The launch of Google Stadia has been anything but smooth sailing.
Now, the company is responding to accusations that they lied to their early adopters about what the expect from the service on day one. On November 24, the website 9to5google called Google out for what it considered to be lies about the performance of Stadia games - specifically with the claims of reaching 4K resolution and 60 frames per second.
One of the biggest offenders of a lack of promised quality was Destiny 2, which has been noted by reviewers around the world as looking considerably worse than all other playable options. The Verge notes how when they attempted to stream at 4K, the rendering was at a native 1080p.
Speaking to Bungie directly, the Verge was informed that this was the developer’s intention, whereby streaming at 4K was instead rendering 1080p with upsampling and techniques used to make the quality somewhat better, making the game look like the PC version on about medium settings.
Eurogamer was next to post their own findings, and Red Dead Redemption 2 was the problem this time around. Despite 4K output coming from the Chromecast Ultra, the game would not render at that resolution, only lower. On top of that, despite claiming to be running at 30 frames per second, they were only able to capture 30 frames per second. Games Industry posted the following comparison for Tomb Raider, equally disappointed in the resolution of the Stadia.
A spokesperson for Google responded to the concerns, telling 9to5google that they give the developers completely control of how they choose to present their best image quality. The spokesperson stated, "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.”
Ultimately the response will do little to satisfy the early adopters who paid for one promised version of the Stadia but have instead received another with what amounts to a passing of responsibility in their response.
Right now, Google Stadia has an image problem because it has an actual problem in delivering on the promised made in the lead up to the product launch. Google clearly has the resources to weather a long storm of criticism and negative reaction if they so choose, but it seems like being more honest about the Stadia’s launch as being more of a beta testing period that founders paid upwards of $130 for would go a long way towards repairing its reputation.
The longer Google continues to make grand claims of the Stadia’s capabilities while not being able to deliver, the harder it will be for consumers to accept or trust anything Google has to say on the matter.