What to expect from Google’s video game annoucement – Reader’s Feature

What exactly are Goggle going to unveil next week?

A reader tries to predict what Google has got planned for its secret video game reveal next week, and its rumoured new console.

By the end of this month we’re likely going to have to add Google’s name to the list of video game format owners, alongside Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. Whether they’re making an actual console or just running a streaming service probably doesn’t matter at this point because they’re a huge company that could probably buy all the others in the industry, bar Microsoft, without blinking. And if the rumours are true they could soon be joined by Amazon and Apple, who are just as powerful.

There’s been a lot of discussion lately of what exactly they’d bring to the table that’s new, as they have no experience making games and graphics technology has pretty much plateaued – or at least is at position where nobody has any major advantage over anyone else. Google clearly has some advanced streaming tech, as their Project Stream experiment last year showed, but so do Microsoft. Sony has also long been experimenting in that area and even Nintendo has, a little bit, in Japan.

Google could’ve entered the video game business at any time in the last two decades but beyond their smartphone app store they’ve showed no interest in doing so. So if you want to try and guess what their big annoucement is going to be on Tuesday you have to ask yourself what has changed in the last five years or so (assuming that’s how long it takes to set-up something like this) that would’ve caught their interest.

Streaming itself is obviously one thing, but as we’ve already seen that’s not tech that’s unique to them and it’s a concept that has been around for a long time. It’s not even something that a software or hardware company has full control of anyway, as it’s all dependent on a country’s broadband connection as to how viable it is.

Cloud-computing is often lumped in as the same thing but it’s quite different, as it adds to the computing power of the game you’re playing rather than just allowing you to run it remotely from a computer elsewhere. As we saw with Crackdown 3 current cloud-computing tech seems very limited, so if Google have found a way to greatly improve the boost it gives to game then that could be a factor. Although there’ve been no rumours about this, which makes it something of an outside chance.

The main factor, I think, is the games themselves and the way they’re consumed nowadays. YouTube and Twitch have transformed the industry, and of course Google owns YouTube. People watch other people play every type of game imaginable but the biggest games at the moment, and for years really, have been online-only multiplayer games that range from the likes of League Of Legends and Dota 2 to current favourites Fortnite and Apex Legends.

These games are free-to-play, giving them an instant, massive audience (just think how quickly Apex Legends became a massive hit) and make huge amounts of profit from microtransactions that buy in-game items that are not at all necessary to enjoy the game (and come across as a lot more ‘fair’ than something like FIFA Ultimate Team).

I think it is these three factors that have attracted Google and it’s what we’ll see become the focus of their annoucement next week. I suspect there will still be a few Sony style single-player games thrown in to show they’re operating a broad church – Uncharted creator Amy Hennig’s name has come up a few times in rumours – and probably also something Nintendo-esque to show they’re approaching this from all angles. But it’s the Fortnite money that I suspect is driving their plans.

The thing I’ll be most curious to see is how much money they spend on buying other companies or exclusives, versus founding their own studios and making their own games. Since we’ve not heard many rumours I suspect it’ll be most home-grown stuff, as the only hint there has been of what’s going on is Jade Raymond’s appointment – a person that’s spent the last decade or so doing nothing but setting up new (and very large) development studios.

The clues are there, I think, as to what’s going on but there’s little enough detail that I could still be way off base. We’ll have to wait till Tuesday to know for sure, I guess, but I have a feeling that next week is going to be a very momentous one for the games industry.

By reader Royston

The reader’s feature does not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk and follow us on Twitter.


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