There’s no denying that Google seriously oversold its Stadia cloud gaming service prior to launch. Back in early 2019, Google promised to provide native 4K games, a range of innovative features, original games and some downright absurd things like “negative latency”. Some hyped features, like State Share, have been slowly coming out, but it is unlikely that many of Google’s promises will be fulfilled anytime soon (if at all). Well, it seems that someone is trying to do something about those broken promises.
Jacqueline Shepherd has filed a class action lawsuit in Queens County, New York that primarily focuses on Google’s pre-release promises: “Stadia is more powerful than the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro combined […] [and will] offer ultra-fast, high-quality games with a resolution of 4k and 60 frames per second (“FPS”). “Doom Eternal Publisher id Software and Destiny 2 Publisher Bungie are also recognized for similar claims – both games would run at 1080p / 60fps or 2160p / 30fps in Stadia. The lawsuit (which spans more than 40 pages) accuses Google of misrepresenting the value of Stadia Founder’s Edition packages.
The lawsuit is aimed to cover anyone who purchased the Stadia Founder’s and Premier Editions or a Stadia Pro subscription between the launch of the service and the filing of the lawsuit. Will this class action be successful? I’m not a legal scholar so I can’t really say but there is certainly no shortage of misleading information from Google that is still easily accessible online. Stadia boss Phil Harrison’s Twitter feed is a special treasure trove …
Yes, all games at launch support 4K. We designed Stadia so that 4K / 60 (with appropriate TV and appropriate bandwidth) is possible. We want all games to play 4K / 60, but sometimes a game is 4K / 30 for artistic reasons, so Stadia always streams at 4K / 60 over 2x encoding.
– Phil Harrison (@MrPhilHarrison) October 9, 2019
The past few weeks have been quite turbulent for Stadia. Earlier this month, Google announced the sudden closure of its Stadia development studios, which the developers themselves weren’t expecting. While Google has vowed to continue selling games and Stadia Pro subscriptions, the focus in the future seems to be on licensing cloud gaming technology to other publishers and developers.
What do you think? Is this class action lawsuit against Stadia justified? Could Google actually be on the line for their misleading statements?