While many early adopters have been pleased with the convenience and performance of Stadia in its first week, some are arguing that Google's game streaming platform doesn't run games nearly as well as initially claimed. In a new statement, Google reaffirms that Stadia outputs games at 4K and 60 FPS and, in response to observations to the contrary, adds that individual developers are responsible for how their games perform on Stadia.
9to5Google received the new statement from Google in response to an article titled "Google is exaggerating the quality of Stadia's games, and it's not okay." The piece in question points out that Destiny 2 and Red Dead Redemption 2 are both rendered at sub-4K resolutions and upscaled when played via Stadia Pro's 4K, 60 FPS streaming mode. In the new statement, Google claims that Stadia outputs a 4K stream at 60 FPS and attributes differences in resolution and frame rate to the "variety of techniques" developers employ "to achieve the best overall quality" on Google's hardware:
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.
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.
When Stadia was initially revealed in March, Google also published specifications for the hardware that's dedicated to each Stadia user's instance. Touting a GPU with more teraflops of computing power than those of the Xbox One and PS4 Pro combined, plus the ability to add resources to match a game's requirements, many took this to mean that Stadia would render games at native 4K and 60 FPS while also supporting other high-end graphical settings.
In the case of Red Dead Redemption 2, Digital Foundry's analysis of the performance on Stadia determined the 4K, 60 FPS stream actually renders at 1440p and 30 FPS, with graphical settings comparable to those used on Xbox One X. In a discussion of Red Dead Redemption 2's performance on r/Stadia, users were split as to whether the responsibility to deliver games at the promised specs rests on Google or the developers—either way, Stadia isn't rendering key titles at specs to match its video stream output.