The good news is that many of these issues can be fixed with a few simple steps. Google Stadia not working for you? Here’s how to get the most out of Google Stadia and fix common issues.
How to fix Google Stadia input lag and latency
Input latency and visual lag have a huge impact on your gaming experience, and for cloud gaming to work it needs to minimize natural lag as much as possible. With servers tens or hundreds of miles away, that might seem impossible, but it’s certainly possible to get a near-console experience with Google Stadia.
We’re not going to go into specific ms delay numbers, as the feel will be different for each person. Near-instantaneous input lag won’t make up for the fact that it takes your brain over 200ms to react to what it sees.
That said, here is a list of steps you can take to reduce lag and input latency when using Google Stadia.
Use a wired internet connection
Assuming your home internet connection is up to snuff (you can check it here), switching to a wired connection will instantly boost your speeds and improve your experience when using Google Stadia. Simply plug an Ethernet cable into your PC, laptop, Chromebook, or Chromecast Ultra (the port is in the charger) and it should dramatically reduce visual and input latency.
Switch your TV to game mode
If you’re experiencing lag while playing on a Chromecast Ultra plugged into your TV, it’s possible that the problem lies with your TV settings. Most modern TVs have an ultra-low latency setting designed specifically for gaming. Others have image smoothing cinema modes enabled by default, and disabling them will improve performance. Usually this comes at the expense of your TV’s built-in post-processing into the footage, but it’s more than worth fixing input latency when using Google Stadia.
Enable your router’s Gaming Preferred setting
You can find this toggle in the Google Home app. Picking out Wirelessthen Settingsthen activate Favorite game. Note that this may adversely affect other devices on the network while streaming games to Stadia.
Move closer to your router
While using a cable is out of the question, moving closer to your router can alleviate many issues with spotty Wi-Fi connectivity. This is true whether you’re using a Chromecast, computer, or smartphone. Long distances, walls, and other types of interference will reduce the reliability of your connection, so try to stay at least within your router’s line of sight (but at least a few feet away).
Read also: Best VPN Routers for Gaming, Business, and Personal Use
Use your router’s 5 GHz band
Many modern routers have two bands available: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Using the 5 GHz band will provide a much faster connection over shorter distances (see above) and improve your gaming experience. They are also less likely to experience interference from other devices on your network.
For the more technically savvy, make sure traffic from ports 44700 to 44899 (TCP and UDP) is not blocked by your router, VPN, or firewall. Stadia uses these for game streaming, although the exact ports may change in the future.
Do not use a mouse and keyboard
This one might seem like a personal preference, but Google Stadia is really designed to be used with a controller. Whether it’s the official Stadia controller (which is great because it has built-in WiFi) or any other supported gamepad, games simply run smoother. Indeed, mouse and keyboard controls are tighter and more precise, so any additional input latency feels jarring.
In a pinch, you can also use your phone as a gamepad with a Chromecast by opening the app, tapping the controller at the top, then selecting Phone Touch Gamepad and following the on-screen instructions. This will improve latency on Stadia using your phone’s WiFi, although it’s not exactly the most ergonomic choice.
Reduce network load
If you live in a house with lots of other people, chances are your network isn’t running at optimal speeds. Streaming video or music, downloading files, or even just having many devices connected at the same time can strain your connection and cause Google Stadia to lag or stutter.
Pause downloads or stop streaming content to free up bandwidth and you should see a significant performance boost. If bandwidth is still a limiting factor, consider boosting your speeds with a new broadband plan.
Use incognito mode in Chrome
Stadia works on a variety of web browsers, but if you’re using Chrome, you may experience significantly slower speeds due to extensions. If many extensions are installed, some of them may unintentionally interfere with the service.
Read also: 20 Chrome Tips and Tricks You Should Know
This is most often the case with ad blockers. Switch to incognito mode for your next gaming session and see if that improves your situation. Once you identify the offending extension, disable it when using Stadia. Switching to another browser like Microsoft Edge can also do the trick.
Disable hardware acceleration
Another way to reduce lag in Stadia when playing in a browser is to disable hardware acceleration. For most users, leaving this setting enabled will actually improve performance, but if you’re having major issues, it’s worth a try.
In Chrome, open the menu at the top right, then click Settings. Open the Advanced drop-down list, then select System. There you will find a toggle for Use hardware acceleration if available. Note that you will need to restart your browser for the change to take effect.
Adjust Stadia settings in the app
If all else fails, there’s one last surefire way to improve latency in Google Stadia: reduce the quality of the stream. You can do this through the Stadia app when playing on a Chromecast or your phone. Tap the icon in the upper right corner, then Performance. Here you can switch between Up to 4K (Stadia Pro only), Up to 1080pand Up to 720p if you are ok with a reduced resolution. It will also significantly reduce data consumption, which is great if you have a limited data plan.
In a browser, click your profile icon in the top right, then follow the same steps. If you’re playing on a dedicated TV app, the steps should be similar or the same.
Another option for Stadia Pro subscribers is to disable HDR. It’s in the same settings menu as above, under Display. Disabling it can improve latency with a minor cost to visual quality. Whichever options you choose, you’ll need to restart any games you’re currently playing for the changes to take effect.
Google Stadia not working? How to Fix Google Stadia Disconnects
If you’re a frequent Stadia user, chances are you’ve experienced at least one disconnection from Google Stadia in the past few months. This could mean a game session ends abruptly or, even worse, the game continues to play but your Stadia Controller disconnects when your character is maimed by enemies.
Read also: Google Stadia games: here is the complete list
In most situations, this is due to your internet connection. All of the connection fixes from the previous section above apply, but you’ll get the best results by simply connecting an Ethernet cable or freeing up some bandwidth on your network. If your network is consistently unreliable, Stadia may not be a good fit for you.
There are, however, a few other things you can try when Google Stadia games or the controller disconnects, which we’ve listed below.
Disconnect additional Chromecasts from your network
If your home has two or three different Chromecast Ultras connected to the same network, this can cause issues with Google Stadia. Try disconnecting Chromecasts you’re not actively using and that may fix the problem.
Factory reset your Stadia Controller
To factory reset your Stadia Controller, simply hold the Google Assistant and Capture buttons (the two closest to the middle) simultaneously for six seconds. The controller will vibrate once, which means it is ready to restart the setup process.
Contact Google Stadia for assistance
If you’re experiencing frequent Stadia Controller disconnections and nothing fixes the problem, your controller may be faulty. Contact official Google Stadia support staff for details on obtaining a replacement.