Google Stadia will, eventually, be faster and more responsive than games running on local hardware, Google has claimed.
Google’s VP of engineering, Madj Bakar, claimed in a recent interview that the team behind Stadia can see a clear path to overtaking competitors.
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“Ultimately, we think in a year or two we’ll have games that are running faster and feel more responsive in the cloud than they do locally, regardless of how powerful the local machine is,” Bakar told Edge Magazine.
It’s a very bold claim indeed, and the wording hints that things won’t necessarily be perfect straight away − as we found in our hands-on experience with Stadia.
The plus points of Stadia are in its ability to harness power through the cloud, rather than relying on a powerful and expensive console-type machine sat in your front room. This makes buying into Stadia much cheaper than getting hold of a high-end console.
However, being so dependent on your internet connection will raise worries for some gamers in rural and poorly connected areas.
Bakar says that features such as “negative latency” will counteract the typical lag worries of those considering the Stadia platform. This solution can involve increasing FPS or, interestingly, predicting player actions.
Stadia predicting your actions is a revelation and it will be fascinating to see how that system works and whether it has a noticeable effect on cutting latency.
When we went hands-on with Stadia we didn’t encounter any latency issues. However, the same can’t be said for image quality, which seemed to dip in order to maintain a workable connection, like Netflix content does.
Upon turning the camera, environments would appear muddy and artefacts obvious as Google Stadia tried to draw in the image at a 1080p target resolution. Having already played Doom Eternal on a high-end system, the difference was like night and day. Which begs the question, why would someone with a modern console opt for Stadia?
Performance failed to hit the 60fps target we’ve come to expect from id Software’s shooter series, making it harder to keep moving in the chaos of a firefight or fully comprehend the demons slowly surrounding you. I imagine Stadia is perfect for slower-paced genres, like platformers and action-adventure experiences, but with something like DOOM Eternal, visual and performance clarity is paramount.
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Overall Stadia clearly has issues at present and is likely to have issues at launch. It’s intriguing though, to note Bakar’s confidence that the system will overtake its rivals. Seemingly there is market support too, with the Google Stadia Founders Edition having already sold out. back in September.
With PS5 and Xbox 2 revelations coming thick and fast, it will be a heated competition to see which platform becomes a consumer favourite.