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Google’s eager to battle PlayStation, Xbox with new gaming platform

by Justin Herrick | June 29, 2018June 29, 2018 8:30 am PDT

Google is creating a gaming platform that relies heavily on the cloud, according to Kotaku.

The report suggests a streaming service is at the core, but the Mountain View-based company wants to pair it with in-house hardware. So the platform would be much like Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox than a standalone service operating on other companies’ devices. To stand out from the longtime leaders, Google plans to leverage the cloud rather than on-device horsepower.

It’s an approach we’ve seen attempted before. Anyone remember OnLive? The service sent games directly to a device over Wi-Fi, but its quality was so poor. Sony purchased the patents behind OnLive for PlayStation Now, another streaming-driven service that’s gone nowhere.

The service, known internally as Yeti, would unload a dedicated amount of processing to a server located elsewhere in the world. Microsoft’s wanted to do something similar with Azure on the Xbox One, but that could be held off until the new model hits in 2020. NVIDIA is currently doing this with GeForce Now on PCs and its set-top box.

YouTube might find itself integrated into Yeti by offering real-time walkthroughs laid on top of gameplay.

Google knows it’ll have to put in more effort than creating the actual hardware and software. Based on the report, the company also might acquire experienced development studios. The platform would then have first-party titles published by Google to ensure some level of exclusivity and attract gamers.

Another idea is to open a studio and hire talent. It could be less expensive, but Google would lose out on having a team that already works well together and can move quickly.

The interest Google’s had in gaming isn’t a secret. Amazon outbid the company to snatch Twitch in 2014, and there were always rumors that a set-top box with a gaming twist was coming. Google, though, has never made significant movement in the industry.

Now there appears to be some seriousness coming out of the Googleplex. Google showed up at GDC in March, and earlier this month it held meetings with industry veterans at E3. The plan at both trade shows was to generate interest in the platform and see if any studios are open to a deal.

Yet there’s no denying the strong possibility of Google abandoning the project at any time. The company has a history of investing in a project before suddenly pulling the plug on it. However, as Kotaku reports, Google did make quite a number of hires already. With this much progress and an endless amount of money to spend, Google might be ready to roll the dice on this big bet.

Kotaku

Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...

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