Close
Report Comment to a Moderator Our Moderators review all comments for abusive and offensive language, and ensure comments are from Verified Users only.
Please report a comment only if you feel it requires our urgent attention.
I understand, report it. Cancel

Google said to be developing game console

Google said to be developing game console

Thu 27 Jun 2013 11:57pm GMT / 7:57pm EDT / 4:57pm PDT
HardwareRumour

Android-powered console to battle expected Apple TV-based game console

The Wall Street Journal reported today that Google is developing an Android-powered game console, saying that "people familiar with the matter" have provided details to the newspaper. Google declined to comment. According to the WSJ, Google is "reacting in part to expectations that rival Apple will launch a videogame console as part of its next Apple TV product release." Apple also declined to comment on the matter.

Google would launch the device this fall, along with a second version of its Nexus Q media-playing device and an Android-powered smartwatch. The next release of Android, code-named Key Lime Pie, is said to give manufacturers like Samsung more freedom to use Android in devices beyond smartphones and tablets. Previously, while Google has allowed this to happen, manufacturers weren't allowed to use the Android name to promote such Android-based devices.

Google has been watching the release of Ouya, GameStick and GamePop to see how Android-powered consoles are being accepted. Certainly Google and other technology companies would not want to see Apple grab the lion's share of a new device marketplace, as Apple has done with the iPad. Releasing a Google console could be seen as a pre-emptive move to prevent that.

Apple has not been signaling any intentions to release an upgraded Apple TV that includes an App Store, but the newest version of iOS (iOS 7) does include support for game controllers. Apple stock has been taking a beating lately, as investors wonder if Apple can still introduce new category-defining hardware.

While these reports of possible game consoles from Google, Apple, and Amazon still fall into the category of rumors, it's worth noting that Google did hire veteran game designer Noah Falstein a few months ago. Why would they do that if they didn't have some interest in the gaming market?

22 Comments

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,200 1,017 0.8
I've been expecting this from Google and Apple for a while. We'll see how soon it happens.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Steven Hodgson Programmer, Code in Progress Ltd

85 122 1.4
This is why I didn't have much interest in the Ouya. Just like Android phones, there will be many Android consoles. Though I'd at least prefer Google's console

Posted:A year ago

#2

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,284 2,493 1.1
Popular Comment
Don't do it, Google.

Market is already flooding. Use your current devices instead. Make Google Play better. But stay out of the hardware race that everybody is rushing into that consumers aren't all that excited for.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jim Webb on 28th June 2013 11:14am

Posted:A year ago

#3

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

837 671 0.8
Popular Comment
More consoles to the market?

God! Bruce is going to have a heart attack...

Posted:A year ago

#4

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,200 1,017 0.8
Don't do it, Google.

Market is already flooding. Use your current devices instead. Make Google Play better. But stay out of the hardware race that everybody is rushing into that consumers aren't all that excited for.
I'd disagree with you Jim in the sense that I think there are a lot of consumers that would buy into a TV box to extend their existing smart-device ecosystems and apps to on their HD living room screens. In fact, I think that's a significant part of the future. Current console manufacturers would like to have their own living room dominance and are aware that the likes of Google and Apple bring experience in some of the best digital distribution and multimedia channels.

Like phones and Tablets, I think Google can very much provide a great Nexus reference hardware effort - which ties into Steve's comment above about a preference for a Google's console compared to others. If there are going to be loads, surely the parent of Android will show one of the model examples of how to do it right. Apple are a little different because they don't license the OS and have no hardware competition on it, but they also have the desire to extend their ecosystem well outside of mobile.

As excited as I've been and still am for Ouya (I backed it from the start), I said quite early on that Google or Apple could release a media/game/app box almost tomorrow with all the capabilities and more. This presents a problem for the long term success of devices like Ouya and MOJO but could show everyone the right direction.

This is assuming it all happens but I expect it to. Today the Apple TV streams movies, tomorrow it plays apps, we're looking at the difference between something selling 4 million $99 boxes in a life-time to 40 million $99 boxes in days, could happen...

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 28th June 2013 11:43am

Posted:A year ago

#5

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,284 2,493 1.1
Adam, I simply mean they should better utilize the devices they already have to BE the game device. What difference would you really get from a Google game box hooked to your TV over having your Android phone hooked to your TV?

To me, a Google game box seems like a subset to a device they already make.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,200 1,017 0.8
Probably an equal or more extreme comparison to the difference between having a laptop with Windows and Intel chips but also a PC with Windows and Intel chips. The same issues and impracticalities will occur by saying 'use your phone' as many of us raised in similar discussions about Ouya.

You can't buy a phone or tablet at $99/99 to sit under your TV, the entry price is a lot higher. Mirroring output on a portable device and a HDTV causes performance issues. Hooking up a phone or tablet also means you largely loose function of those as portable devices. Almost like using a phone to play music at a party, well, it still has to be a phone at the end of the day and you can't have it both ways.

Yes, a game box is a subset device, running similar architecture and software, but it would be much better optimised for a TV experience in terms of performance, functionality, price and practicality. That's my opinion though as mentioned earlier, its the same reason why many of us have two computers or want a smart-phone plus an android box.

I'm sure they can better utilise their existing products in many ways, but this additional offering seems like water off a ducks back for a product could prove to be really big in the near future.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,284 2,493 1.1
I guess I just don't see much market demand for a device that plays games already found on their phones (worse in Ouya's case because you have to buy the games all over again).

Price - Not a factor if you already own a smart phone. In fact, it's a tad redundant if you do.
Performance - Why would it need to mirror the output? Phone display should only show controls, maps or inventory type data. Especially if you have a gamepad attached.
Phone calls - Valid point but whether you are using the phone to game or not, do you normally pause your game anyway when you take a call?
Optimized - A valid point with no contention at all.

I'm not trying to say these devices as a product don't have a market...just that the market is already getting crowded, demand is low outside of us core gamers and a Google game box just seemed redundant.

Posted:A year ago

#8

Jade Law Senior concept artist, Reloaded Productions

72 291 4.0
Free idea:
Someone build me a phone or tablet that doubles as a games console that i can plug into my tv. I dont want another device playing crappy android games, what i want is another all inclusive device that lets me play crappy android games.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve

342 293 0.9
I think this could be followed by a big push by Google for Google Play Movies and TV. If these services along with YouTube could be integrated really nicely into the interface, I think it'd be a good contender for entertainment on your TV.

Posted:A year ago

#10

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,200 1,017 0.8
Performance - Why would it need to mirror the output? Phone display should only show controls, maps or inventory type data. Especially if you have a gamepad attached.
For whatever reason, mirroring comes a standard. So duplicating the frame-buffer coupled with poor HDMI output performance on some devices causes serious performance issues.

A bit more detail here - http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/df-hardware-how-powerful-is-tegra-3

Maybe if this is fundamentally changed we won't have to worry about it, but I remember from my personal usage of tablets hooked up to the TV, it worked itself twice as hard for a very un-optimal, unnecessary approach to rendering on screen.
Phone calls - Valid point but whether you are using the phone to game or not, do you normally pause your game anyway when you take a call?
You're running the assumption that a TV system would be used by one person too. Movies anyone?

I also don't see how its practical to have to interrupt not just game play but your whole set up just to take phone-calls. You'll also have to make sure that the phone is plugged in and also that it can cope with long term stress in terms of performance, heat etc, meaning more design considerations.

Then on top of that have the system dedicate resources and account for potential issues for interrupts, you may not have to account for otherwise.
Price - Not a factor if you already own a smart phone. In fact, it's a tad redundant if you do.
I'd say price makes it more viable. I have no problems for an extra 99 system that allows me to an extend an ecosystem with more power, memory, optimisation and dedicated controls for TV use. I'd buy it, personally...

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 28th June 2013 12:52pm

Posted:A year ago

#11

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
I would simply prefer controllers you can plug into a mobile device and mobile devices you can connect to a TV. That would make everymobile phone and tablet a console. The rest is up to the power of the hardware. The controllers can even be wireless.

But honestly, I see this article, I see the photo and I cant help but feel that this is how you can kill the games market and let it grow stagnent and generic. I think the mobile market has grown generic, with so many clones and crap games and good games being few and far between in an ocean of mediocrity. Each of these consoles is a "me too" console. Like a race to see who gets their first, to these companies its just a quick cash grabs, I doubt they have any passion for gaming, which you need to make good games.

Consoles are all but generic. While these are regarded as consoles, to me they are console versions of mobile devices. This is why i stick with gaming with the big 3, there consoles are the cadillacs of gaming. And this is why i can stand behind Nintendo and really appreciate what they are doing. They run the business like they do. They stay small, cater to a smaller group of people, but they guard there IP, they keep it from becoming generic. They keep those expiriences from their games fresh and alive.


I think games should not focus on making as much people play as possible. I dont think you can design a game that can appeal to a large group of people without it being generic. Unless its a party, family or casual game, like a puzzle game or something. I think if your going to make a game, you should select what type of gamer make the game for, examine what part of the market they occupy and develope a game around that. For example, a fighting game should be made for people who play fighting games. But if you make a game that try's to appeal to a much broader audience and trying to cater to everyones needs, you need to probably take out or add content that would inevitably hurt the design of the game. For example, making blood green or having no blood in order to cater to little children and older people. This what I see on mobile games. Games that want to appeal to everybody, losing there identity in the process. Yes there are billions of Android users, but there are fewer who play games on them and fewer who play specific games on them such as fighting games or RPG's.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 28th June 2013 1:40pm

Posted:A year ago

#12

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,195 1,169 0.5
(takes out one of Patcher's old crystal balls - he tosses them regularly, as they always seem to not work so well): I can see it now... the "console" will be "free" but loaded with non-skippable ads (or be available for a reasonable fee without that many ads), you'll be able to get all your Google Play content on it and pretty much do almost anything google-related (except for actual work) and for some reason, while you can watch videos... nothing from Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Apple or any other competing product or service can be searched for... and forget about using that Xbox 360 pad for some reason...=^P

Posted:A year ago

#13

Simon Dotschuweit MD SE / CTO, Dorado Games

26 2 0.1
@Alfonso: Made my day, thank you :D

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Simon Dotschuweit on 28th June 2013 4:20pm

Posted:A year ago

#14

Steve Peterson West Coast Editor, GamesIndustry.biz

111 73 0.7
I think the idea for Google, Apple and Amazon is to have an inexpensive box that can be used to sell movies, TV and music as well as games. Games are the largest revenue generator for apps, so that's going to be an obvious focus for such a box. Sure, the vast majority of games on mobile are casual and designed for a broad audience, but I'm seeing more publishers trying to bring hardcore gaming to mobile platforms (especially tablets). It'll be interesting to see what happens!

Posted:A year ago

#15

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,284 2,493 1.1
Sure, it will be interesting to see what happens but I just don't see it happening.

It's a device with a core gamer focus with non-core focused content.

Casuals buy games on their phone or tablet because they already own a phone or tablet. They didn't buy that phone or tablet because it plays games. And when you have a whole lot of these devices on the market...some are going to tank and tank hard.

These are devices solving a problem that didn't really exist. How many non-gamers are really looking forward to Ouya and its ilk? Sure they are a fun little gadget for use 'gamers' but us 'gamers' aren't exactly a huge market for a device being touted as the home console equivalent to a smart phone.

It's like Raspberry Pi. Great little gadget for us geeks but how many casual computer users out there were rushing to buy one?

I could be way off and they could all be wildly successful. But I'm predicting as quickly as this market floods with so little demand from the 'real' market, that many will and they'll get cited as the reason for many corporate losses. I just feel like we're looking at the next bubble.

Posted:A year ago

#16

Donald Dalley Freelance writer

52 38 0.7
The major game consoles have decade-long lifespans. How many of the wannabe game consoles will be around when this next generation is just tapering off?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Donald Dalley on 28th June 2013 6:54pm

Posted:A year ago

#17

Craig Page Programmer

386 220 0.6
Google has such a high failure rate commercially, and makes such bad software (Gmail, Google+, even their shopping cart stops working when more than 4 people try to order something). They'd be better off just buying Ouya or another Android based console maker for 20 times more than they're worth.

Don't believe me? Try Gmail and Google+ for yourself. Just finding the button to send mail in Gmail is like doing a Where's Waldo puzzle.

Posted:A year ago

#18

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,195 1,169 0.5
@Craig: Oh, it's not that bad. The "Compose Mail" function is right under the Gmail logo, replies are done in each email. i don't use G+, so I can't comment on it...

Posted:A year ago

#19

Eyal Teler Programmer

93 99 1.1
I think that the long term goal is to have a phone just hook up wirelessly to a TV and controller, and let people play AAA games. Problem is, we can't jump directly there, and Android consoles are an important step in that direction.

Nobody wants "crappy mobile games" on a console, and that's where Android consoles come to the rescue. Hardware power isn't the problem, the PS2 and even Wii had good console games and Android hardware is better. Couple Android with a controller, give some incentive to developers to get their games to these consoles, and you could start seeing even very good console games on Android.

Some decent games are already there. The Conduit got good scores on the Wii, and is available on Android and looks better. Consoles games are coming to Android, all that's needed are the devices to make playing these games as fun as it can be, and phones and tablets aren't it.

In the long run, Android consoles are largely redundant. That will happen when wireless mobile becomes the norm and there are enough console quality games on Android to make buying a controller for your phone a good alternative to buying a console. Even then, I'm sure Android consoles will be viable sales. Not everyone wants to buy a phone for their 6 year old.

Posted:A year ago

#20

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

837 671 0.8
That is a good point... 10 years spam for each console. All of them Android powered, so they will most likely have the same library of games.

This looks a lot like the times when the Atari 2600 had a million clones in the market, we all know what happened to all of them.

Posted:A year ago

#21

Sandy Lobban Founder and Creative Director, Noise Me Up

315 208 0.7
Good news for content creators. When it happens, and I'm sure it will, more people than ever before will be playing games at home as a result.

Posted:A year ago

#22

Login or register to post

Take part in the GamesIndustry community

Register now