A report out of subscription news site The Information states that Google has been working on a cloud-based gaming service that streams games directly to either Google’s Chromecast or a console yet-to-be-announced by the company. The service is reportedly codenamed “Yeti,” and it has been quietly in development at Google for the past two years.
The report goes on to say that the project is being headed by Google hardware leaders Mario Queiroz and Majd Bakar. Queiroz serves as Google’s VP of Project Management and Baker the VP of Engineering.
Game streaming services, also referred to as cloud gaming or gaming on demand, work like a Spotify or Netflix for video games. You don’t have to load most or in some cases, any of the game’s data locally to play AAA game titles from virtually any PC or compatible device. Games are hosted on a cloud-based server that handles the processing and graphics output remotely. A video or file stream is then sent to the client, and their control commands are sent back to the server and executed.
It’s a service that, on the surface, allows users to turn PCs and Macs that do not meet the minimum required specifications for AAA titles to run them by streaming the game. It can also save gamers money by giving them access to a library of titles for a monthly subscription fee rather than having to outright purchase or license them.
Game Streaming Services are On the Rise
Earlier examples of this type of technology include OnLive, a game streaming service that ran for five years before being acquired by Sony and closed in 2015. OnLive received mixed reviews due to bandwidth and processing limitations of the time, but it did set into motion similar projects which are coming to fruition today.
Other services in the category include GameFly, Kalydo, Loudplay, and others.
Google’s attempt to break into the cloud gaming market may yet yield different results than the services to come before it. For one, Google is among the largest and most widespread cloud companies, giving Google plenty of infrastructure to handle low-latency streaming.
Google also acquired Green Throttle Games in 2014, an Android-focused gaming hardware company. Its acquisition raised speculation that a gaming console was in the works at Google. A theory that, according to this new report, is proving accurate.