It’s no secret that Google Stadia is off to a rough start. Much of the criticism surrounded the delay between Google’s servers and the game. Google has now responded to other recent criticisms over Stadia’s performance at the users’ side. Users have complained of both overheating of their Chromecast Ultra as well as a lack of true 4K as advertised. Here’s what Google had to say.
When streaming Google Stadia to a smart TV, users have to use a device that receives the transmission over Wi-Fi. In the case of the Founder’s Edition of Stadia (the only one out now) that means you’d have to use a Google Chromecast Ultra. The gadget is shipped with a Founder’s Edition purchase.
We know any sort of heat on a device can be worrisome, but we can confirm there is no thermal overheating issue with Chromecast Ultra. During normal usage (like watching cat videos on YouTube), the surface of the device may get warm to the touch, but this is 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.
4K or not?
Another pressing matter revolves around Google Stadia potentially not outputting the promised game quality and resolution. In their review of Stadia, The Verge mentions that Destiny 2 looks a lot less high-definition than it should. “When streaming at 4K, we render at a native 1080p and then upsample and apply a variety of techniques to increase the overall quality of effect,” a Bungie rep said to the tech website in response.
But it gets even worse. According to the Destiny 2 developer, the game runs on the equivalent of medium settings for PC. That’s not what was advertised by Google, as Founder’s Edition-subcribers should have access to the highest game settings.
Digital Foundry discovered something similar while playing Red Dead Redemption 2 via Stadia. Rockstar’s western should be streaming at 4K, but according to the Eurogamer YouTube-channel it sits at around 1080p to 1440p.
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 percent 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).
In a statement to 9to5Google,Google denies it is falsely advertising 4K. According to the multi-billion dollar company there’s a lot of different variables that determine whether a game is streaming in 4K or not.
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 framerate on Stadia and we are impressed with what they have been able to achieve for day one.
While not explicitly giving us a reason, Google suggests that there are a lot of variables that can interfere with the advertised 4K resolution and high quality game settings. But when multiple media outlets experience the same dip in visual and graphical quality, one begins to wonder just how realistic 4K, 60fps, high-definition gaming is at the moment.