One of the major selling points for Stadia Pro, the premium subscription tier for Google's new game streaming platform, is that it will allow users to play games at 4K resolution and 60 FPS if their internet connections allow for it. Early inspection of Stadia titles has shown that, for now, that simply isn't happening. A new analysis of Red Dead Redemption 2 on Stadia, one of the most graphically intensive titles on the platform, indicates that Stadia currently won't deliver the title at either a native 4K resolution or a stable 60 FPS.
Digital Foundry's Alex Battaglia tested the Stadia version of Red Dead Redemption 2 and measured both its "Pro" 4K and "Balanced" 1080p modes and discovered they respectively render at 1440p at 30 FPS and 1080p targeting 60 FPS. In practice, if Stadia detects that your connection can accommodate the high bandwidth usage of a "Pro" stream, you have a choice between an upscaled 4K stream at a lower frame rate or a native 1080p stream that targets 60 FPS but frequently dips down.
Resolution and frame rate aside, Battaglia notes that video compression has a significant impact on Red Dead Redemption 2's overall visual quality on both stream settings, something he found especially noticeable in the first chapter. "A lot of the edges in general look decidedly less soft and fuzzy [on "Pro"] in comparison to that 1080p stream," says Battaglia, but "the larger video compression artifacts will of course remain, so that general macroblocking and color banding is still there."
While the graphical fidelity of Red Dead Redemption 2 may suffer on Stadia, the service did do all right under Digital Foundry's latency testing (which it also fared well-enough in earlier this year). On the "Balanced" 1080p stream, Stadia's input latency measured 29 milliseconds longer than that of a PC at 60 FPS (triple buffered) while it came in at 50 milliseconds faster than an Xbox One X running the game locally.
Digital Foundry's broader analysis of Stadia's fidelity and performance at launch also found Destiny 2 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider rendering below 4K on "Pro" streams. Combined with this deep dive into Red Dead Redemption 2, it seems as though Google's game streaming service has yet to deliver its promised performance, even under ideal conditions. For more on Stadia, be sure to read Mike's review and his assessment of Stadia's performance in less-than-ideal connection settings.