May, 04 2011

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.