Since February this year, there have been rumors of Google developing a gaming console for 2 years. The project was called “Yeti” and would use Google’s powerful server capabilities to help buffer game data during playtime, without the need for expensive dedicated hardware.
Now as of recently, Google has transitioned to only software-based services under the title “Project Stream”. The service will offer the same streaming services as TVs, Movies, and Music, with the only requirement of 25Mbps of stable internet connection.
To demonstrate the service, Ubisoft has partnered with Google to release a demo of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey playable from Google Chrome browser. This is a US only project so the demo will have limited availability.
Not getting ahead of ourselves
This is an indication of Google’s increasing its presence in the gaming market from their Play Store services. However, this service has been tried for many years by previous ventures like OnLive and Ouya, neither enjoyed widespread success. Currently, Sony is testing the waters for full-fledged streaming on its PlayStation Now services. Microsoft is also developing a streaming service for their next-gen Scarlett system.
Most streaming play experiences have been glitchy because of poor streaming quality, data loss, and input lag. Google’s resources and global presence might be enough to deliver a satisfactory product and reverse the existing negative mindset around game streaming services as a whole. This remains to be seen.
Will this move affect the dedicated consoles market including the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch? I doubt it, it’ll take years, maybe more than a decade before the ecosystem is built so that it is possible for services to be adopted by a majority of consumers. Constant internet access is a huge requirement for many of those users. Dedicated systems may have its setbacks but gamers may resist moving away from the advantages like physical game copies or playing games offline.
What about the Desi Gamers?
To be quite frank, our ISPs aren’t the most helpful bunch. They do not consistently provide quality services and network disconnections and lag is still common. Broadband is still expensive relative to other neighbor countries. So, there are reasons to believe that adoption in less technologically advanced world countries will take much longer time.
I still stand by the opinion, that even if this is a cheaper option, it will not be a fluently playable one. But who knows, maybe the premise of easier access is more of a compelling reason that any other factors. It will be interesting to see how these services work together with the anticipated mainstream integration of VR-games and software. Only the future will tell.