Stadia 4K web streaming in Chrome starting to rollout for some users

Google Stadia’s launch in November of last year was less than perfect. Many promised features were missing, including the ability to stream at 4K through Google Chrome. Fortunately, it seems like at least some Stadia subscribers are getting the chance to use something other than the bundled Chromecast Ultra for 4K. It appears that Google is soft-launching Stadia 4K streaming in Chrome to at least some customers.

Google previously announced that it was targeting 4K web support in Q1 of 2020. However, the lack of a definitive roadmap left users guessing on when it would come. According to a Tweet on the official Stadia account, the rollout process has already started for some players and should extend over the services population over the next few months.

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The Stadia community blog that announced the Chrome 4K rollout also stated that the following would be coming in Q1 2020:

  • Further Assistant functionality when playing on the web.
  • Support for additional Android phones.
  • PC wireless support for the Stadia controller

Almost four months after launch, Stadia isn’t exactly the industry disruptor that Google claimed it would be. The controller only works wirelessly with the Chromecast Ultra included in the Founder’s Edition, and 4K streaming is too limited to the Chromecast. Few titles have been released so far, and besides the one exclusive, GYLT, they’re all available on other platforms, often for a lower price.

Google has claimed that the onus is on publishers to hype up their releases on Stadia. However, the argument can be made that the platform just isn’t that exciting. The Pixel line is still the only line of phones compatible with Stadia, and iOS support has barely been mentioned. Most players who would be interested in game streaming aren’t enthusiastic about paying full price for older titles that they can play on a very limited range of hardware.

We’ll see how Stadia develops during 2020, but without some significant changes, the service isn’t going to attract the large userbase that is needed to make a venture like this profitable.