What could Google be planning in its mystery gaming announcement?
The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is a yearly conference for video game developers, but whats different this year? Google is going to make its first ever keynote at the conference. This is a bit unprecedented, as the tech giant has seldom shown much interest in gaming. Although back in 2018, Google piloted the Project Stream. The project was available for free in the USA for a limited set of participants who could play the latest Assassin's Creed Origins using nothing more than a Chrome browser and a high speed internet. Who knows? Maybe Google is looking to expand on that.
In a teaser for its GDC presentation, Google said it would unveil its “vision for the future of gaming.”Almost a year ago, The Information reported Google's Project Yeti. Its a code-name for a Google department responsible for the development of a new-generation of streaming service. It would probably be similar to existing options, such as Sony PlayStation Now service and Nvidia's GeForce Now. Moreover, Apple is also reportedly working on a game streaming platform, kind of like Netflix for games. It would make sense that Google is looking to tap into the same market.
The idea of cloud gaming existed way back in the past. However, due to the limitations in infrastructure, for instance, slower internet, it never really developed. But today, things are different. High speed optical cables provide lightening fast internet speeds. And this speed is just able to handle the massive data that a video game requires.
In comparison with movies, there is one significant difference. Movies and TV shows are typically 4-8 GB in size. Moreover, all that is required is simple transmission of data in only one direction, i.e. the user only gets to watch the movie and not interact with it. On the other hand, when it comes to gaming, the user is providing real-time feedback and getting responses. The timing is also very crucial, any delay between user input and action in game is undesirable.
Additionally, Google may be teaming up with Ubisoft and ID software developers. On 12th March, just days before the GDC, Google tweeted:
Moreover, Google has been hiring key individuals from the gaming industry. For instance, Google hired Jack Buser, a senior director at Sony's game streaming department. The tech giant also brought Sony's senior research engineer Richard Marks on board. He helped build the PlayStation VR headset and Move controller. This gives us a hint on Google working on a hardware device.
But there is more concrete evidence that Google may reveal a hardware device complementing the software. Tech watchers spotted a patent for a gaming controller from Google. Here is a potential leak for how the controller may look like:
Whatever the GDC may reveal, one thing is for sure, if Google is planning to enter the gaming industry, it has to make a great first impression.