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Google says developers need to address Stadia resolution issues

Stadia (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Google Stadia is a game streaming service that launched last week.
  • Google claims that all games run at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second (FPS) on the system, but that's not the case.
  • Digital Foundry uncovered that Destiny 2 was 1080p 60 FPS and Red Dead Redemption 2 was 1440p 30 FPS on Chromecast Ultra.
  • Google says that it gives developers freedom when it comes to choosing the resolution and frame rate.

A few days ago, reports emerged that games like Destiny 2 and Red Dead Redemption 2 weren't running at 4K resolution on Google Stadia. We were able to verify this and discovered that Destiny 2 was rendering at 1080p 60 frames per second (FPS) and Red Ded Redemption 2 was at 1440p 30 FPS. This was from the Chromecast Ultra which the company promised would deliver a 4K 60 FPS experience with the right bandwidth.

It seems like there was a lot of confusion about whether Stadia would support 4K resolution for all games. Last month, Stadia's Phil Harrison said that the platform was designed to support 4K 60 FPS games, but if a game was sometimes 4K 30 FPS, it would stream it at 4K 60 FPS by possibly reencoding the image. You can look at the statement from October below.

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Now that we know that all games aren't 4K 60 FPS on Stadia, Google has issued another statement saying that it gives developers complete freedom. If that's the case and the company isn't mandating 4K 60 FPS, it shouldn't advertise Stadia as a 4K 60 FPS service. The image quality you get on an Xbox One X is far superior. You can read the statement below Eurogamer compiled.

Stadia streams at 4K... 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.

This is essentially putting the blame on developers. It's unclear what the issue is here, but it may be related to the development tools and the server setup. Do developers need to overhaul their games to support a multi-GPU model? We can only speculate at this point. Hopefully, Google will provide more information soon.

Are you playing Stadia on a 4K TV? What do you think about the image quality? Let us know.

  • Why wouldn't it be the developers responsibility to ensure that their game runs well on every platform it is available? Does Microsoft or Sony optimize the games for the developers? Why would we expect Google to? NVidia and AMD do some minor optimizations for many games through drivers but they don't overhaul the game for a new platform. That of course is on the developers. Its surprising that many of these games run as well as they do given that every game except Gylt is a port from another platform that likely has many optimizations left to do. That said, Google should have been more clear that 4k 60fps wasn't a mandate for the developers but just what the streaming portion of the service will attempt to output even if it has to upscale or double encode.
  • I have kept up with the news and seen all of the negative press for Stadia, but I have to be totally honest, that has not been my experience so far. Both Stadia and xCloud have performed very well for me up to this point. I understand that I have a great internet signal and speed as well, but I have thrown everything at them (including streaming Disney+ on one tv, YouTube TV on another, while playing Mortal Kombat 11 on another tv and Stadia performed flawlessly). I know this is just another comment in the comment section, but I wish I could connect with others who having a positive experience like me and loving the future of gaming.
  • Stadia does exactly what I want. I get to play a game on my TV with minimal investment and I can switch playing between TVs, I have 2 year old Chromecast Ultra that works great with Stadia, or a web browser effortlessly. I have twice seen a video stutter, but over 20 hours of playtime that's not bad.