Rumor: Google May be Planning to Break Into the Video Game Industry

Rumor: Google May be Planning to Break Into the Video Game Industry

One of the biggest rumors in gaming currently revolves around tech conglomerate Google. People briefed or informed secondhand by the tech giant report that they’re planning some sort of streaming service and hardware/console.

A history of exploring initiatives and streaming possibilities.

Google has explored becoming a part of the video game industry for a good part of this decade. In 2014, they were poised to spend $1 billion on acquiring Twitch. There were also rumors that the tech giant would launch an Android-based console, but those haven’t panned out. Niantic, the company behind the popular Pokémon GO, was an internal startup within Google, but went independent a year before getting Pokémon GO. Google also has a long history of hiring game developers for projects that don’t pan out.

Earlier this year, however, Google seems to have been making some more efforts into the gaming market. At the Game Developers Conference last March, some of their representatives were seen talking to several big video game companies. They were gauging interest in their streaming platform, code-named Yeti. They also showed up at E3, supposedly to buy development studios as well as garnering interest in Yeti.

What will Yeti be like? It’s pure speculation and rumor at this point, but Kotaku writer Jason Schreier gives some examples:

Like Nvidia’s GeForce Now, the Google service would offload the work of rendering graphics to beefy computers elsewhere, allowing even the cheapest PCs to play high-end games. The biggest advantage of streaming, as opposed to physical discs or downloads, is that it removes hardware barriers for games. Games like Call of Duty can reach a significantly bigger audience if players don’t need an expensive graphics card or console to play them. As one person familiar with Yeti described it: Imagine playing The Witcher 3 within a tab on Google Chrome.

Soft details on future hardware.

Details on the hardware are quieter, but it’s suggested that it’ll integrate with Yeti in some way. There are no details yet on the technical specs planned for the hardware.

In regards to streaming, it’s becoming more exciting to professionals in the video game industry. Microsoft and EA spoke about it at E3, Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemont called it the future a week earlier, and Xbox boss Phil Spencer said to The Guardian that he believes that it will tear down the borders between gaming platforms.

Of course, a major obstacle to any streaming service is having enough Internet bandwidth. Google Fiber, while still a limited service could be a likely solution to that problem. Having data servers worldwide and huge amounts of cash can’t hurt, either.

Still, Google does have a history of starting and abandoning initiatives, like Google Glass. They’ll also need “killer app” video games that can draw in fans of the other consoles. We also can’t forget that Amazon, another tech titan, has spent the last four years investing in gaming with few results.

Despite this, Google seems poised to make a big move. They’ve been on a massive hiring spree, acquiring a variety of people. The likes of which veteran video game executive Phil Harrison last January. The money is there, but we’ll have to see if Yeti and the hardware pans out or becomes another abandoned project.

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