19 November 2019 12:37
Even if you set aside all the latency complications, the visual makeup of games on Stadia seemingly won't convince anyone to make the jump. As you've probably seen by now from all the Stadia reviews, the service is not ready for primetime. Aside from launch day problems and missing features, some of the biggest games don't look like they're running on powerful hardware. Stadia uses a 2.7GHz CPU and a 10.7 teraflop GPU, which puts it well ahead of Xbox One X, for example. This is how, many assumed, Google would be able to deliver on its 4K 60fps promise, at least at console-quality visuals.
In its technical review, Digital Foundry noted that Red Dead Redemption 2 renders at a 1440p resolution upscaled to 4K on Chromecast Ultra. At that resolution, the game runs at 30fps, meaning it's already below what Google said we should expect. While the outlet has yet to examine the visuals in greater detail, this is already inferior to the experience on Xbox One X, let alone PC. Playing Red Dead Redemption 2 in a Chrome browser, which is capped to 1080p at launch, the game runs at 60fps. As Digital Foundry points out, this means that performance modes do exist, but may be locked to lower resolutions.
The game's PC version is among the most optimised, so a system with Stadia's hardware would easily beat Xbox One X's visuals, resolution, and run at 60fps. The Verge said the 4K stream on Chromecast Ultra is just an upscaled 1080p image, though it is running at 60fps. As for image quality, Bungie said the Stadia version uses the PC's equivalent of medium settings. Reviews praised the input delay and the quality of Google's compression, so it's not clear why games aren't running at maximum fidelity – given the hardware. Google's game-streaming platform Stadia has launched - and is being immediately criticised for the lag affecting services. Gamers are finding that the process of communicating with Google's servers where the games are being run is adding significant delays between when they press a button and when that action is carried out in-game. Google was certainly aware of the damage which a lot of lag would do to the platform before it launched. Its vice president of engineering Madj Bakar even claimed that Stadia games could actually perform more quickly than those being run on a console or a PC. Destiny 2 on Google Stadia is lit pic.twitter.com/6QSm0oaCcY — jezzle (@JezCorden) November 19, 2019 Performing the computation remotely introduces significant technical challenges which gamers are particularly sensitive to, especially latency. Latency - the delay between a player pressing a button and that action being carried out in the game - is a critical for online games when reaction speed is a factor. And if the delay is too great it makes even single-player gaming a gruelling experience. Here's a Mortal Kombat Stadia cutscene recorded on my TV (sry for quality) so you can see the kind of stuttering and sync issues I'm talking about pic.twitter.com/OzmOPraZgh — Paul Tassi (@PaulTassi) November 18, 2019 Reviewers have noted that the video quality, which will decrease in order to provide a quicker service, is regularly dropping to 720p - in some cases making cutscenes choppy and unsynchronised with the video, prompting a handful of jokes on social media too. Some of this is outside of Google's control. Internet speeds will vary for users, and data allowances might be prohibitive for players wanting to stream to Pixel phones. The requirement for internet access might also frustrate players in residences with limited bandwidth too - and some images posted to social media suggest that the troubleshooting advice for players is to not use their internet connections for any other activities while playing. Image: Google's Majd Bakar said Stadia could be even faster than console gaming Google could be underappreciating the demands it has placed on its committed data centres - but some users are encountering very different services depending on whether they are playing on PC or Pixel phone. A spokesperson for Google told Sky News: "The overall Stadia system design is focused on low latency game play. here is my Google Stadia review in one GIF. pic.twitter.com/qexEv6vyUD — Gene Park (@GenePark) November 18, 2019 here's the thing: Google Stadia worked WONDERS and almost perfectly when tested on a Google Pixel 3a XL. this thing is a freak of nature, but Google Stadia is now the most powerful way to game on mobile. pic.twitter.com/p3kNH6d59V — Gene Park (@GenePark) November 18, 2019 "We achieve this through the overall architecture and detailed design of the Cloud, endpoints, and input devices like the Stadia controller. "By connecting through WiFi, the Stadia controller delivers the lowest latency solution for Stadia as it connects directly to the Cloud. "Additionally, we saw great results with Project Stream and have been optimistic about our continued work around minimising lag concerns even further. "We are working on lowering the end to end latency with our scaled deployment including streaming algorithms and proprietary hardware. Image: Stadia will work with a single controller across any screen Bruce Grove, the chief executive and co-founder of Polystream - and formerly the head of engineering at OnLive, a company which previously attempted to develop a cloud-based gaming service before it was acquired by Sony - broke down the figures for Sky News. "Google suggests that it will have a potential customer base of hundreds of millions from day one across North America and Western Europe - but how many of those can play or access the service at the same time? "For example, all 1.5 million Nintendo players at the launch of the Switch could play instantly, whereas we don't know how many players can do that with Stadia. "We know that if cloud gaming solutions continue to only offer to replace your console, (we know) that it means putting a GPU in the cloud per player, and that's really expensive. "In fact that number of GPUs - Graphics Processing Units - in the cloud simply doesn't exist.