Google plans to launch a new video game platform, combining online streaming, hardware, and in-house development, according to a Kotaku report.
A streaming service, code-named Yeti, was the topic of conversation at a run of closed-doors meetings at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the video games industry's big annual North American trade show which took place June 12-14 this year, with staff recruitment and potential studio acquisitions on the table, according to Kotaku.
Google's rumored video game console competitor seems to be based on cloud streaming technology, which allows for playing demanding games in relatively low-end hardware. Like Nvidia's GeForce Now, the Google service would offload the work of rendering graphics to beefy computers elsewhere, allowing even the cheapest PCs to play high-end games. The key here is bandwidth, but Google seems to be able to solve that by putting its Google Fiber technology to the game. Google Fiber us high-end broadband service that allows for speeds of up to 100x what most Americans have in their homes.
Kotaku's sources also suggest Yeti could be integrated with Google's existing YouTube services, letting users look up video walkthroughs without even leaving the game.
An earlier report from The Information mentioned that Yeti would be subscription-based game streaming service that could work either on Google's Chromecast or possibly a Google-made console still being developed.
"Google has also been on a massive hiring spree, bringing in experienced video game developers and marketers from EA, PlayStation, and many other top companies," Kotaku writes in support of the Google-as-game-developer argument.
The gaming road will definitely be long and tough for Google. Amazon has spent the past four years making big investments into gaming, spending many millions of dollars to woo top developers, build its own game engine, and buy companies like Twitch and Double Helix. Even with three full-fledged studios in operation, Amazon has yet to ship a major game, canceling the multiplayer sports brawler Breakaway last year.
Some years ago, OnLive shut down its streaming games service and sold patents to Sony. Sony has used its PlayStation Now service to provide streamed versions of many classic PlayStation games for years now.
Microsoft also hinted on a possible Azure-based game streaming service at this year's E3 after saying five years ago that the idea of streaming games was "cool" but "problematic."
For now, Yeti remains a rumor and time will tell if it materializes in some form or simply goes the way of Google Glass.