Doom Eternal is not true 4K on Google Stadia, developer id Software has confirmed.
Rather, the blistering first-person shooter runs at 1080p and 60 frames per second on HD displays, and up-samples to 2160p from 1800p at 60 frames per second on 4K displays.
The news comes as some surprise given Doom Eternal's position as one of the leading titles for Stadia, Google's use of the game to demo the tech to press, and the fact id promised the game would run in "true 4K" a year ago.
When Google unveiled its streaming platform at the Game Developers Conference in 2019, id boss Marty Stratton took to the stage to say Doom Eternal would run at "true 4K" - prompting a round of applause form the audience.
"If you're gonna prove to the world that you can stream games from the cloud, what better proof than Doom?" he said. "And if you're gonna prove to a developer that you're serious about building a robust platform, what better team than iD, where we push every platform to its limit?
"We couldn't be happier to be bringing Doom Eternal to Stadia, and are thrilled to announce that the game will be capable of running at true 4K resolution, with HDR colour at an unrelenting 60 frames per second."
As you'd expect, there is a degree of disappointment from Stadia owners to the news. Redditor EDPZ said: "On one hand 1800p upscaled to 4K is at least better than 1440p or 1080p upscaled to 4K. You get into the territory where less people are likely to notice and it still maintains 60FPS which ties Stadia with the Xbone X as the second-best place to play the game in terms of performance.
"On the other hand id Software was the dev Google has been hyping up as working on Stadia for almost five years now and they've been very enthusiastic towards the platform so if even they can't hit 4K60 I think people can no longer keep saying the inability to hit 4K60 is a result of the devs and not the hardware."
basketballrene commented: "Gotta be the biggest disappointment from Stadia. Advertising 4K60 then not delivering. This game has been developed for Stadia for a while and still nothing. So much for Stadia being soooooo strong."
This isn't the first time Google has come under fire for the permanence of Stadia. In November 2019, Google was forced to respond after Stadia owners accused it of breaking promises over game performance.
The reality of Stadia is an issue for many owners of the streaming tech because it contradicts statements made by Google and its executives in the run up to release, and because Google is locking "up to 4K" resolution behind its £8.99-a-month Stadia Pro subscription.
In promoting Stadia, Google staff said - on-stage - that its GPU has more power than Xbox One X and PS4 Pro combined.
And in a tweet posted in October, Stadia chief Phil Harrison said "all games at launch support 4K":
"We designed Stadia to enable 4K/60 (with appropriate TV and bandwidth)," Harrison said. "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."
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.— Phil Harrison (@MrPhilHarrison) October 9, 2019
But the Stadia version of Destiny 2, for example, renders at a native 1080p and is then upscaled to improve quality, but never reaches 4K.
Red Dead Redemption 2, Stadia's most high-profile port, also doesn't play in true 4K. As Digital Foundry revealed, Red Dead Redemption 2 renders at 1080p or 1440p, depending on what data rate you are using, and is then upscaled to 4K on a Chromecast Ultra. Essentially, Stadia's 4K mode is actually processing fewer pixels than PS4 Pro on its biggest port.
It's fair to say Stadia has struggled since launch, although Google displayed a committment to the platform when it pinched the God of War studio head to lead a new first-party developer. Doom Eternal's Stadia performance, however, is another misstep at a time when the tech needs all the positive PR it can get.