Google Gaming Console? Android, Google TV, and The Cloud Could Rain Down Awesomeness [OPINION]

We already know (or think we know) that Google TV will play a big role at Google IO next week, under the veil of Android. But if you connect the dots it seems like Google may be planning a powerful foray into the gaming market that could compete with traditional gaming consoles like XBOX360, PS3, and Wii. Let’s follow the trail of clues:

  • First of all, we expect Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) to merge with Google TV in the source code for the upcoming release of Android x.x (Ice Cream Sandwich).
  • That’ll lay a lot of behind the scenes groundwork, ultimately making the deployment of Android Market on Google TV a much easier task (which we hope to see at Google IO).

Android Market on Google TV provides plenty of gaming fodder alone, but it goes deeper:

Google clearly recognizes gaming as a frontier opportunity and lately it seems like they’ve lived by the “Go big or go home” motto. Why settle for continuing down the mobile gaming road when they’ve got all the assets to create a gaming juggernaut that competes with the current leaders and takes gaming to the next level?

In this scenario, ridiculously powerful graphics aren’t what I mean by “the next level” but once they develop a critical mass of manufacturers/developers/consumers, technology certainly won’t be holding them back. Much like the inception of Android, the next level of gaming wouldn’t initially be about specs and hardware, but opening the doors of opportunity by unlocking the front door of competition. And once everyone starts walking in, power in numbers handles the rest. Let’s pretend we’re in Rob’s fantasy land for a moment and see how things could potentially play out.

  • Google merges GTV with Android source and launches Android Market on Google TV
  • As apps and games galore pour into GTV Market the value of owning Google TV rises considerably
  • More people buy GTV as its a natural and immediate extension of what they already enjoy
  • More manufacturers start building GTV compatible devices and accessories, from TVs and Set Top Boxes to Remote Controls and Keyboards
  • Without the requirement for “mobile”, devices would be MUCH more powerful, have a MUCH greater storage capacity, and will always have high speed Internet connections out

There are already hundreds of millions of Android users in the world. All their information, apps, games, connections, preferences and more are already connected to their E-Mail account. Simply connect Google TV and all of a sudden you’ve got an integrated entertainment system that can:

  • Download hundreds of GB of games (free and paid) over your Wi-Fi connection
  • Play pretty intense games created especially for the big screen: without the need to make the device compact for mobile consumption, manufacturers can affordably beef up their offerings.
  • Connect with your friends or groups of friends to play head to head games in real-time over your Wi-Fi connection (at no additional cost)
  • Take the entire Android experience into your home at a very, very low price

And what if Google launches Google Music? Download music on your phone, then listen to it on your Home Entertainment System through Google TV, then load it up on your tablet? Anywhere you’ve got an Android device with a login/pass you’ve got apps, games, music, movies, books and everything else you can imagine right in front of you. Not to mention the ability to use your Google Contacts and connections through apps like Facebook and Foursquare to drive your TV entertainment and Gaming experience.

How cool would it be to browse through your local TV listings and at the bottom of the screen see how many of your friends (and which ones) are currently watching that same station? What if you were able to interact with them while the show was going on, through text, audio, and even video? What if you could instantly challenge friends to games, everything from sports games to first person shooter of intensely high quality?

Once Google gets Android Market onto GTV, this could very well play out. Would you rather pay $300 bucks for a system that offers everything you can possibly imagine, already integrated with your life as soon as you plug it in? Of course there will be the real “gamers” who require the real stuff, but the masses will want GTV. Once the masses have it in their hands, developers start developing for it. Before you know it… GTV has become the “real stuff” for the “real gamers”.

Android won’t likely overpower XBOX 360 or PS3 anytime in the next few years, but very well could within a decade. I mean come on, using your Android Phone as a controller it could probably be as good as a Wii out of the box. And there’s a reason Sony Ericsson has the XPERIA Play bulit on Android.

Android has a bright gaming future but perhaps mostly on Google TV. Oh wait, I forgot, they’re almost the same thing. And once they are… that’s half the battle.

Bring on Google IO.

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  • DroidCLH2

    Ambitious? yes
    Realistic? Probably not

  • KidPhat

    Correction, Google invested in Zynga.

    • robjackson81

      Good point. Corrected.

  • Elvis the Queen

    Sounds very interesting and exciting.
    With the fast Internet connections one has at home, games could be computed in the cloud and streamed onto your TV or tablet.
    That could beat the graphical performance of consoles like PS3 and XBOX360 tomorrow.
    With Google docs and such Google is clearly aiming to move the computing part into the cloud already – why not for things where computing power really matters?

    They have virtually unlimited computing power on their side.
    The only thing holding this cloud computing thing back at the moment is connection speeds – for now.

  • Len

    Though it would be awesome to see how well Google would do in that enviroment. Though it is very much out of their element, when they do somthing they usually put the right amount of inventment into things. Their version of PSN/XBox Live would be amazing. Ad supported feature and Micro transaction feature games would be awesome.. but they would very much need to abandon the pure cloud system, this would need to be done like Android not Chrome.. but native code not java for high end graphics.

  • YamiYaiba

    Any gaming tied to Zynga means I’m not interested. Zynga is a majorly sleazy company.

    • Len

      Google however is a very honest company. Only legal drama they have had has been people looking for a pay day. They really do try their best to always do whats right, and if Zynga was causing Google customers to get screwed, Google would put a lot of pressure on Zynga.

  • Trdracer21

    google need to fix there market alot of developers do not want to put there games there idk y but they have to fix this. we need more apps more games etc

  • jroc74

    I dont know…

    OnLive has been around for about a year. HTC just partnered with them and bringing it to their tablets. Whats in Rob’s fantasy is similar to OnLive. OnLive is just console games streamed to your TV’s, PC, and tablets tho.

  • http://cityboytech.wordpress.com cityboytech

    they dont need a console, they just need to update Google TV to take advantage of it all.. and using a phone as a controller is not a good idea at all (sorry) battery life, phone call interruptions, etc. they could do an Xperia Play just without all of the phone stuff, connect to Google TV through wifi-direct and play, or connect to eachother’s controllers and play (since it is wifi-direct and they do have screens on them). i can see something like that

  • sjava

    Google TV needs 2 major features. Time-shifting (DVR) & Place-shifting.

  • ManiacalShen

    I’ll be happy with the Android Market. Surely someone will post an app that lets me watch regular Hulu.

    • presto117

      lol.

  • blaque_prince

    Man y’all are late. I’ve been saying this ever since Google TV was announced. This WILL be the next Gen consoles. It will be between GTV, ATV and an Xbox more in line with those two. And yes the phones will be controllers or second personal screens for things like radars and picking plays. Now honestly I don’t think Google will catch on first. They seem to miss the obvious. Then again Apple seems to be missing it too. MS as usual will just follow.

  • dannydarko

    Good article Rob, bring on the updates(Google I/O 2011) and make my Google Set “Dust”Top relevant/useful again.

  • Erik

    Somehow I don’t see this working out very well. Well maybe if they formed a partnership with Nintendo, but I don’t see why Nintendo would go along with it. Google TV is a flop.

  • lugnut667

    Keep dreaming…

  • Guest

    google needs to oneup kinect, if they want any traction in console gaming

  • Ken

    I think I can sum up what he just said by this statement. Checkmate. Well said my friend. Well said.

  • http://techdomino.com/ Lucian Armasu

    Don’t forget they also hired the lead technical guy from Xbox Kinect team – George something. He has a Ph.D in motion sensing technologies.

    I have a bad feeling about Google Music, though. Last I heard the negotiations weren’t going so well with the greedy labels. That’s too bad. It would’ve been nice for Icecream Sandwichto come with as many improvements as possible.

    • sQueezedhe

      major problem with media consumption the world over is the greedy arses that hold the rights. They don’t understand that it’s necessary to move with the times and engage with the service-side of internet distribution instead of trying to rile against the hobbyist-side of it all the time.

    • Anon

      Greed aside, the labels are hanging themselves by allowing a single seller (Apple) to have so much power. They should really be worried about diversifying because Apple is going to be able to dictate price to the labels if the labels have nowhere else to go. IMHO, the labels need at least three dominant on-line sellers – but the more the better (but, please, no carriers – imagine AT&T only allowing music sales from AT&T on their phones.)

      Screwing up negotiations with Google hurts Google, Android devices, and the labels. It only strengthens Apple.

  • godrilla

    This article makes sense, the next consoles are being delayed according to fudzilla.com till 2015, qualcomm already announced that their chips will have console like graphics (PS3) capabilities in the end of 2012, that is a 2 year gap between this gen of consoles And next gen. I want this to be true because I can’t stand to see the pc market get left out because most devlopers choose the consoles first. If mobile gaming for hardcore gamers really launches it will eat in to console market shares. Muahahaha I can’t wait. Plus mobile market has the most growth in terms of hardware performance, ( cellphones went from single core to quad core over night)

  • WickedToby741

    I’ve always thought that OnLive and Google TV would make a good pairing. Think about it, OnLive needs more exposure on TVs to compete better with consoles and Google TV just plain needs more reasons consumers should buy it. The ability to play video games makes that price tag a bit more appealing.

  • http://profiles.google.com/kwillsrepsbk Kevin Williams

    you know what Google should do, team up with Sony and re-do the whole PlayStation layout and use android on PlayStation consoles..they already got the Xperia play, i don’t see why they can’t go beyond that..imagine the PlayStation with a fully functioning chrome browser on your tv..PSN store combined with the Android market..i am just dreaming, but hey, never know.

    • presto117

      The XMB is good and easy to use enough on it’s own. I love Android, but I would not want it on anything but my phone.

  • supremekizzle

    Is google going to know I watch HBO softcore porn late at night and then direct ads at me while my girlfriend is watching tv? Seriously though, google has never been good at asthetically pleasing UI and smoothness. That’s Apples bag baby. Which really sucks because I can’t convince my girlfriend to use android “its too complicated”…

  • Temporary101

    I see this as happening but…..maybe in 3-4 years from now. As fast as Android updates get pushed out, it just doesn’t go fast enough.

    By the end of 2011 we might have a decent Google TV.
    At the start of 2012 we will get lotsa casual game ports. Paper toss, angry birds etc.
    Middle 2012 the new Android version will be announced that will fix the bugs and add the options required for the true hardcore games.
    End of 2012 the new OS will be released.
    By the middle of 2013 a decent amount of people will actually have the latest OS. Implying that lotsa ppl won’t get the update due to , dare I say it, LG,Sony,Samsung, custom skins and bloatware blocking updates and not that many ppl renew their television set as often as their phones.
    So middle 2013 we will see a few great core games, mostly HD-remakes of older games probably.
    At the end of 2013 it still hasn’t caught on yet and still only a few core game will be available.
    Start of 2014 Google will revise their strategy to market the games and add the social aspect that online games require (It took so long, due to integrating it with other google products)
    Medio 2014 a decent amount of good games will be available, still nowhere near as good for real core gamers who will probably prefer the next-gen consoles for at least that generation.
    After 2014 Things might finaly take of, but by then we are already looking forward to other EPIC, GREAT future prospects of Android (self-driving cars, watches with Android, android phones with tactile feedback screens etc!)

    asumming the world doesn’t end in 2012 ofc ;)

  • Droidfan

    Don’t forget Google and Dish Network have a blended product. And now that Dish has settled their long running legal battle with TIVO, this probably opens the door for Google TV to offer DVR cababilities. NOW YOUR COOKING.

  • Luke

    This is going to tie into Youtube somehow as well I think. A while back there were several jobs postings for console developers to come work for youtube. Maybe youtube will also be a delivery method for flash based games?