Written by Administrator Sunday, 28 August 2011 11:00
A few things in our modern society seem guaranteed: death, taxes, and someone writing about how Apple will be the next big company to get into console gaming.
Apple has already begun their foray into gaming. The rise and unholy dominance of the iPad has certainly made it an attractive option for $1- $5 casual light games, as well as providing a nice platform to play Facebook games on. Google has only recently entered both of these markets; both expanding the Android marketplace, and now allowing for social gaming on Google+. But what about a Google console?
I am always surprised that no one brings up Google when speculating about another technology company following Microsoft into the console gaming world. I almost never see anyone mention Google in this breath, despite the fact that they certainly could and have made enough noise that it wouldn’t shock most if they did make that leap.
Google has been on a quest to take over the world. They’re in direct competition with Apple (Android OS), Facebook (Google+), Microsoft (Google search engine, Chrome, Android OS, Google Docs, etc.) as well as many other companies. Google has also recently acquired Motorola Mobility, expanding their mobile phone, Android bases and even possibly reviving GoogleTV. They’ve certainly done well for themselves, and made enough noise (understatement of the century).
The Android marketplace has certainly become a force to be reckoned with as well. Many games are either coming out on both iOS and Android, or coming to Android first. Android tablets are increasingly becoming popular as well. Obviously, the phones have a wider variety than Apple, and have become increasingly used by many, even in the corporate world. Amazon has even taken a big interest in Android OS, with the introduction of the Amazon App Store for Android this year, featuring an array of Android apps, along with the free Android app of the day.
Although purely speculative, given their quick technological expansion, and widened popularity of their products, is it really too far of a stretch to wonder if the Google empire will place aim on the console gaming world? It is an expanding market, despite the hard times for game developers. While mobile gaming is blowing up like the bomb, console gaming is overall gaining in popularity quicker than bad reality television. Console gaming has gone mainstream, and long past are the days when gaming was just for “nerds.” This is a market Google has to take some interest in, to some degree. After all, one of their direct competitors in other areas (Microsoft), is the “King of the Hill” in console gaming at the present time, now outselling the Wii in the North American market. Could Google land one more blow to its foe?
Google hasn’t been afraid to take risks in the past either, and not all of them successful. Before Google+ became a haven for those trying to escape Facebook, Google Buzz was introduced. This service famously had a plethora of privacy concern issues, opening up content one published on the web to everyone. Orkut was another social network failure brought to us by Google. While a hit in such places as Brazil and India, Orkut never quite got its feet off the ground in the U.S., possibly due to its lack of peripheral features. GoogleTV also launched last year, receiving “luke-warm” reviews at best. As quoted from Engadget, “GoogleTV feels like an incomplete jumble of good ideas only half-realized, an unoptimized box of possibility that suffers under the weight of its own ambition and seemingly rushed holiday deadline.” However, as proven throughout history by even great people like Thomas Edison, you have to make a series of failures before you get it right.
Keep in mind, Apple already had a console, albeit terribly unsucessful. The Apple Bandai PipP!n (and we think the Wii U is a bad name?) was released in 1995. It retailed for $599.00 and lingered around for 2 years before Apple discontinued the device. It sold less than 50,000 units.
Knowing this, however, Google is still a contender to enter the market for two reasons. First, in the early 1990s console gaming was still behind PC gaming. While the console was to begin dominating the gaming market, PC games had just introduced to some of us the first FPS games: Doom and Wolfenstein. It wouldn’t be until 1995 that, with the introduction of the PS1, that consoles would truly begin to surpass PC gaming. Secondly, Google has proven to be more bull headed, and more willing to take risks than Apple. Steve Jobs was instrumental in killing many failures of Apple before they stayed around too long, or even reach the market. Google, however, has released many products that have failed, and still kept them around in hopes “they would catch on.”
There is also the concern of competition with OnLive. OnLive has recently only gained attention due to its library of AAA titles; as well as the scandal of GameStop employes removing Deus Ex: Human Revolution codes from the retail PC version of the game. Amongst other things, one of the major setbacks for OnLive seems to be lag issues, and problems with processing games over cloud servers. Google, however, has the resources and manpower to fix this problem, as opposed to a company who went through a plethora of investors before launching.
Could it be a legitimate concern of the other companies to have another company enter the gaming fold? Especially a company who doesn’t appear to have huge black marks on their record in comparison to Sony (PSNGate), Nintendo (The 3DS fiasco), or Microsoft (RROD issues). Google certainly is in an expansive mindset, and has proven in the past that they are not afraid to take some risks in order to reach out to new markets. Google definately has the money, its just a question if they have the will. Especially with Nintendo and Sony having shaky reception in the United States lately, this could be the opportune moment for Google to strike and expand their empire into video game hardware.