Google, the tech giant whose digital services (the namesake search engine, YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Chrome just to name a few) are now a daily part of our lives making it the most valuable brand in the world last year according to The Independent, might be finally about to enter the gaming market after years of rumors.
The report comes out of Kotaku, which cited five different (and anonymous) sources who’ve been briefed on Google’s plans for gaming. What’s included seems to corroborate the earlier report shared in February by The Information, which mentioned a streaming service codenamed Yeti possibly tied to a Google-branded console.
Kotaku adds that during this year’s Game Developers Conference and Electronic Entertainment Expo, Google reps have met with major video game companies to assess their interest in Yeti. Moreover, they might be looking into acquiring some studios outright.
This would also explain why renown industry executive Phil Harrison (formerly of Sony, Atari and Microsoft) has been hired earlier this year by Google as Vice President and General Manager of a yet-to-be-revealed division, presumably gaming related. Few individuals would know more than Phil Harrison about launching a game console and managing a group of internal studios.
At the same time, Google’s bid faces non-trivial issues from the start. If they invested heavily into manufacturing a high-end console powered by strong hardware components, this would immediately limit the addressable market to the usual 150-200 million console players, not to mention that’s a market where they would face stiff competition from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.
On the other end, going all-in with the streaming capabilities of Yeti with a low priced streaming device could seem the obvious choice to reach a much bigger market, potentially of billions of customers. That would feature its own set of troubles, though, starting with the limited availability of fiber optic connections throughout most of the world. And of course, there are other big tech companies who have already professed their belief in game streaming, such as Microsoft.
Google itself has a tendency of throwing hats in a number of markets without actually sticking with the projects long enough to make them successful, and this undoubtedly warrants some skepticism.
It is unclear when we may hear something concrete about this project, but we’ll keep you apprised of any further developments right here on Wccftech.