Google might reveal its video game console at GDC 2019

Will Google announce a new gaming platform based on streaming at GDC 2019?
Image: GDC

On March 12, Google posted a teaser video to YouTube hyping up its appearance at the 2019 Game Developers Conference (GDC). While such promo packages are prevalent this time of year, this teaser is uniquely intriguing. The clip doesn’t drop hints about a new title. Instead, it promises the company will reveal its, “vision for the future of gaming” on March 19.

Google’s tantalizing video suggests it will finally unveil a long-rumored new product: a streaming video game console. Moreover, there are a few good reasons to believe the company is actually going to make its grand entrance into the world of high-end gaming.

Connecting the Dots

Despite its massive influence in the tech sector, Google has never shown much interest in the video game industry.

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Obviously, the tech industry powerhouse has some connections to the gaming world. Its Play Store acts as a marketplace for countless mobile game developers. But as opposed to Microsoft and Amazon, Google doesn’t maintain a studio that creates new games for sale on its marketplace.

However, recent developments suggest the California-based conglomerate has taken an interest in the $151 billion recreation sector. Back in 2014, Google teamed with Asus to create the Nexus Player, a barebones Android media streaming device with a Duke-style controller. Four years later, reports emerged that the Alphabet subsidiary was developing a game streaming service.

Then, in October 2018, Google began selling new Chromecast players that featured Bluetooth connectivity. That development is meaningful because it allowed owners to pair game controllers with their favorite media streaming device. Consequently, Google’s “new console” might already be available in stores.

Also, the organization recently wrapped up an initiative called Project Stream, which involved testers playing resource intensive, eighth-generation console titles on the desktop iteration of Chrome. Notably, Google also began hiring several top game executives and developers last year.

The last pushpin in the Google game console conspiracy theory board is a link found in the description of the GDC teaser video. The URL takes visitors to a placeholder page on the firm’s hardware store, so whatever Google announces won’t be software-based.

Why is Google Getting into Gaming Now?

Less than a week out from Google’s big announcement, one big question hangs in the air. Why has the internet services company finally decided to break into the gaming market? The corporation’s dominance of the search engine market is unquestioned. Plus, the firm’s 2018 revenues were 23 percent higher than they were in 2017, so the company isn’t running out of money.

Google is likely making a play because it senses an incredible opportunity. For one thing, the global games market is bigger than it’s ever been. Despite losing ground to mobile, consoles still represent one-fourth of the market. Moreover, experts predict the console segment will increase in value by nearly nine percent in the next three years.

Gaming’s growth potential probably isn’t the only reason Google has set its eyes on the market. It’s been clear for a while now that streaming is the future of gaming. The firm doesn’t have the infrastructure to go toe to toe with Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft in terms of hardware. But the owner of YouTube obviously knows streaming.

If the Internet juggernaut is able to entice the major studios into producing brand exclusive content, it could be a major player in gaming practically overnight.

The combination of a lucrative business opportunity and an industry paradigm shift make right now the perfect time for Google to release a game streaming console.

Google will make its keynote address at GDC 2019 on March 19 at 10 am PDT.