It appears that another major software company is looking to enter the video game industry, as Google has been quietly making moves the past few years to hint that they are developing a gaming platform that could rival Playstation and Xbox. Gaming consoles and platforms have been around for decades, but the bulk of the 21st century has been comprised of consoles from Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony.
Google has broken into the gaming industry through YouTube already, but their attempts to create an actual device, such as the botched Android-based console a few years back, have been met with failure. But that seems to be changing. Earlier this year, the company hired former video game executive Phil Harrison, who had spent time at both Sony and Microsoft. Additionally, they have been on quite a hiring spree as of late, picking off talent not only from console manufacturers but also triple-A publishers such as EA. While Google has been flirting with the idea of a platform since 2014, the company recently met with multiple video game companies at E3 to gauge interest in a streaming platform.
Kotaku reports that Google is working on a streaming device code-named Yeti. Their approach is three-pronged, first building a streaming platform, then hardware, and finally bringing various game developers “under the Google umbrella.” Google’s reported plan at E3 was not just to woo developers to their platform, but to actually gauge interesting in buying development studios in their entirety. That's something that Microsoft has been doing recently as well, hence their acquisition of Ninja Theory.
What this new system could look like is still a well kept secret. Google does appear to be focusing almost entirely on creating a streaming platform, a trend that has been predicted to be the future of gaming. Their aim would perhaps be to bring console quality games to any PC, including less expensive options such as Chromebooks, by moving processing to offsite data servers. This idea is, of course, helped by the growing interest in Google Fiber, which could reduce the amount of lag already present in streaming games.
If streaming really is the future of gaming, then Google is probably the company to figure out an affordable way to do it. Despite the fact that many other companies, including Amazon, have tried to compete with the Nintendo, Xbox, and Playstation, almost all have failed. Google, however, has a seemingly endless reserve of money. If they can figure out a way to eliminate console-dependent gaming and create a streaming network capable of delivering high end gaming on a budget, Google can become a fierce rival. The big question remains if Yeti can materialize into the game-changing platform that Google is capable of, or if it goes the way of so many other aborted gaming platforms.