Google expected to announce a new streaming, cloud-based gaming service

By Brian Pascus

/ CBS News

Top tech gadgets at CES 2019

Google is expected to unveil a new streaming game service at the 2019 Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco this week. The tech giant will be making its foray into online gaming, joining Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo in a $140 billion industry.

Google has kept the project carefully under wraps and not much is known about the service, set to debut Tuesday, March 19. There is expected to be both a software and hardware component to Google's announcement. Last year, Google unveiled Project Stream, a game streaming platform that allowed gamers to play select titles at high internet speeds using just a browser and internet connection — novel software that bypassed the traditional use of a gaming console. On the software front is "Yeti", the nickname for Google's rumored subscription-based streaming platform that could create a cloud-oriented "Netflix of video games," for game aficionados to lose themselves in.

Google's head of hardware, Rick Osterloh, tweeted about GDC last week, increasing the likelihood that an actual game console has been developed by the search engine giant. According to Forbes, it's possible Google's device will be similar to the company's Chromecast digital media player, and will likely be a small, low-cost streaming device designed for connecting to a television and controllers of some sort.

Can't wait for GDC 3 19 19! https://t.co/Ybjg31Yh2G

— Rick Osterloh (@rosterloh) March 12, 2019

Google's rumored technology of cloud-gaming could be a breakthrough for the gaming industry. Right now, if gamers want to play a specific title, they need to buy both a bulky gaming console — either XBox, Wii, or PS4 — and then purchase a specific title as either a physical disc or download a large file. But if Google is able to change the equation with its own innovation of cloud-based gaming, one that requires only a small streaming device and controller, then gamers everywhere could be on the brink of experiencing a brave new world of gameplay.

First published on March 18, 2019 / 5:24 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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