August 3, 2021

Google plans for gaming conference news stoke streaming-service fires

Several news outlets are reporting receiving invitations from Google for an announcement set to take place at the 2019 GDC (Game Developer Conference) next month. Details included in the invitation itself are sparse, apparently stating only that “all will be revealed” at a keynote during the conference on March 19th at 10AM PT, 1PM ET. This effective announcement of an upcoming announcement has renewed speculation surrounding Google’s potential entry into the game-streaming market.

GIF included in the invitation, via The Verge.

General meditations surrounding the upcoming announcement are centered around the old “Yeti” rumors surrounding a Google-provided game streaming subscription service with its own hardware, as well as Google’s Project Stream Chrome-based game streaming tests which concluded successfully last month.

In case you missed that last development, Google let some folks in specific markets stream Assassin’s Creed Odyssey via Chrome/Chrome OS. Testers even got to snag a free copy after playing a minimum of one hour, and latency in the test markets was low enough to provide a pleasant gaming experience. As a standalone service or product, Google’s Project Stream test and it’s apparent success implies it could work, at least from a technical level.

Game streaming would represent a bit of a departure from Google’s previous subscription products. It isn’t a new concept, OnLive popularized the idea nearly a decade ago, though it didn’t quite seem to be ready for consumers back then. More recently, Sony and Nvidia have release game streaming services, and Microsoft is also working on its own.

Google’s GDC keynote is still over a month off, and while this could end up being something more innocuous than the game-streaming speculation currently dominating the subject, there’s a good chance it’s related. We’ll have to wait and see to be sure, though.