Could Google become the next big gaming-console manufacturer?
That’s the scuttlebutt after The Information reported that the search-engine giant is interested in a game-streaming service that players could access via Chromecast device or specialized console.
“The service, codenamed Yeti, would put Google at the forefront of a nascent part of the videogame business, one that lets people play games as they’re being streamed, rather than using downloads or disks,” added The Information’s Kevin McLaughlin and Amir Efrati, who co-wrote the report. “If Google is successful, it could grab a piece of the $109 billion videogame market.”
In some ways, the proposed project is similar to Sony’s PlayStation Now, which gives subscribers the option to stream PlayStation games to PCs and PS4 consoles for $19.99 per month. Although Google Android offers tons of games for smartphones, tablets, and (via Chromecast) your television, Google has never thrown a massive amount of resources behind a full-on gaming strategy. (If anything, Google has seemed more interested in building an A.I. that can beat humans at video games.)
If Google decides to become much more of a player (so to speak) in the gaming arena, it will face fierce competition on a number of fronts. Microsoft, of course, is well-established in consoles, thanks to the Xbox, in addition to gaming for PCs; it has also invested heavily in content, including (but certainly not limited to) paying $2.5 billion to acquire Mojang, the maker of the ultra-popular “Minecraft.” Apple has made a point of encouraging game developers to build for iOS. And there’s always Sony and Nintendo, which dominate their respective ends of the traditional gaming-console market.
Google does have one thing going for it: a robust developer community, and lots of tools and platforms that creators can use to build, monetize, and market games. If Google offers developers the ability to easily code and upload games, and then market them aggressively on YouTube and Google Play, it could quickly seize some market-share.