Google is already kind of a player in the video game market thanks to the billions of people who play mobile games on their Android phones. But The Information reports that Google wants in on the home console market… kind of.

The company is said to be working on a game streaming service, codenamed “Yeti,” that would let you play games on a TV using a wireless controller. Games would be streamed over the internet, so there’d be nothing to download and install. And instead of paying for games on an individual basis, you’d pay a subscription, making Yeti the latest tempt to launch a “Netflix-for-games” type service.

Google Nexus Player game controller

Google wouldn’t be the first company to launch a game streaming service. NVIDIA’s GeForce Now lets you stream games over the internet for $8 per month. PlayStation Now lets gamers stream a library of 600 titles with plans starting at $10 per month. And a new startup called Blade wants to rent you a virtual gaming PC in the cloud for $35 per month (or more).

It’s unclear how much Google’s game streaming service would cost or what games would be available. The company is said to be talking to game developers, but there’s no word on whether any have signed on to support the platform yet.

But Google could do a couple of interesting things if it manages to bring Yeti to market.

First, the company could lower the barrier for entry to gaming. An early version of the service was reportedly designed to work with a Google Chromecast device, which means you’d just need a $35 media streamer and a game controller to play games.

It sounds like Google has moved on from that plan and is developing a new box and game controller instead. But given Google’s other products aimed at the living room (including Chromecast and Google Home smart speakers), I’d expect them to be a lot more affordable than the latest PlayStation or Xbox consoles.

Or maybe you’ll need an Android TV-enabled device. The long-discontinued Google Nexus Player was kind of the first Google (and Asus) game console for the living room after all).

Second, the service could open up a new revenue stream for Google. The company makes most of its money from advertising, but this wouldn’t be the company’s the first subscription service. Google Play Music Unlimited and YouTube Red are two examples, although both are basically premium, ad-free upgrades to existing ad-supported services.

Google’s YouTube Live TV-over-the-internet service, meanwhile, is only available to paying subscribers.

It sounds like Google plans to take the YouTube Live approach toward its Yeti game streaming service… although a freemium approach with both an ad-supported tier and a paid ad-free option would certainly be interesting.

That said, Google hasn’t even confirmed that it is working on a game streaming service. While I have no reason to doubt The Information’s sources, just because Google is said to be working on the service behind closed doors doesn’t mean it’ll ever actually see the light of day.

via NDTV, Reuters, and The Information

 

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6 replies on “Report: Google is working on a game-streaming service”

  1. Relax, Google will get bored playing around with this and abandon it (and you) in a little while.

  2. No Google, just no.
    You can’t make a decent controller like MS or SONY and a mini Box to go with it. And there’s no market for a “App Console”. Just ask Apple.

    The best thing you can do is to make the Android Market Apps a better platform, that itself, will cause players to build Android Consoles (aka Original Nvidia Shield Portable). Just need to Manually clean up all the duplicate games, and make the trophy/online chat eco much more polished.

    Eventually when we hit ARM chips that can rival the PS4 Pro… that’s when you can have a Game Market/Ecosystem that can switch dynamically between Portable and Home seemlesly.

  3. The problems are the gaming industry charging insane prices and latency.

    It’s also pretty silly to do it for TVs only and not ALL Android and Chrome devices- makes no sense at all.

    The positive would be affordable gaming on all devices.
    There is also the option to create games that would require a few very high end GPUs to work so games that are far too demanding to be sold in retail. Costs would be problematic with such games but the individual games do not need to be profitable, the service overall must be.
    Google could also develop its own ray tracing and AI hardware for such highly realistic games and leapfrog GPU makers.

    What really matters is how serious they are about this, there is room to push the limits.

  4. Doesn’t PlayStation Now start at $19.99 a month? That and the $50+ for the USB Dualshock adapter have always prevented me from going that route.

  5. Well firstly Google is not in the premium games market so they are starting from scratch if that’s there intent and secondly it offers nothing any of the other competing services don’t already offer.

    The best system yet is Microsofts game pass for Xbox as you get a platform to play premium games on without the big drawbacks of the streaming system.

    If it’s non-premium games from Android no one cares.

    The smart approach would be to do both, actually make a box that can play the games locally like Xbox game pass but then on lesser AndroidTV units it streams the game instead. This is what MS should have done with to TV makers.

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