It looks like Google is stealthily rolling out 4K web browser support for its Stadia cloud gaming service.
Although the tech giant has yet to issue an official statement confirming the new functionality, users on the Stadia subreddit report the ability to stream games in 4K on Google’s Chrome browser.
In the “Connection” portion of the in-game menu, players are now seeing data usage described as “Best Visual Quality 4K.”
It appears not all Stadia subscribers are benefiting from the new feature, though. It’s only available to a portion of those that have broadband connections that the service deems “Excellent.” Per the Stadia help portal, users need a network speed of at least 35 Mbps to pick up the rating and play in 4K.
That’s not to say it won’t extend to all users in due course, but as it stands, Google seems to have opted for an incremental approach. The stealthy nature of the rollout may be Google testing the waters before an official launch in the days or weeks ahead.
The new 4K feature also appears limited to those with 4K monitors. This raises questions over how Google will approach downscaling 4K for users without compatible monitors. Should Stadia fail to accommodate these users, then the promise of 4K takes another hit.
Until now, Google only offered 4K support on compatible TVs hooked up to a Chromecast Ultra. By introducing 4K, Stadia delivers another feature promised for Q1 2020 in a road-map published in January. Mid-way through last month, Google rolled out support for 19 Samsung, ASUS, and Razer smartphones.
Google’s marketing promise of 4K60 remains a contentious issue. A significant portion of games on Stadia either don’t support 4K or run at 1080p/1440p upscaled to 4K.
In very public fashion, Google placed the blame on developers.
Aside from today’s news, it’s been a busy week for Stadia as Google unveiled a second first-party studio based in Los Angeles. Led by former Santa Monica Studio director Shannon Studstill, the Playa Vista studio will focus on creating new IPs exclusively for the console.
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