Google's massive gaming announcement isn't until tomorrow, but some details have emerged from the floor of the 2019 Game Developers Conference that will host the tech giant's presentation. While the information is still word-of-mouth, it's from people who have apparently been in contact with Google staff or developers who have discussed the new technology with them.
Google's gaming announcement has been teased for quite some time, but details have been scarce. People still weren't sure if the announcement would be for a new Google console, a streaming service, or something completely different as of this morning, although rumors had increasingly pointed toward streaming as the most desirable pursuit for a company with as many resources as Google. Patents for a new Google controller leaked a short while ago as well, although the designs were mockups to help patent the technology behind the controller, so it's entirely possible Google's controller will look wildly different if, or when, it is revealed.
According to a report from Kotaku, the main focus of Google's presentation will be on a new streaming platform and a controller that consumers can use to play it. The rumors circulating the GDC floor suggest that Google's focus will be on the streaming platform almost entirely, and that the company wants it playable on any hardware, including PCs, Macs, TVs, mobile devices, and essentially anything that can broadcast a stream. The report also speculates that users will be able to play on a computer or Chromecast using a regular Xbox controller, while Google will also unveil its own controller with streaming capabilities that could allow players to use the streaming platform on a television even without any other hardware running.
Apparently, that won't even be Google's biggest announcement. The platform's features will remarkably be even more impressive, with several people confirming that Google's streaming platform will be as ambitious as it is game-changing. A scenario that's receiving a lot of buzz is this: a user could watch their favorite Twitch streamer play a game, decide to buy the game, and then if a developer has toggled the feature on Google's device, the player could download a save file that begins exactly where the streamer left off when the player purchased the game. There's also the possibility that multiplayer games will have a similar function that could let viewers purchase a title and then jump into a game with a streamer, provided the developer allows it and the streamer consents.
The report emphasizes that Google will focus on the platform's ability to remove traditional barriers of entry like discs or loading screens. The ability to circumvent these issues, alongside the ability to remove someone's need to purchase a console, will be major selling points for the company. Apparently, the technology will also have YouTube integration, which obviously makes sense given who owns the streaming and video platform. There's no word yet on what the talent Google has acquired for its gaming projects will be doing, and if they'll be a part of the announcement, but it's worth remembering the company has added the expertise of Jade Raymond and Phil Harrison already, and could announce the partnering with or acquisition of some big publishers and developers tomorrow.
It's a lot of information to process, but it's also likely to be the closest we'll get to an actual leak, given the proximity to the GDC announcement proper. How much of the report is true is impossible to verify, but given that Kotaku stated multiple sources verified some of the information, it seems like we've at least got a rough outline of what Google's future of gaming really looks like. It's an exciting time to be a video game fan, and it'll be even more interesting when Google takes the stage at 10am PT tomorrow to reveal the truth behind the company's next big venture.