The Google Game Console Could Catch Rivals Cold
With more evidence that the Google game console is real, Craig looks at the impact it might make on the industry
With most major publishers openly talking about streaming as a viable option for distribution, is now the perfect time for a new challenger? After all, we’ve had the same competing platform holders for the past twenty years.
A certain Silicon Valley-based company is more than contemplating such a venture.
Google’s interest in the video game sector comes at a time when the industry is at a crossroads in terms of how it wants to deliver games moving forward. A systematic shift is set to happen in the near future, changing the industry forever, which means that now is the perfect time for an additional player to enter.
The past week has seen multiple sources claim that Google has not only been strongly considering entering the console race but are actually in the process of developing a highly sophisticated streaming console box. Codenamed ‘Yeti’, Google’s console will aim to stream games – possibly via a Netflix-like service – that could finally bring an end to physical games.
While PlayStation and others have dabbled with streaming video games with services like PlayStation Now, latency has always been an issue as it’s struggled to provide players with optimum input performance.
If anyone’s able to solve the lag issue for games, you’d have to assume that a company with the size and power of Google might be able to do it.
The Google game console ‘Yeti’ project features a three-pronged approach: the aforementioned streaming, a hardware component (box and controller) and acquiring video game developers. The latter of which is well underway as Niantic, developers of Pokémon Go and VR specialists Alchemy Labs, are already under the Google umbrella.
Chatter surrounding ‘big’ developer purchases has also started to permeate within the industry with names like EA, Ubisoft and Activision being bounded about as potential acquisitions for Google but as of yet are unfounded. Again, if any company can sweep up a host of video game talent in one swoop, then Google is certainly in a position to do so.
With PlayStation and Xbox slowly transitioning to an online streaming service and Nintendo more than happy to do their own thing with the Switch, perhaps the time is right for a fourth platform holder.
While the existing console makers have to juggle a back-catalogue of games, paid online services and existing studios, a company out with the usual trio is better positioned to introduce the concept of a streaming, Netflix-like subscription service. It wouldn’t have to consider a past audience’s expectations or gamers used with a certain approach like free games every month or maintaining the status quo when it comes to trading games in or buying second-hand titles.
With its power, position and intent, it looks like Google and its ‘Yeti’ box will make their move over the next few months.
The position and longevity of consoles have been in question since the late 90s, with many tipping the death of them for the past two decades. With a shift towards streaming and everyone looking to create the ‘Netflix of Gaming’ faster than everyone else, something’s got to give in the next few years and Google might just have the answer.
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