Google is marketing its Stadia video game service as a cloud gaming technology that could replace the trusty console, but Stadia might have one graphics-related shortcoming that’ll keep it from ousting the next-generation PlayStation 5 or Xbox “Scarlett” consoles from their position as the preferred consumer choice.
Stadia will be powered by Google’s global network of data centers and a specially-made graphics processing unit (GPU), which Majd Bakar, head of engineering for Stadia, claims will be the graphics card to rule them all. That’s because the Stadia graphics chip is said to deliver 10.7 teraflops of power — meaning it can complete 10.7 trillion operations per second.
In the debut of Stadia, Bakar noted that this graphics computer power would be greater than the capabilities the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X —combined. But Sony and Microsoft’s next-gen consoles will both reportedly top Stadia’s GPU, an industry expert tells Inverse.
“Word on the street is that Sony and Microsoft are aiming to be more powerful than Stadia,” Kotaku news editor Jason Schreier tells Inverse. Schreier advises gamers to take his predictions with a grain of salt, since the companies have likely not finalized their upcoming consoles’ specs. He also commented that both companies “are aiming higher than that 10.7 teraflops” in a forum thread Wednesday.
Schreier is a trusted source for industry information and correctly leaked the Fallout 4 setting and game dialogue before the title was released. If he’s right about the PS5 and new Xbox models’ graphics power, Stadia will be top dog only until PS5 or the new Xbox is released in 2020.
To achieve this level of graphics performance, users will need internet speeds of at least 20 to 25 megabits per second. Without the help of high-speed, 5G connectivity players may need to purchase mesh-capable wireless routers to amplify the amplify the Wifi signal inside of their home.
Even with good internet connection, games on Stadia might be subject to input lag if you play them on anything else other than a Stadia controller. That’s because the service would need to be constantly sending every joystick flick and button click to the Stadia servers and then deliver their visual outcomes through the internet. That could result in a stuttering game even for single player games, which has never been a problem for consoles.
Since Sony and Microsoft’s consoles will deal with inputs and graphical processing locally, they won’t require speedy internet to smoothly run single-player games. This could be the defining feature that keeps consoles from being eclipsed by Stadia.
It might have been a little early for Google to make Stadia’s slogan, “the future of gaming is not a box.”