Yesterday, Google left no doubt that it’s making a serious move into video gaming with a teaser trailer for what surely looks like its own game console. And if that wasn’t enough, a woman with a high-profile in the gaming industry tweeted that she’s joining Google as a VP.
The video begins with a series of gamey-looking corridors leading to a glowing exit before you rocket into the glow at hyper speeds. Cut to black, followed by a date, the tag line “Gather around” and Google’s “G”.
Why does the video say “console”? The date is March 19, the day Google is presenting at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco where Google says it will “reveal the future of gaming”. Maybe that future is Project Stream, Google’s successful foray into the world of 1080p, 60 fps video game streaming that ended in mid-January. Maybe, but consider the link that accompanies the video. It takes you to a webpage where you can sign up to receive “gaming news and offers”. The tell is that the page is hosted in the Google Store and Google has never sold anything but hardware from their Store.
Another possibility is that the hype is all about the game controller the company patented. News about the controller leaked a few days ago and if that’s what the buildup is leading to, it’s going to be a disappointment.
Google’s new VP is Jade Raymond. Raymond was a Producer for The Sims Online for Electronic Arts. She is best known for her work at Ubisoft where she was the Producer or Executive Producer of Assassins’ Creed, Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines, Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Watchdogs along with the less successful The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot. Don’t be surprised if Raymond makes an appearance onstage at Google’s GDC show.
Google will be facing serious competition from well-established players if it’s planning on going large into gaming. Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo aren’t likely to welcome Google’s efforts with open arms. But then again, Google’s come from behind against seemingly unassailable foes before. Think Android, the Chrome browser, Gmail and the company’s family of smart home devices. Patience, perseverance, deep pockets and world-class software engineers can pay off in the long run. On the other hand, Google also has a record of charging in and fading away. Remember Google Glass? We’ll find out what the company has in store for gaming next Tuesday.