Everything we think we know about Google’s mystery gaming announcement

Google is playing a big role in the game next week. But we can not be sure exactly what it involves. Over the years, the company was surprised by the fall of the current $ 13.8 billion entertainment industry. Amazon has Twente, Facebook has Oculular, and MS has an Xbox. Even iPhone makers are rumored to be engaged in their own gaming services, but Apple is the only major technology company that does not have a serious gaming platform or its own investment, except for the mobile app store.

Google has always had a lot of pieces that are necessary to challenge the likes of Sony and Nintendo. The Android operating system is the most popular mobile software on smartphones around the world and provides an easy way to launch applications and access your TV in real time with the Chrome browser and Chromecast streaming platform. Android or browser-based game services that can play advanced software on living room TV are not hard to imagine.

But all we've seen so far is some powerful hints that we can build. It will be changed next Tuesday, when Google will be giving its first keynote speech at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Over the last few months, there has been a lot of news that gives us a good idea of ​​what's coming, but everything we publish can have a big impact on the industry changing the way we create, distribute and sell our games. Here is what we know so far and what we think will come next week.


Photos: Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Cloud game high likely

At the GDC Keynote, Google said it would unveil its "vision for the future of the game." The report and the company's own public showings are likely to include full-fledged cloud gaming services. More than a year ago The Information first reported on Google's Project Yeti, codenamed for internal business units responsible for building next-generation streaming services similar to existing limited options such as Sony's PlayStation Now and Nvidia's GeForce Now . .

Even before the services of Sony and Nvidia existed, cloud games were like the Holy Grail of the industry in that they ran numerous startups like OnLive, Gaikai and others. The infrastructure and the economy were not well understood, so it went quite a bit.

The concept is relatively simple. If you can stream games over the Internet as well as digitally distribute games like Netflix and Spotify, do you need expensive hardware to play graphics-intensive titles? Unlike other forms of media, games are very large and difficult because they require real-time input from the player. However, it is possible to connect the necessary hardware to the data center, run games on the remote computer, send video over the Internet, receive player commands, and so on.

Given how many companies have released cloud gaming services in recent years, it was impressive to see the future with industry-leading experimental efforts. Microsoft has released its own game streaming platform, xCloud, and plans to begin testing later this year. EA acquired GameFly, a rental and cloud gaming service, and is currently developing its own product, Project Atlas. Even Verizon is running test services on Nvidia Shield set-top boxes. Earlier this week, Valve extended the Steam Link service to a personal cloud gaming app. Amazon and Nintendo are also investigating the technology.

There are many obvious signs that Google is actually researching this technology. Most noticeably, we have launched a public test of Project Stream, an experimental game streaming technology that works directly in the Chrome browser. The partnership with Ubisoft enables Google to play the new Assassin's Creed Odyssey without having to buy games on almost any computer if the internet connection is strong.

It was an amazing experiment because Ubisoft's big game studio decided to allow the biggest launches and actually worked really well. This will be the test of the year. Although the tests are over, we are beginning to collect data that we consider to be "technical tests to solve some of the biggest problems with streaming" that will help us to announce the products we'll be releasing next week.

Over the past 18 months there have been a lot of strategic employment, so we have seen a massive legitimate drive to the game sector. Phil Harrison, a long-time executive of Sony and Microsoft's Xbox team, joined Google last year as a general manager and vice president, but is in the public domain. At the time, Harrison believed that Google would help build a virtual augmented reality platform into a viable gaming business. But Harrison also attended the Gaikai board of directors, a game streaming company that was acquired by Sony in 2012 and helps launch the PlayStation Now service. So Harrison is working on something similar to Google.

Later that year, Google hired Jack Buser, Senior Director of Game Streaming, Sony, to lead the social effort on the PlayStation platform. Soon, Google hired Sony senior researcher Richard Marks, who helped build the PlayStation VR headset and Move controller.

And last week gaming industry veteran Jade Raymond hired Google as vice president, but he does not lead the team or department. The timing may not match. Raymond, co-producer and co-creator of Ubisoft's Assassin & # 39; s Creed joined Electronic Arts to take charge of developing developer capabilities at Google's creative division or large studio. And publishers.


Photo of Chris Welch / The Verge

Has hardware components and may contain Chromecast.

You do not need to go ahead with the look of this service, but it's likely that you have relevant Google hardware. Rick Osterloh, Google's hardware and senior vice president, opened a link to the GDC keynote earlier this week on Twitter.

Osterloh oversees the myriad of hardware products produced by Pixel phones, Google Home devices and current search engines. In the company. It's not clear whether that means we get a Pixel branded cloud gaming console or something else. Nevertheless it is interesting to see Osterloh participate in any way. Jason Schreier of Kotaku confirmed the initial details of Google's service last summer, as the hardware will be one of the three big components of the service, the other two streamed, and a massive Raymond The house developer division, which sounds very similar to what you can.

If you have to guess exactly what the Google game streaming platform is, you do not have to look too hard. That's because it may already exist at least partially with Chromecast. Google's streaming dongle can play Android games on your TV using screen mirroring on smartphones that are already compatible.

Now this new game streaming platform will piggyback Chromecast. Chromecast, however, provides a model for how Google delivers your gaming experience to your TV. One is a package that does not interfere with plugging in through one port. Also, since cloud games such as media streaming do not require much local processing power, hardware can be lightweight and inexpensive. Given the amount of fashion Google is making here, it's likely to throw away entirely new hardware for gaming.

You need a game controller to play the game.

Without some type of peripherals, you will not be able to play console-quality games (in fact, if it's a game we're going to play). For Google, you need to build your own controller. According to a patent released last week, it could have been done by the company as an image showing the Google-branded gamepad 50 years ago, like the cross between the PlayStation controller and the unlucky Ouya game pad.


Image: Google

If Google does not actually build the console, it may be that Osterloh needs a hardware department. If Microsoft and Sony build competitive services, we may not want customers using controllers from other companies.

And this type of service needs to be a controller-centric experience. At present, all kinds of cloud game services will probably have at least connectivity issues. Bars for console gaming performance require the best connection possible for competitive games, and milliseconds of latency is much lower than PCs that are important to hardcore players.

That is, it will not start with at least the mouse and keyboard at first. We did not get Fortomite Apex Legends or Dota 2 on Google's platform, but this service is also a great place. Big budget single player game like Assassin 's Creed .


Image: Project Stream / Ubisoft

Google can be released with Ubisoft and id software.

If you need more evidence that Google is able to charge for services in a large single-player environment, the initial list of partners to attend and work with the company at GDC Google is one of the developer's day session participants, Called Doom and developer Id Software specifically.

Google also says Ubisoft is one of its partners . Amy Hennig (19459023), who left EA, will be participating in the Tomb Raider studio Crystal Dynamics, a representative of game designer Raph Koster, and a panel sponsored by Google . Now, we do not know that this level of intervention is translated. The company can shower Google with technology praise and show demos or two.

Assume Creed Doom and If Tomb Raider is the initial title that can actually be played on Google services, Google will not only provide Android game streaming services, I would like to be a competitor of a grade. It is also a title that does not require any latency and does not require ultra-low ping because it does not interact with other people online.

We know too little about what might be included too early in our game announcement. But for a company that has been working for years to turn its attention to the game space, it is likely to be at a critical moment now. Every major publisher and console manufacturer wants to hack into cloud games and challenge what they can do first. It will be the biggest change in the way games are developed and sold since the iPhone.

Even more interesting is that cloud gaming opens up all kinds of new and destructive business models to the game, including all the monthly subscribers it covets. In a world where unit sales no longer determine success, we were able to see a Netflix-style explosion of new experiences. All hardware can be played at any quality and cost.

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