Google and gaming generally don’t go together yet, but this might change after the GDC 2019 (Game Developers Conference). The search giant is expected to make a big announcement at the GDC, which is scheduled for next month.
Google sends invites to GDC 2019
On Tuesday, Google sent invitations to several media outlets about a keynote presentation at the GDC. Many expect a Google gaming project to be announced at the event. Google’s keynote at the GDC 2019 is scheduled for March 19, at 10 a.m. PT. The GDC is to be held March 18-22.
As of now, there is no information on the possible Google gaming project. Even the invitation is quiet on the details. The invitation carries only a tagline “Gather around” and an image, which appears to be of a darkened hallway leading toward a lighted exit. Also, the invitation promises that “all will be revealed” during the conference.
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Google’s presence at the gaming event is not all that surprising. The company has attended past GDCs, but a keynote is something that is new from Google at a gaming event. This has sparked speculations of Google making a big announcement at the 2019 Game Developers Conference.
Google gaming project – what it could be
The unannounced Google gaming project is reportedly a subscription-based game streaming service which would run on Chromecast or a Google-made console. Reports are that Google’s gaming project is codenamed “Yeti.” A recent report from Kotaku noted that Google is working on a streaming service and supporting hardware. Also, the report said the search giant is working aggressively to attract game developers.
If Google doesn’t announce anything new, it might at least update its Project Stream, which has completed the testing phase. Google launched the service last year to allow high-quality streaming of games via the Chrome browser. For the service, Google so far has partnered with Ubisoft to enable Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
Those who tested the Project Stream gave positive reviews about it. Moreover, testers even got a free copy of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey provided they played the game for at least one hour. More importantly, the test proved that something like this is possible at the technical level.
Possibly, Google would open the Project Stream to more users and also add more games to it. Thus, to expand its Project Stream or even launch a completely new service and hardware, Google will need the help of the developers. And, GDC is the perfect platform to pitch the same to the developers.
Along with the keynote on March 19, Google will host two more events at the GDC. The first event will be on March 18 and will focus on mobile game development and Google Play, and the second one is a cloud developer day on March 20.
Will Google succeed?
Lately, the market for game streaming services is seeing the entry of several big names. There were reports recently that Amazon is also working on a game streaming service to compete with Microsoft, Google, Sony and others. Microsoft is working on its own xCloud game streaming service, the public trial of which will start sometime later this year.
It will be interesting to see what unique features Google adds to its service so as to stay ahead of the competition. Experts, however, feel that the search giant may fail to make a mark in the game-streaming market.
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter speculates that the company will start its service with a few games. “And I’m not sure what they have that anyone would want to pay for. … I don’t think there’s a chance that this works,” Pachter told Tom’s Guide.
Pachter suggests that the game-streaming market is a tough nut to crack. It is not a new segment and several companies in the past, such as GameTap, OnLive and Gaikai, have tried their luck at it. GameTap ended up being acquired by Metaboli, while Sony acquired OnLive and Gaikai, and used them to come up with PlayStation Now.
Pachter notes that there is a “misperception” among the big tech firms that if Netflix can succeed in the video content, they can repeat the same strategy in the gaming world. “And it just doesn’t work that way,” the analyst said, adding, “Consumers pretty much don’t want to pay subscriptions.”