Word is that Google is working on an exciting new project, and no, it's not another messenger platform. The colossus that straddles the world of email, browsers, mobile and virtual assistants is quietly making moves to conquer the world of gaming. How? A subtle, three-pronged strategy.
A report from Kotaku's Jason Schreier cites 5 unnamed sources from Google that are apparently clued in to the big G's gaming plans. Google's triple-pronged trident consists of the following elements:
- Some sort of streaming platform
- A hardware product
- Bringing game developers under the Google umbrella, through aggressive recruiting or even wholesale acquisitions of studios
This isn't the first time Google has attempted to dip its toes into the gaming waters. In 2014, the company was reportedly poised to acquire Twitch before Amazon beat Google to it. Rumors also circulating about an Android-based console from Google (similar to Amazon’s Fire TV) for the better part of a decade. Instead, we got the Nexus Player, and the respectable Nvidia Shield TV. Google also incubated Niantic, who had a smash hit with Pokémon GO.
Google moves out from the shadows to the cloud
In recent months, Google hasn't quite been able to keep its moves under wraps. At the Game Developers Conference in March of this year, Google representatives dangled its streaming platform, code-named Yeti, in front of video game companies to gauge interest. Google was also present at E3, allegedly aiming not just to recruit developers, but to acquire entire companies.
So, are we going to see a big box from Google arrive in our living rooms? Not likely. Although hardware is part of the plan, the heavy lifting will likely be outsourced to the cloud. So, we could see a streaming platform similar to Nvidia GeForce Now, Valve Steam Link or the competing projects in the pipeline at Microsoft and EA.
Google has all the cards in-hand to challenge the big players
You're wondering how Google can think of succeeding in a field where many have tried and failed miserably. It's not easy to develop a service that can compete with gaming specialists, but Google could have all the skills needed to succeed: the company has the capital, the infrastructure and the knowledge necessary to complete the business.
There is no doubt that Google has the necessary capital to be able to carry out a project of this magnitude. Nothing would prevent the company from acquiring departments or entire companies to carry out its plan, as it did with Motorola, Nest and HTC.
Google (at least in some areas of the United States) also has the necessary infrastructure to ensure that streamed content can be enjoyed without interruptions or slowdowns. Google Fiber would allow the company to control the traffic of its gaming service from its data center to the individual homes of users. Speaking of data centers, Google also has a lot of data centers and servers of various kinds all over the world. This would allow the Mountain View company to reduce latency by bringing servers closer to players.
In January 2018, Alphabet's subsidiary even hired Phil Harrison, who certainly has the experience to help. Harrison has spent a lot of time working at Sony and Microsoft as the top manager of the Xbox and PlayStation projects.
The spread of Google products in almost all market areas interested in gaming also show how the company may be able to be the first to break the barrier between hardware and software. Imagine, for example, playing Doom, Project Cars or Final Fantasy in a browser window on your Chromebook, on your smart TV and on your tablet or smartphone with synchronized saves and no loss of quality.
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Google will have to overcome its abominable reputation
Perfect: capital, infrastructure and managers are there. What would prevent Google from succeeding, then?
The biggest problem in the world of gaming is precisely the games on the platform. As we know, recent history teaches us that it doesn't help much to have the best console on the market (for example, the Xbox One X) if you don't have enough titles to attract the attention of gamers.
Google must be able to win the trust of users with attractive, exclusive and quality titles from day one, which could prove to be a titanic undertaking. The company's history would be what discourages developers, and without developers, a platform dies, however good it may be.
To steal a podium position from Sony, Microsoft or even Nintendo, you need much more than a good idea.
It would not be the first time that Google would launch into a titanic enterprise and then abandon the project shortly after. Google+ and Hangouts are just two of the examples that show how an enormous use of resources can then end in nothing because of the company's lack of interest in promoting the service.
Google's console has a long way to go, and the hope is that it will not be a dead end like Google Glass...
What do you think about Yeti? Do you think it can break the deadlock that has lasted for years in the gaming industry?