi, so once again no bandwidth. People may think their 5ghz wifi is amazeballs but lets face it. Wifi sucks a decent amount at the best of times unless you spend a fortune on it.
The problem with wifi is latency. Bandwidth-wise, it isn't bad as long as the router is no older than 5 years old. Even cheaper routers support both 2.4 and 5.0 ghz and can transfer 200mbps+ on each frequency.
 

lipe123

TS Evangelist
They did latency tests on gamersnexus on stadia and tbh it's perfectly fine for casual gamers.

The topic here is 4K though, at 1080p the system works pretty decent (for casual gamers).
4K is stupid marketing lingo. It's too expensive, too massive and offers almost no benefit over a decent 1440p monitor.

Up to 200 mbs in a faraday cage at 1 cm away from the router.. maybe.
Advertised speeds and real speeds vary immensely.
If you live in a city you also have interference from up to 6 neighbours routers.
The router is just 50% of the picture, the receiving device (chromecast/etc) has to talk back to it also.

I worked in the rural wifi business for a few years and even fancy long distance focussed wifi devices are troublesome. Home routers is just a total mess. You might get decent results with a very expensive mesh setup but even those are crappy. They recently tested a bunch of them here on Techspot.