June 28, 2013
Google Looking To Build Android-Based Video Game Console
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
According to The Wall Street Journal, Google is developing these devices to compete with Apple's alleged upcoming products of the same nature. Though rumors of an Apple and a Google smartwatch have been hovering for some time, talk of a Google-built gaming console has been thin, if not entirely nonexistent.
Android is the most popular mobile OS in the world, commanding a 75 percent global market share in smartphones alone, according to an IDC report. It's this kind of popularity which Google could capitalize on by branching Android out to new kinds of devices.
The two-horse smartphone race between Android and iOS has all but left game console makers in their wake. As more games become available on a mobile platform it becomes difficult to sell an expensive console and title. There are those, however, that are using the popularity of mobile gaming to revitalize the console market.
Ouya, a small and open source gaming box, also runs Android and is capable of playing the typical pocket games found on mobile devices everywhere or other games developed specifically for the platform. As a gaming powerhouse in their own rite, Apple has before been rumored to make an entry into the gaming market.
Though its platform is on fewer devices than Android, Apple has a loyal developer base, many of whom are committed to writing only iOS apps. Furthermore, many apps and games arrive on iOS before Android, and with so many of today's most popular mobile titles starting out on iOS, a potential Apple gaming console could be a serious contender.
Insider sources told WSJ that Google is keen on meeting Apple head on with its offering. It has also been keeping an eye on the Ouya, which began life as a highly successful Kickstarter campaign. The startup company also released its tiny consoles in retail stores and online this week for $99. This Android device was built to return gaming to the living room as it was in the heyday of consoles. Its open source software also allows developers to easily write new titles for the console and sell them directly to gamers through Ouya's game store.
The Journal's inside sources also mentioned Google's plans to build a smartwatch, a plan we first heard about in March. Following rumors of a Samsung smartwatch (and multiple rumors of a watch from Apple), the Financial Times claimed the Android maker has been developing such a device in their Android unit. The growth in interest of wearable devices is fueled by rumors of watches from these companies and the Internet search giant's own progress in developing Google Glass.
Interestingly, the WSJ report also claims Google is looking to build hardware devices on its own rather than through Motorola Mobility, a company which they bought for $12.5 billion last year.
WSJ further says Google wants to continue focusing on the "Q," an Apple TV competitor which was announced at the 2012 Google I/O developer conference but quickly disappeared from the Google Play marketplace.