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June 29, 2018

Google reportedly planning to launch a game platform to rival PlayStation and Xbox

by John_A

Google is said to be working on a game streaming service and an Android-based gaming console.

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It looks like Google is planning to launch a game streaming service to take on the likes of PlayStation and Xbox. We’ve been hearing rumors of a subscription-based game streaming service — codenamed Yeti — from as far back as February, with the company said to be working on an Android-based gaming console to complement the streaming service.

Jason Schreier over at Kotaku has more details on Google’s plans for a gaming platform. It looks like Google execs met with video game companies at the Game Developers Conference earlier this year to gauge interest in the company’s streaming platform, and there’s a possibility that Google is looking to buy out game studios entirely as a content play.

A streaming service eliminates the need for beefy hardware, as the processing is done elsewhere. That’s the same approach NVIDIA took with its own game streaming service, GeForce NOW, and it looks like Google is trying to emulate the same strategy. Offloading the hardware component to the cloud allows any device to play visually-intensive titles, and while previous attempts at making such a service scale to a wider audience have failed (remember OnLive?), if there’s anyone that can sort out the technical details, it’s Google.

Another feature that Google is allegedly working on is tight integration with YouTube. If you’re stuck at a particular part of a game and need a few hints, you’ll be able to activate an overlay with the press of a button that brings up a walkthrough of that game on YouTube. That sounds like a neat idea, but once again we’ll need to see how it works in real-world scenarios.

As for the gaming console that is rumored to accompany the streaming service, details are light on what sort of hardware it will offer and what dedicated games it will offer. One of the reasons NVIDIA’s Shield works so well for gaming is that it has a dedicated library of games optimized for the platform, and it remains to be seen if Google will take a similar approach.

For now, Google’s game streaming service sounds like an ambitious idea, but the company has been known to abandon endeavours that don’t meet its expectations. It’ll be interesting to see what comes out of this project, but the idea of a subscription-based game streaming service from Google certainly sounds exciting.

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