Google may announce a new games console at the Game Developer Conference 2019. Earlier today, several gaming outlets received invites to a keynote from the company slated for March 19 at 10am PT (11:30pm IST). Official details are scarce with Google's invite having a line 'Gather Around' and what appears to be a dark hallway leading to an exit. The keynote could be the first official reveal for Project Yeti, the oft-rumoured streaming service from Google that could possibly ship with a console and controller. Or it could simply point to the expansion of the recently announced and beta-tested Project Stream service.
However, thanks to a now deleted tweet from industry insider Liam Robertson, it's quite likely that Google's keynote could see a console launch with a slew of games.
"Sitting here, looking at screenshots of unannounced Google console games and debating whether or not to release them," read the tweet which was archived on popular gaming forum ResetEra. "Don't really want to get copyright claimed to hell."
Interestingly, Kotaku's Jason Schreier suggested it would be more than just a streaming service, tweeting that he's heard "Google has put money into both" streaming infrastructure and games.
According to The Information, the search giant is planning for a serious foray into game streaming, which is currently a nascent market.
"An early iteration of Yeti was designed to work with the Chromecast TV streaming stick, according to a person familiar with the project and another person who was briefed about it. More recently, Google has been testing a hardware gaming console for running the Yeti service, one of the people said. Yeti also includes a hardware controller that's used to play the games, developed by Google's hardware team," the report from The Information reads.
This follows Google's hiring of Phil Harrison, a longtime video game industry veteran. Harrison held key positions at Sony and Microsoft before joining Google.
Another report suggests that Google is pushing in three directions: a game streaming service (codenamed Yeti) akin to Nvidia's GeForce Now, hardware that will facilitate the streaming platform, and courting game developers.
It will be interesting to see how Google plans to monetise such a service. Considering how the bulk of revenue generated on Google Play is via advertising, the possibility of Yeti being a premium service is intriguing, more so when content moderation and curation hasn't been its biggest strengths in past endeavours.
Nonetheless, this move could give video game streaming the shot in the arm it needs. Provided of course, the company has found a way to deal with bandwidth hassles that eventually crop up with every game streaming business model including its own Project Stream.
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