In spite of its once-humble beginnings, gaming has in recent years become a multi-billion dollar enterprise which rivals even Hollywood. Game development has become big business; stock in the right game developer can make a shareholder rich just as easily as stock in a promising startup. Naturally, a lot of organizations are beginning to take notice.
If the rumors that have been swirling around this week are to be believed, Google is among them. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the search giant is looking to expand its hardware portfolio with the inclusion of several different devices, including (but not limited to) a video game console. Supposedly this console, along witha digital wristwatch and the media-streaming Nexus Q, will be designed to compete with similar technology currently in-development by Apple.
Mask-wearing vigilantes always tell the best stories.
Of course, all these juicy details come to us from an anonymous source.
So, is a Google-designed, Android-based gaming console on the way? I doubt it. I find myself skeptical of this news for a number of reasons, and not just because I tend to take rumors like these with a grain of salt.
First and foremost is the fact that there already exists several Android consoles.We've got the OUYA; a completely open-source, $99 gaming system born out of Kickstarter. There's also the powerful, portable Nvidia Shield, as well. That's to say nothing of the selection of home consoles that currently dominate the market. There's just too much competition right now for this to be a viable choice on Google's part.
"Viable." Not necessarily a word I'd ascribe to OUYA.
Not only that, mobile gaming's been catching on like wildfire. As the proprietor of one of the most popular mobile OSes in the world, wouldn't it make more sense for Google to take steps towards assisting mobile developers make more and better games for Android? The development of a home console - at least, a console that could pose any significant competition to what's already on the market - would require a markedly different architecture from that found on current smartphones and tablets. Again, this runs the risk of alienating Google's current crop of Android developers.
Further, neither organization - neither Google nor Apple - has a great deal to gain through the development of a gaming console. A far better, far more logical choice would be to redouble efforts towards app promotion; to put more focus on sponsorship of promising developers in their respective mobile environments. Diving into gaming hardware simply because it's popular is foolish.
I doubt they want to try competing with Sony.
Neither Google nor Apple have become the industry titans they are today by being foolish.
I don't doubt that Google has something in development related to gaming. Same deal with Apple. Ignoring the games industry altogether would be a critical error. At the same time, I think it's highly unlikely that either organization plans to become a games hardware manufacturer at any point in the near future. Such a move simply doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Maybe I'm wrong. After all, Google is looking into bringing Android to devices ranging from laptops to refrigerators to automotives. A gaming console might not be that far-fetched. After all, it's not like Google hasn't noticed the success of the games industry: you'd have to be blind not to.
And that's one thing Google most definitely is not.
In fact, it's keeping a VERY close eye on things...