For almost 20 years, the console wars have been the purview of simply three firms: Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. Of the three, Microsoft is the newcomer, with “simply” 17 years within the enterprise, in contrast with 24 for Sony and 35 for Nintendo when you depend from the Japanese launch of the unique Famicom. Since Sony entered the market with the PlayStation, no agency moreover Microsoft has efficiently damaged into the foremost console market and one (Sega) was pressured to exit it. An excessive amount of verbiage has been written concerning the problem of breaking into consoles, specializing in the massive quantities of cash it sometimes takes and the have to be prepared to take a loss on to push software program to market. However now there are rumors that Google desires in on this house, and that it’d transfer on that sooner, moderately than later.
Google is making ready a three-pronged strategy that focuses on streaming, having its personal underlying platform, and a software program push to convey recreation builders below its personal umbrella, in response to Kotaku. The aim for the undertaking, codenamed Yeti, is to give attention to recreation streaming versus constructing out an enormous platform that will compete with the PS4 or Xbox One . However streaming companies have typically didn’t ignite at market. As Gizmodo identified simply final week, streaming is pricey by way of bandwidth. Nvidia’s companies requires 15Mbps for 720p@60fps and 25Mbps for 1080p@60fps — and at high quality ranges that also aren’t as excessive as what you’d see from a higher-end PC or native console. And that assumes you don’t wish to stream in 4K. If you happen to do, bandwidth consumption goes to spike additional. Whereas common US broadband speeds have made progress lately, the present US common is 18.71Mbps, with 25 p.c of the US unable to buy 25Mbps service in any respect.
Now, you may perhaps attempt to get forward of a few of this with higher compression expertise and presumably a customized strategy to an present customary, however that’s going to require higher for encode/decode. H.265 might crunch video into about half the bandwidth of H.264, but it surely additionally eats considerably extra CPU energy to do it. On the optimistic facet, if Google needed to go the native route — or supply a field that has a mix of each cloud and native gaming — it has a greater platform with which to do it than it used to. There’s an Android-specific Vulkan API implementation and OpenGL ES three.2 added assist for tessellation, and ASTC texture compression by way of the Android Extension Pack (AEP).
Whereas Google faces extremely lengthy odds in any effort to convey a brand new console to market, each by way of attracting developer assist and constructing a viable platform, the corporate does have just a few particular benefits it brings to the desk. Proudly owning companies like YouTube give it a strong potential to include recreation streaming and content material sharing from its personal system. As an alternative of making an attempt to stream video games from a neighborhood router already straining to deal with the sport itself, Google may be capable of serve that knowledge off its personal infrastructure, supplied you used a Google service.
The obvious associate for Google in all this, a minimum of if it’s concentrating on a field that will compete in opposition to Sony / Microsoft / Nintendo, is Nvidia. Whereas AMD has performed an incredible job with the PS4 and Xbox wins, Nvidia has experience in key areas the place Google would profit: ARM CPUs (each and software program), Android, GPU design and growth (once more, each and software program), and the microconsole and console enterprise. It’s the ARM and Android experience that put this one over the sting for Workforce Inexperienced — if, after all, what Google desires to construct is a comparatively high-end, premium product. If the corporate is trying to enter the market with one thing that’d be totally Google-branded and “owned,” it has a plethora of choices, from main companions like Qualcomm to smaller SoC producers like AllWinner.
It’s not clear but when Google will announce merchandise, if it ever does. Lengthy-running initiatives which can be dropped or picked up on a whim is, in spite of everything, sort of Google’s Factor. However the firm’s entry into the console market may essentially shake up the house, if it could possibly win traction for its providing and platform.