Should Google play with a console?
This past year we’ve seen a considerable influx of Android gaming consoles and it looks like Google are hoping to try their hand at releasing their own. Following the arrival of the Ouya, and the impending release of the Gamestick, the Wall Street Journal are reporting that Google are in the process of developing their own console for release in the near future, with some sources even suggesting that it could be released before the end of the year. This is far from confirmed, but I don’t think it’s particularly that unrealistic.
The main question is: should Google do it?
I think exploiting the Android system for a games console is a very good idea. The Android system is very well-established now with 56.9% of the UK smartphone market, and reports have suggested that the Google Play store is soon to eclipse the App Store as the most popular app store. Indeed, apps are being downloaded from the Google Play store at a rate of 2.5 billion per month, in comparison to a mere (hah!) 2 billion a month from the Apple App store. So it does seem that people are supportive of Android, and therefore a console would likely do well.
It does look like Google are a little bit late to the party though. Google should’ve been the first to release an Android console, to really take advantage of the market. Now, with the Ouya and Gamestick available, there is a lot more competition than if Google had released an Android console twelve months ago. I’m sure, just because of the brand power, a Google console would still do well, but I do think they’ve missed a trick by leaving it this late.
The saving grace for Google might be the content that they could secure. The creators of the Ouya and the Gamestick just don’t have enough money or industry sway to secure any big games and releases for the Android system. After all, Ouya was funded by a Kickstarter campaign, and doesn’t have a massive financial force behind it. In comparison, Google are one of the biggest companies on the planet, and could secure some massive releases for the Android system, or even just their console, that could really give them the edge.
Whether this ever comes to fruition is a completely different question, but I think that if Google can develop a reasonably cheap console, and secure some big name game releases for it, then they could do very well from an Android console.