Not even Doom Eternal will run at 4K on Google Stadia

Ultra HD 4K was one of the major promises that Google laid out for its Stadia cloud-gaming service at last year’s Game Developers Conference. Now, developer id Software is backpedaling on its claims of supporting that resolution on the platform.

While Doom is going to hit at 60 frames per second on Stadia, it’s not going to reach a true 4K (2160p) resolution. Instead, it’s going to rely on upscaling.

Here’s publisher Bethesda Softworks on Doom Eternal’s Stadia specs:

“Doom Eternal on Stadia will run at 1080p @60 FPS on HD displays and up-sample to 2160p from 1800p @60 FPS on 4K displays.”

That is a significant compromise — although it likely isn’t a devastating one for Doom Eternal on Stadia. But it’s another indicator of how developers are struggling to squeeze all of the potential power out of Google’s remote server hardware.

And this is not a problem that studios were anticipating. As part of Stadia’s GDC 2019 rollout, id promised full 4K for Doom Eternal.

“We couldn’t be happier to be bringing Doom Eternal to Stadia,” id director Marty Stratton said. “[And we] are thrilled to announce that the game will be capable of running at true 4K resolution with HDR color at an unrelenting 60 frames per second.”

Stadia players will get the 60 FPS and the HDR. But Doom Eternal is coming up short of “true 4K.”

Of course, the question is now “why?” What is causing these difficulties? Google claims that Stadia has 10.7 teraFLOPS of GPU power. By comparison, the Xbox One X has only 6 teraFLOPS. But this reveals how unreliable the teraFLOPS number is. When it comes to real-world performance, the ease of optimization and development tools are far more important than raw potential.

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