Google appears to be working on its own video game service.
It’s no secret that Google is interested in games. In January it made a surprise hire of Phil Harrison, a former head at Sony and Xbox as well advisor to the likes of Atari and Gaikai. Since then, rumours about Google’s involvement in the games industry hasn’t stopped.
The latest rumours suggest that Google really is looking to start up its own game platform. It’s not quite clear what this could consist of, be it a dedicated console or a streaming service similar to PlayStation Now, but one that works through Chrome or Android TV. It’s also unclear if we’ll see totally original Google-funded games or if it’s just going after a wealth of third-party releases on the platform.
At GDC earlier this year, Google showed its hand to developers for what its own cloud network could offer, using Dragon Ball Legends as a prime example. Google also used the event to sound out partnerships with big video game companies for something they’re calling Yeti. As reported by The Information earlier this year, Yeti is apparently a game streaming Google is looking to build.
Google also used E3 to meet with developers and publishers with an eye to getting them involved with Yeti. However, according to Kotaku’s sources, Google is also looking to buy game development studios in their entirety. If true, this means Google is looking into becoming a games publisher for in-house created content.
But why is Google looking to game streaming as its next frontier? And will it ever manage to launch? To answer these questions we’ve put together a guide to everything we know about the Google game platform ahead of its formal announcement.
Google game platform: release date
Google’s game platform is, seemingly, little more than an idea for Google right now, but it’s increasingly looking like it’ll be a reality soon enough. It’s unclear when we might find a concrete release date for the game streaming platform, however, as many publishers seem to be moving towards a streaming-based model, it can’t be long until Google makes a formal announcement.
We already know that EA is working on a premium subscription service that lets users stream Origin games to their mobile devices. Microsoft is also working on a game streaming version of its GamePass and Ubisoft has also expressed an interest in the medium too. With Google jumping aboard, we could have a future of streamed libraries and multiple services instead of simply a box under your telly.
Google game platform: Games
Games are, of course, a big reason why someone might want to adopt a certain platform over another. That’s no different when it comes to game streaming services either. Unfortunately, it’s unclear just what games we could expect on Google’s game platform going forward.
Chances are we’ll see a slew of Android games come to the service straight away. Following that you can bet Google will want some big wins in the third-party space with a set of classic games to win over nostalgic hearts. It’s new titles, however, that will be the most tricky to sort.
Google is clearly serious about this endeavour though. Alongside hiring Harrison, Google has snapped up game developers from EA, PlayStation and many other top companies, indicating that it’s clearly keen to develop something big in-house as well.
Google game platform: Will it happen?
Google has a habit of starting projects and then mothballing them before they’ve really ever got off the ground. Google game platform is no different. There’s no guarantee that Google won’t one day yank the plug on this game streaming platform dream and leave all the investment its made into the space floundering.
New platforms and players have a history of falling at the final hurdle as the stronghold that is Sony and Nintendo dominate the market. Microsoft made a big splash on arrival, and solidified it with the Xbox 360 but, as the Xbox One’s slow growth has shown, it doesn’t take a lot of work to lose that ground.
One aspect that scuppers Google’s plans for its game platform is the lack of internet connectivity around the world. Not only is a high-speed connection be needed to make inroads with a streaming service, a reliable connection with low latency is essential for multiplayer via a streaming platform.
However, Google does have an advantage over the competition: its Google Cloud Platform. Google’s private network is seven times larger than the internet and belongs entirely to Google. It would be a perfect network for low-latency, high-speed game streaming and, because it has multiple nodes all around the world, it’s easily accessible through multiple access points or even the standard internet. It’s how Dragon Ball Legends runs so lag-free on mobile.