Google, Bungie, id Software all under fire in a new Stadia lawsuit

One day Google might catch a break with their cloud gaming service Stadia but it’s not now and perhaps rightfully so in this case. There’s a new proposed class action lawsuit filed by a New York resident over the streaming quality and display resolution on Stadia.

As pick up initially by ClassAction, the lawsuit doesn’t just involve Google. They’re taking aim at Bungie and id Software claiming they all mislead players about the expected resolution when getting people to pay upfront for the Founder’s Edition and Premier Edition bundles that came with the Stadia Controller and a Chromecast Ultra.

The lawsuit was originally filed in October 2020, with it only recently being moved from Queens County Superior Court to the New York federal court on February 12 so it’s all still ongoing and these things tend to take plenty of time.

The problem is with how it was all initially advertised, when Google went on to claim how Stadia was “more powerful than both Xbox One X and Playstation 4 Pro combined” according to the lawsuit and that “all of the video games on the Google Stadia platform would support 4k resolution at launch”. Interestingly, the lawsuit seems to indicate that the free $10 / £10 that Google give away on Stadia was as a result of “months of settlement negotiations” which is the first I’ve heard of.

Not only that, the lawsuit alleges that customers were basically Beta testers prior to the launch of the free version of Stadia that anyone can now sign up for (with Stadia Pro now being optional).

As someone who picked up the Founder’s Edition, I can definitely agree with it feeling like we were all Beta testing for a wider roll out, and clearly Google’s advertisement and marketing was far too hyped up and full of hot air about the expected quality and resolution for Stadia games. It definitely doesn’t help when Google’s Phil Harrison, replied to people on Twitter to further hype up the quality:

Yes, all games at launch support 4K. We designed Stadia to enable 4K/60 (with appropriate TV and bandwidth). We want all games to play 4K/60 but sometimes for artistic reasons a game is 4K/30 so Stadia always streams at 4K/60 via 2x encode.

Now though, the service is actually pretty good but Google absolutely handled it poorly to begin with. Even now, quite a few games are still 30FPS even at 1080p which is not great and Google seriously need to do a better job of noting these things for each game which they currently do not.

It will be interesting to see what becomes of this lawsuit, if anything.

Additionally, Stadia is also currently under a bit of fire from users due to Journey To The Savage Planet from Typhoon Studios (who Google acquired and then shut down) being broken for some. Since Google let the developers go when they announced how they’re no longer doing first-party games, it looks like they might not have anyone available currently to fix it. That’s a bit of a disaster eh?

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