The world of gaming is dominated by Sony’s massively popular PlayStation 4 console, Microsoft’s Xbox One, and Nintendo’s ground-breaking Switch. However, if recent leaks are true, then be prepared to witness the entry of a new player that aims to redefine the gaming landscape with a new console – Google.
Rumors have already been swirling for quite some time about a game streaming service by Google (similar to Netflix) being on the cards, and now a new leak indicates that the search engine giant could be developing its own gaming contraption under its Yeti subdivision.
With Sony facing players’ umbrage over its cross-platform issues and Microsoft struggling to bring over new fans, will Google make a significant dent in the gaming market?
Google’s Three-Pronged Approach For Gaming Foray
According to reports, Google will be adopting a three-pronged strategy to enter the gaming market:
- A subscription-based gaming service: Codenamed ‘Yeti’, Google’s game streaming service will leverage the power of a Google-made console, or maybe the Chromecast, which would allow users to play games as they are streamed, instead of requiring a download or disk. How Google approaches this would be interesting to see, as game streaming is vastly different from downloading it. Speeds need to stay constant on both upstream and downstream and any lag or technological hurdle is likely to affect the entire experience.
- A new hardware: Though details are scarce on the new hardware planned by Google, it could either be a console to rival the likes of PS4 and Xbox One, or a device that allows easy access to the proposed Yeti service.
- Bringing gaming developers under its brand: This will be done through a blitzkrieg of high-profile recruitments, or probably through major acquisitions.
Does Cloud Gaming Exist?
Yes, it does. Cloud gaming or streaming is available on PlayStation Now, Gamefly Streaming and Nvidia’s GeForce Now. Through this technology, users can play games without requiring expensive hardware or for that matter, a console. The game is run on an offsite server and video is streamed online on the player’s device or TV screen.
However, the technology has been slow to pick up owing to its dependency on broadband speeds. A high-speed internet connection is necessary to stream video and send inputs without any noticeable lag.
How does Cloud Gaming work?
It allows users to play games without requiring expensive hardware or for that matter, a console. The game is run on an offsite server and video is streamed online on the player’s device or TV screen. However, people are skeptical of this technology, mainly regarding the internet speeds and whet send inputs from the player without noticeable lag.
What will Google do for its Streaming Service?
Google will purportedly open up high-spec games to lower-end PCs and consoles, and remove the need for costly hardware and graphics card, by offloading the intense graphical requirements to powerful computers that would be connected to a server. This would also open up gaming to a wider range of audiences.
You can imagine this more clearly through a quote attributed to a source close to Google’s Yeti: ‘Imagine playing The Witcher 3 within a tab on Google Chrome.’
Experts Are Bullish On Google’s Gaming Plans
According to a report by ResearchAndMarkets, digital gaming has steadily dominated the U.S. games market in recent years, replacing boxed games as the preferred choice of entertainment. Total consumer spending on video games increased at a CAGR of around 16.5% during 2014-2016. In the coming years, rising interest in eSports and VR-AR, and growing use of digitally downloadable games will drive the growth of the digital gaming market. Additionally, growing purchasing power of people coupled with the significant rise in internet speeds is expected to further boost the market over the next few years.
In view of these trends, what do experts have to say about Google’s new venture?
Michael French, Director of Games London and the annual London Games Festival says:
“What major company wouldn’t want to be part of an industry worth almost $150bn? Creating a new service to sell games, creating new games or working with existing games companies would give Google, Netflix and Snapchat increased audience appeal, more features and services, and help them make more money. They can also flex their skills in entertainment space where we’re increasingly seeing a lot of crossover – for instance, there’s a growing talent pipeline crossover between movie production, VFX, and games graphics.”
Piers Harding-Rolls, Head of Games Research & Lead AR/VR Analyst at IHS Market, paints a positive picture:
“I think Google is making a concerted move now because it can see a moment of disruption approaching for the console sector with the start of a new generation of hardware and the emergence of cloud gaming services. What’s missing is exclusive content, but Google has the fire power to acquire exclusives or even studios and already well exposed to the games market through Google Play, YouTube and its AR/VR platform strategies.”
When Google plans to officially unveil its new gaming service and console to the public, it remains to be seen. However, one thing is for sure – this is what the future of gaming would probably look like, redefining the ways users access and play new games.