Google is getting into gaming.
The tech giant best known for its search engine and Android operating system for smartphones now seeks to take a stab at revolutionizing the $100+ billion gaming industry currently dominated by incumbents like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. As Google seeks to diversify its revenue sources beyond digital ads, gaming presents a massive opportunity for the company.
But Google appears poised to take a different approach when it presents its vision for the "future of gaming" during its Game Developers Conference (GDC) presentation on Tuesday in San Francisco. That likely includes a commercial version of its "Project Stream" service and its rumored "Yeti" gaming console, both of which could realize the ultimate dream of a "Netflix for video games" streaming service.
Right now, if you want to play a hit game, you usually need to spend a few hundred bucks on a console like the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One or a good $1,000 or so on a high-end gaming PC. Then, you either need to go to the store and buy a physical game disc or wait for a large file to download to your console, which can take hours.
Google's streaming service could change that model by letting users stream top games to the devices they already own, like a laptop, smartphone or streaming box connected to a TV.
"Cloud gaming will enable publishers to broaden their reach even further by potentially taping into new audiences on any device and any screen," Forrester vice president and principal analyst Thomas Husson told CNBC. "Beyond music or video, gaming represents another opportunity to offer recurring streaming revenues for companies in the gaming ecosystem. For cloud platforms like Amazon, Google or Microsoft, it will also become an opportunity to offer cloud storage and services to game publishers, who spend more and more in their IT infrastructure."