"Google is planning a game platform" to rival Playstation, Xbox

Isaac Cain
July 1, 2018

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.

The code name for Google's game streaming platform is Yeti.

According to a report on Kotaku, multiple sources told the site Google had meetings with gaming companies at developers at GDC and E3 2018.

With the combination of its expertise in cloud computing, its experience as an ISP through Google Fiber, and its very tangible presence in gaming culture at large through YouTube, the company certainly has the right confluence of assets to face the technical challenges it would need to surmount in order to create a successful game streaming service. Not only does Google want to impress outside companies, it also wants to foster internal gaming development. There have been whispers about the project, codenamed Yeti, since February of this year when The Information reported it.

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Little is known about Google's planned gaming hardware, except that it will be compatible with their upcoming streaming service.

Interestingly, one of the sources teased Kotaku and asked its reporter to "imagine playing The Witcher 3 within a tab on Google Chrome". Games like Call of Duty can reach a significantly bigger audience if players don't need an expensive graphics card or console to play them. While you'd never expect Google to join the gaming market given its nearly non-existent footprint in the industry, that's what a new report from Kotaku suggests, backed by five independent sources. This means Google could potentially launch the hardware at a much lower price point than competing consoles, although we do not know if this is their plan. Instead of opening up your laptop or checking your phone for a guide, you could press a button to activate an overlay on your screen that cues up a YouTube walkthrough of the game you're playing.

Google has a history of skirting close to launches and then pulling back, so whether they're really serious about jumping into launching a cloud gaming service is the big question. Moreover, it's also been trying to get some game studios to sign-up for its streaming service, while continuing to approach others for potential acquisitions. They've already hired former Sony and Microsoft exec Phil Harrison, as well as developers and marketers from key companies including EA and PlayStation.

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