Google having interest in the gaming market isn’t anything new. Having had hired gaming industry vets like RJ Mical as director of games, and Noah Falstein as chief of game design five years ago. What’s new is the potential with bringing in Phil Harrison as a VP and GM in Google’s hardware business. His nearly two decades of experience in building consoles for both Sony and Microsoft has made the rumour mill turn.
Google looks to implement a game streaming service, code named Yeti, that will provide a download free gaming experience much like Netflix offers for movies and series. Although this is also nothing new to the industry either. Services like this already exist with Playstation’s PS Now, EA Access on the Xbox, as well as the Xbox Game Pass, and GeForce Now on Nvidia Shield devices.
One universal issue that this service encounters is the input delay from controller, to streaming server, and back to the display. This could work beautifully for turn based RPGs, indie darlings and games with few physics engines. On the flip side of that it could make certain higher skill challenging games like Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry or Star Wars Force Unleashed near unplayable.
Some like Playstation haven’t quite figured out a way around this problem while others, like Xbox, made it that the subscription is download based to avoid the server strain. Google on the other hand is in a unique situation where no one has more servers and resources available to make their brand of streaming a success.
There is a number of ways Google will be able to jump into the gaming market. One of which would be to piggyback Yeti with Chromecast. They’ve already laid the groundwork for a large streaming network, or even just a trial run for a new device all together. With bringing Mr. Harrison for the hardware side of things, we could be looking at a new horse in the race for your living room.
As of yet Google hasn’t made any comments as to their intentions with this project as they don’t comment on rumours. I think it’s an interesting move that could really shake things up. Will it be able to compete with the big boys? I highly doubt it, but if it has a decent catalog of games it could be a nice alternative for families and those more in the casual market. At the end of the day this can only be good for the the market, industry and consumer as the more competition there is, the more the big boys need to worry about where we the people spend our money.