Google’s Project Stream which is set to be to gamers what Netflix is to movies is tipped to be revealed this week at a US games developers conference in San Francisco.
Overnight a video trailer emerged indicating service will deliver games on demand, rather than as downloads, and is expected to support even the most fast-twitch and graphic-rich games, without the need for a PlayStation, Xbox or other high-end game console.
The big question is whether Google and its new rivals sell games individually or offer access to a large library via subscription, a la Netflix?
the move if successful could be a major driver for brands such as Acer and Dell’s Alienware who are seen as leaders in the fast-growing PC gaming market with retailers benefiting from a switch from console gaming to PC gaming.
At this stage it’s unclear whether it will work with existing Google devices like Chromecast or Google Home, or whether it will require players to buy new hardware.
The project is set to be tested in front of 25,000 members of the video game industry who are scheduled to descend on San Francisco for the annual gathering known as the Game Developers Conference.
The new Google gaming platform will reportedly allow people to play Fortnite and other modern titles in a web browser on a fast PC, or on a television using inexpensive hardware.
If it’s successful, the system might herald the biggest shift in the $180 billion a year global gaming market since Super Mario jumped from arcades to the living room claims Bloomberg.
The News service also claims the project is already being heralded as a portent of the industry’s future, where games are streamed over the internet and a new phalanx of heavyweights could dominate—not just Google but Amazon and carriers selling fast broadband pipes.
Another Company looking to emulate the Google concept is Nvidia a chipmaker not known for its consumer products. Recently the graphic card maker has been busy hiring gaming veterans like the man responsible for the Command & Conquer franchise.
The major cloud providers control massive data centres, lightning-fast content delivery networks and other assets that allow them to reduce the lag associated with playing games over the internet. “Cloud gaming creates this moment in the industry where the multi-billion-dollar companies like Google and Amazon have a chance to buy their way in, in the same way they’ve done in video and music,” says Joost van Dreunen, a managing director at market research firm Nielsen.
Analysts suggest companies with technical expertise in cloud infrastructure will be better-equipped to compete. One lingering question is around business models.
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter believes the major game publishers aren’t quite ready to sacrifice profit margins to try something new. Like movie studios, game makers will likely view subscription revenue as cannibalistic to their main business of selling games, he says.