In the most literal sign yet that Stadia’s launch came in hotter than Google had anticipated, it seems like some early users of the service are experiencing overheating Chromecast Ultras. The devices in question were included with the Stadia Founder’s Edition and Premiere Edition, two bundles which offered the earliest access to Google’s new game streaming service.
Even before complaints of overheating surfaced, Stadia’s launch had more than its share of problems. Google Stadia reviews across the board were fairly negative, with a general consensus that, while Google does have some interesting ideas, the service simply isn’t necessary or even ready for a wide release right now. Performance seemed to vary widely, with some reviewers reporting a smooth experience and others experiencing latency issues, and most Google Stadia in-depth reviews pointed to missing features which are slated to come at an unspecified later date.
While not everyone who has used Google Stadia is reporting overheating, the problem is at least widespread enough to have spurred a megathread on the Stadia subreddit full of users having the same problem. Multiple players have reported the Chromecast Ultras running Stadia get extremely hot after playing games for a few hours, and some have even had their devices shut off after such overheating. For longtime Chromecast Ultra users, this isn’t surprising. Posts on various forums and Google’s own support site from well before Stadia’s launch complain of Chromecast Ultras overheating and even shutting down after several hours of streaming. Reddit users have theorized Stadia’s higher framerates compared to normal video streams could be putting extra strain on the devices, making the existing overheating problem more severe. Running games at 1080p on Stadia can reportedly use more than 100MB of data per minute, which is far more than typical video streaming uses. So far, there’s no word from Google about the issue.
Google made a lot of big promises before Stadia’s launch, but it became clear shortly beforehand they wouldn’t all be ready on time. Before the service’s launch, Google teased its innovative way to solve Stadia's latency issues and also boasted the program would have better multiplayer than existing consoles. The Stadia Founder’s Edition even sold out ahead of launch as excitement about the service grew. In a Stadia Reddit AMA closer to launch, however, Google revealed lots of announced features wouldn’t be available for the foreseeable future, leading to fears the Stadia program was launching before it was really finished.
The latest launch woes for Stadia only make it look more like the time for a streaming-only console just isn’t here yet. Setting aside the problems of limited broadband access and restrictive bandwidth data caps which make game streaming unusable for many potential players, even a company with as many resources as Google is struggling to make it work.