In the latest development of Stadia’s beleaguered launch, Google is pointing the finger at developers for breaking game performance promises.
Since launch last week, both critics and players have reported that not all games are running at 4K resolution with 60 frames per second, despite promotional promises suggesting otherwise.
A case in point is the absurd Stadia launch trailer hammering home the point. Google VP and GM, Phil Harrison, even explicitly confirmed that all games would support 4K/60 fps at launch in a tweet last month.
Despite these assurances, real-world performance doesn’t live up.
Games like flagship launch titles Red Dead Redemption 2 and Destiny 2, are rendered at 1080p or 1440p before being up-scaled to 4K. The stream may be in 4K, courtesy of the Chromecast Ultra (with its very own overheating controversy), but Google’s server hardware isn’t pushing out native 4K/60 fps.
Google has now responded with the following statement. The company points to how developers opted to ship the Stadia version of their games. The reality of Stadia’s current capabilities appears to be at odds with Google’s promises.
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 frame rate on Stadia and we are impressed with what they have been able to achieve for day one.
Nevertheless, there are reasons to be optimistic. Google expects developers to up the performance of their games moving forward, as the statement reads.
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.
Google is conveniently passing the buck to developers rather than recognizing that it’s marketing team is responsible for overselling Stadia. This does little assuage a growing sense of resentment among early adopters.