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Google may acquire game studios to work on rumored streaming service


GTM

  • A new report claims that Google representatives met with game development studios at E3 2018 earlier in June.
  • Google reportedly wants game studios to work on titles for its rumored streaming service.
  • Google might even acquire whole gaming studios for this service.

It looks like Google is moving ahead with its earlier reported plans to launch a gaming-themed streaming service. A report from Kotaku, citing unnamed sources, claims Google representatives held meetings with game development studios at E3 2018, the video game trade show that was held in Los Angeles earlier in June.

Read more: Here’s why Google should launch a game streaming service

What’s surprising is that the story claims that Google is not just trying to get game developers interested in this service, which reportedly has the internal code name “Yeti”. Kotaku states that Google might even acquire entire game studios so they can work on titles for Yeti. The same report says Google also met with a number of major companies in March at the Game Developers Conference, held in Google’s backyard of San Francisco. Kotaku did not offer any word on which specific game development teams had meetings with Google at GDC or E3.

Google has only dipped its toes in game development in the past. It was the first home of Niantic Labs, the developer behind the AR-based mobile game Ingress that launched in 2012. In 2015, Niantic broke away from Google and became an independent game developer. In 2016, it hit paydirt with the release of its second game, Pokémon Go, which became a major hit and is still a huge money maker nearly two years after it launched.

In 2017, Google acquired Austin, Texas-based Owlchemy Labs, the developer behind a number of acclaimed PC and console VR games like Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality. Owlchemy is currently working on its next VR game, Vacation Simulator, which is due out sometime in 2018.

As earlier reports from other media outlets have indicated, Yeti is being developed so that gamers can simply stream games onto their PC or mobile device, with the high-end graphics handled in the cloud. It’s a setup similar to NVIDIA’s GeForce Now service, which is currently available in beta form for Windows and Mac PCs. Kotaku said Google’s service was described by a person who was familiar with Yeti in this manner: “Imagine playing The Witcher 3 within a tab on Google Chrome.”

The article also says that Google is working on some sort of hardware product for this service. It’s currently unknown if this product will feature high-end specs like you might find on a dedicated game console, or if it will have lower-end hardware so it can be cheap and accessible to a mass audience, offloading most of the work to cloud servers. In January, Google hired former Playstation and Xbox executive Phil Harrison as a general manager for its hardware division.

Streaming game services have been tried before, such as the PC-based OnLive (which crashed and burned several years ago), and the current PlayStation Now. At E3 2018, both Microsoft and Electronic Arts announced they were developing their own game streaming services that would offer console-like games on all devices, including smartphones. There’s no word on when any of these streaming services might go live, or how much they would cost.





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