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Report: Is Google Planning on Entering the Video Game Console Market?

As most of us here at PlayStation LifeStyle look forward to the launch of the PlayStation 5 in the next few years, another major tech company may be quietly planning their own console to compete. Google is a giant in the tech marketplace, having a hand in nearly everything we interact with. My own life is practically run by Google, from my phone, to my computer, to home assistant and automation tools that I have all interconnected. Is it so crazy to think that they have aspirations in gaming?

Kotaku’s Jason Schreier reports on five sources that say Google is looking at three areas as they explore the gaming space: A streaming platform, hardware, and bringing game developers into the Google family, either through recruiting directly to the company or acquiring entire studios themselves. On that third point, Google is already on track. Google hired Phil Harrison–who has played major roles at both Sony and Microsoft–earlier this year, and many other hires have been made of top-tier talent from EA, PlayStation, and more.

Rumors have flown around for a long time about Google entering the gaming market, but it’s never quite come to fruition. According to sources, the company is getting a lot more serious. The Kotaku report talks about meetings Google had at both GDC and E3 this year to gauge interest in Yeti–the codename for Google’s streaming platform. Google Yeti is an interesting concept, and if any company could pull off the technical backflips required to do it right (low latency, high performance, ability to play on multiple devices), it would be Google.

Investment in streaming platforms has been on the rise recently. Sony’s PlayStation Now initiative continues to chug along, with rumors that Sony will be introducing a download-and-play option later this year. Rumors are swirling that the next family of Xbox consoles will be more about streaming games than a single powerful console to play them on. Google’s streaming service would allegedly offload the graphics processing to remote computers, opening up high-end gaming to more people and devices. The Kotaku report inlcuded a quote from on of their sources, “As one person familiar with Yeti described it: Imagine playing The Witcher 3 within a tab on Google Chrome.” Google could bring a whole new meaning to “browser-based games.”

The talk surrounding Google’s physical game hardware have revolved around a connecting to the aforementioned Yeti streaming service, giving players a guaranteed device where they could connect to the service and play any games available on it. It seems like most of the sources have focused on the streaming service exclusively, leaving the hardware talk for a later time. Because of this, it’s unclear whether Google’s hardware would be positioned as a competitor to the next PlayStation and Xbox on a technical level or not. If their streaming initiative is powerful enough, it simply might not need to.

Google isn’t the first company to try to jump into this space though. Amazon has made its own efforts, though we haven’t seen anything that would really put them on the map as any kind of driving force within the industry (except perhaps their purchase of Twitch). Google also has a lot of dropped initiatives that never seem to make it past the early stages. Whether or not these early talks actually materialize into a consumer-level product is still anyone’s guess at this point. At the end of the day, it’s all about the games. The Xbox One X proved that powerful hardware takes a backseat to good experiences, and if Google can’t lock in either their own exclusives or a lot of third-party support, it won’t matter how impressive the technical demonstration of their products and services are. People will flock to wherever their favorite experiences are.

Do you think we’ll see a Google video game console? Do you think it would create competition for a future PlayStation? Let us know in the comments below.

[Source: Kotaku]