Google Falls At Another Hurdle As Developer Confirms Doom Eternal Will Not Be True 4K On Stadia


Not everyone can afford a beast of a gaming computer that can run the latest games at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second. So when Google announced that their new platform Stadia would be able to bring high-end 4K resolution 60 frames-per-second gaming to the masses, it was a heck of a draw to gamers who have neither the budget nor the space for a gaming computer.

The deal was also great for developers and publishers: with no need to print and ship more physical copies of their games, they simply digitally transfer the final version of their games over to Google and they sell it on to their users for a premium price.

Unfortunately, with its hubris and bravado, Google never seemed to understand its target audience, making promises about stream fidelity that it had to know that it couldn’t deliver, all while expecting its users to pay a premium price for titles they would never physically own.

Since launch, Stadia’s most high-profile titles such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and Destiny 2 also don’t play in true 4k. Instead, they render at 1080p or 1440p and are then upscaled to 4K on a Chromecast Ultra, if your bandwidth can handle it. This means that essentially, Stadia’s 4K mode is actually processing fewer pixels than a PS4 Pro, not even coming close to an Xbox One X or a powerful gaming computer.

Today, id Software confirmed that their highly anticipated title DOOM Eternal will also not run at true 4K 60FPS on Stadia. Instead it will run at 1080p @60 FPS on HD displays and up-sample to 2160p from 1800p @60 FPS on 4K displays.

Admittedly, 1800p upscaled to 4K is better than 1440p upscaled to 4K, but it’s still a blow to the service that specifically touted true 4K performance for DOOM Eternal when they unveiled Stadia at the Game Developers Conference in 2019.

id boss Marty Stratton took to the stage at GDC 2019 to say Doom Eternal would run at “true 4K” – prompting a round of applause form the audience.

“If you’re gonna prove to the world that you can stream games from the cloud, what better proof than Doom? And if you’re gonna prove to a developer that you’re serious about building a robust platform, what better team than iD, where we push every platform to its limit?”

We couldn’t be happier to be bringing Doom Eternal to Stadia, and are thrilled to announce that the game will be capable of running at true 4K resolution, with HDR colour at an unrelenting 60 frames per second.”

Marty Stratton, Executive Producer at id Software

Even though Google Stadia launched with a slew of broken promises and missing features, some of its supporters clung to the idea that true 4K would be coming with DOOM Eternal. Now, even Stadia’s most vehement supporters have expressed their disappointment to the news on Reddit.

“Gotta be the biggest disappointment from Stadia. Advertising 4K60 then not delivering. This game has been developed for Stadia for a while and still nothing. So much for Stadia being soooooo strong.”

BasketballRene on Reddit

The streaming technology behind Stadia is an issue for many owners of the service because it contradicts marketing statements made by Google and its executives in the run up to release, and because Google is locking “up to 4K” resolution behind its £8.99-a-month Stadia Pro subscription.

When they announced Stadia at GDC 2019, Google staff specifically touted – on-stage – that its GPU has more power than Xbox One X and PS4 Pro combined, offering 10.7 GPU teraflops compared to 6.0 GPU teraflops on the Xbox One X or 4.2 GPU teraflops on the PS4 Pro. Yet the reality of the service thus far is that its 4K mode is actually processing fewer pixels than a PS4 Pro.

Ultimately, Google Stadia is a scalable platform that doesn’t rely on asking its users to upgrade their hardware in order to improve their service. However, what is hampering Stadia’s performance right now is far more difficult to rectify – it is the world’s fibre optics infrastructure.

About the Author

Aidan was once a world-class Duck Hunt player before he began a lustrous career as a web developer. To this day his name can be heard spoken in hushed tones in the murky underbelly of the underground competitive Duck Hunt community.

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