Google Stadia is not delivering on the promises of 4K game streaming that were made ahead of the launch, according to a lawsuit filed in the New York Federal Court and a report by 9to5Google.
Stadia 4K streaming
Google's game streaming service, Stadia, shows potential but it has had a rough start. Ahead of the launch in November 2019, the company made some big promises about Stadia's technical capabilities including support for 4K60 – and later 8K120.
- "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, Vice President and GM for Google Stadia, said in October 2019.
However, "Google made false and misleading claims concerning the streaming quality of Stadia’s service in order to generate increased revenue for the Google Stadia division", the lawsuit alleges. While Stadia is capable of streaming games in 4K60, games are often rendered at lower resolution and upscaled.
On the other hand Google at its Stadia launch event said "up to 4K". The same statements are found on the Stadia website in reference to the 'Stadia Pro' subscription package.
Google Stadia launch even in March 2019. Photo: Google's livestream
The lawsuit was originally filed in New York in October 2020 and has moved to the New York Federal Court.
Like Google, it is not uncommon for companies to advertise their gaming solutions as 4K capable even if it involves some level of dynamic adjustment or upscaling. Microsoft and Sony have been doing it for years. Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro in particular typically fall short of 4K, rendering games at lower internal resolution before applying upscaling. PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X hit closer to the mark but still fail to deliver consistent 4K gaming at times.
The lawsuit could still be dismissed but it is an example of the growing frustration over Stadia. Most recently, Google abruptly shut down its Stadia game studio. The Stadia service is still online but some users fear that Google may abandon the project and leave users without access to their library of purchased games.
- Source: Classaction.org via 9to5Google