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A super unscientific Amazon Luna/Google Stadia Metro Exodus gameplay comparison

by: Eric -
More On: Metro Exodus Stadia Amazon Luna

Hmm...what to do on a boring Sunday morning? How about running through the same section of the visually impressive Metro Exodus on two cloud gaming services, to see if I can make any decent observations about differences in performance between the two?

Without planning to do so (I started out just making a recording of Exodus on Luna), I decided to play through the first ten minutes of Metro Exodus on both Amazon Luna and Google Stadia. And what did I find? 

Well, as expected, both of these platforms deliver a very nice looking experience with a high-end game like Exodus. There is certainly no shortage of power on the other end of these streams (and be sure to flip your YouTube playback to hi-def if you want to play along). I'm obviously a big fan of both platforms (none of that "Stadia is dead" nonsense around here), so a lot of this is just nitpicking. But a few observations from my very unscientific study:

  • Stadia has always taken a few seconds to kind of "gear up" to high-def when you first start a stream. This is usually kind of meaningless - basically the splash graphics that show the developers' name at the beginning might be a little pixelated before the stream "snaps" into shape. Its the same effect that I get when starting a show on Amazon Prime or Hulu. But for the sake of this comparison - Luna seemed to take a little less time to get it's act together. The gameplay was crisp and clean almost immediately.
  • Stadia also seemed to have a bit of trouble recognizing my wired Xbox One Controller - which has never happened before, ever. I'm going to write that one up as a fluke.
  • In general, it seemed like Luna was ever so slightly sharper image-wise, but that could just be fluctuations in the strength of my WiFi. To be clear, Stadia never looked bad, per se, its just that Luna maintained a bit more crispness to the visuals throughout my play sessions. Take a look at the billowing smoke after the title screen - there is a bit of pixelization and fragmenting. Also note the scene right after that - where the camera pans down the apocalyptic cityscape, revealing all the burnt out cars and such. Ever so slightly crisper on Luna.
  • It also appears during that long, slow panning shot that Stadia is skipping a few frames of animation here and there, whereas Luna is smooth like butter. Once gameplay begins, it would take an expert to tell the difference, but it does seem like Luna is offering a bit more clarity.

Winner Round 1: Amazon Luna

I'm going to continue to try to find interesting and fun ways to compare these platforms to the best of my ability - and I would love to throw X-Cloud into the mix if I can. This little experiment doesn't begin to take into consideration things like business models (or poorly timed tweets by employees), but I may start to mull that stuff over a little bit too as we move forward.

Obviously, I'm just a layman - I don't have the setup to monitor framerate or resolution. But, at least with the conditions my house allows for on a quiet Sunday morning, I'm going to give this round to Amazon Luna - just slightly edging out Google Stadia.