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 .
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.
Yes, all games at launch support 4K. We designed Stadia to enable 4K/60 (with appropriate TV and bandwidth). We want all games to play 4K/60 but sometimes for artistic reasons a game is 4K/30 so Stadia always streams at 4K/60 via 2x encode.
— Phil Harrison (@MrPhilHarrison) October 9, 2019
“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.”