Google respond after complaints that Stadia games are not running in true 4K

Shortly after Stadia went live Digital Foundry did some technical analysis on a few games running on the platform and uncovered some concerning problems. Red Dead Redemption 2 does stream in 4K to Google’s new platform but the game is being rendered in 1080p or 1440p and is then upscaled to 4K,

“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),” noted .

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Destiny 2 has the same issue, rendered in 1080p and then upscaled to 4K. Google have always promised 4K gaming with graphics that would thrash any of the current consoles so what is going on? Well it seems that Google is, technically, telling the truth, the games are streaming in 4K, but the developers of the games have yet to find a way to make them run in true 4K on the Stadia rendering hardware.

Google have released the following statement.

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.

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.

That does seem a bit of a cop out, everything from Google before launch suggested the games were running in true 4K. Phil Harrson, ex-Xboxer and now Vice President and GM of Google, tweeted this prior to launch.

Some owners of Stadia are also reporting that the hardware, Google Chromecast, is overheating. This issue has been raised before by Chromecast owners but Google say there is no problem.

“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,” stated a Google community manager. “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.”

Source: Eurogamer / Digital Foundry 

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4 Comments

  1. It’s pretty slimy to sell your system on 4k but then have none of the games actually render that way. They’d be getting a lot less crap if they were just honest about things from the beginning.

    • You mean like how Sony and Microsoft do for the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X?

      Yes, a shade more honest that the PS4 Pro would use checkerboarding and the devs would be free to use the power as they saw fit, but they both big up their 4K credentials.

  2. Ouch. Aren’t companies usually sued or get fines for telling blatant lies about their products? But, it’s not the first time Evil Google gets caught like that, so they should know the drill.

    • Technically they are not telling porkies, Stadia is outputting 4K. It’s just that’s what been fed in to it is not 4K.

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