The Hot Deal: Google is going to get involved in the game industry.
In The Hot Hangijzer, SamaGame editor Michel takes you through a monthly discussion point that occupies gamers at that time. This time we’re looking at Google. The mega company seems to be getting ready to profile itself in the game industry.
Google is of course already a big player in the field of mobile games, as they run the Google Play Store for Android devices. But could the company also get involved in the console industry? All signs seem to indicate that this is indeed the case.
First of all, we just have to look at the diverse people Google has hired lately. For example, it was announced this week that Richard Marks now works at the company. Marks was responsible for the development of PlayStation VR and before that worked on the PlayStation Move controllers and the PlayStation Eye camera. Marks had been with PlayStation since ’99, but from now on he will walk through the corridors of the Google office.
One person isn’t making a complete strategy to conquer the console industry just yet, but there are more important faces at work at the company. Phil Harrison, for example, we can all remember from his various presentations for Sony and Microsoft, if only because of his shiny head and quintessentially British swagger. He has been the vice president and general manager at Google since the beginning of this year. Greg Canessa invented Xbox Live Arcade – one of the founders of digital distribution on consoles – and now comes up with game development strategies at Google. And then there’s Jack Buser, who ran PlayStation Home and is now director of games and development at Google.
You don’t just hire all these prominent people just because you can. Besides the fact that they are simply top people and that every company would be happy with these types of leaders in their team, they have all been hired this or last year and all come from a background in which games are the common denominator. So Google is up to something, that much is clear.
This is also evident from rumors that have been circulating in recent months. Kotaku reported learning at the end of June that the company is planning to launch a game streaming service, which may even include hardware. So a new console, which may be about streaming games. According to rumors, Microsoft has similar plans for its successor to the Xbox One.
The device and / or streaming service would currently only be in a concept phase, people would have reported to Kotaku. The five people who spoke to the website would have heard this directly from Google or via via. The service would be codenamed ‘Yeti’. While there is still disagreement as to whether the service will launch on a new console or become part of Google’s Chromecast, something is clearly underway at the company behind the scenes. Google is said to have even held meetings with developers at last E3, possibly to get games on the platform or see which studios are worth buying.
Is there room?
It has not yet been confirmed that Google will do something in the games industry, but it seems almost inevitable with the above information. The next question we automatically ask ourselves is whether there is room for another company in the console industry. The market is already quite saturated thanks to Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, all three of whom do their own thing and thus have their own identity. Whether there is room for a fourth player on the market depends entirely on the unique features that Google builds into its system and which (exclusive) games it offers. The company is on a huge pile of money and can therefore spend a lot to enable game development or even buy exclusivity and purchase entire studios.
At the same time, as gamers, we are always a bit suspicious when a company tries to get involved in our favorite hobby. Does Google understand what console gamers love? It is quite different from gaming on your smartphone. And streaming games, we as gamers are not at all convinced of that after failed projects like OnLive. Still, a new player in the console market will only create more competition, which ultimately benefits consumers. In addition, a breath of fresh air could well be exactly what we needed without realizing it. For three generations we have had to make do with the same three console farmers. Can there really be a fourth major player? If one company can do it, it is Google.
Also read the previous editions of The hot topic:
Fortnite makes us aware of cross-play and that’s a good thing
The Xbox One offers the most customer-friendly console experience
The illusion of the physical game collection
Stop filming games