In an age where privileged information can spill onto the internet in a matter of minutes, it's difficult for a tech company to keep a lid on future plans. So while Google has been sending out invitations to the tech media over the last 24 hours to attend a presentation next month at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, the details of its presentation appear deliberately vague.
But as The Information recently indicated, all signs point to the unveiling of a game streaming service currently code-named "Yeti," which is probably the next step beyond Google's Project Stream experiment from last year.
Project Stream launched a temporary public test back in October, wherein you could play Assassin's Creed Odyssey within the Chrome web browser, even if your device didn't have the horsepower to run such a visually complex game. That's because your device wasn't actually running the game. Instead, a server on the internet ran the game and sent you a kind of live video feed that you could interact with in real time.
Of course, running a game from a remote location like this causes a delay between your input and what you see happen on-screen with your game character, so there are tradeoffs. But during our testing, Google appeared to do a good job of minimizing network lag.
While it didn't look quite as sharp as running the game on the device itself, the visual quality was still much higher than we could have expected otherwise. Customers with full-fledged gaming PCs may not meaningfully benefit from something like Project Stream, but a retail version of it could be a boon to the vast majority of compatible devices that have more modest resources.
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And this second group of devices may well include mobile phones and tablets, as well as laptops and desktops. After all, Microsoft is doing this exact thing with its own Project xCloud, which is slated to stream Xbox games to your mobile devices. And given how invested Google is in the world of mobile, the next phase of Project Stream is highly likely to navigate this same territory.
Since we have some experience with Project Stream, we look forward to Google's GDC presentation on March 19; stay tuned for our take on whatever it is that they've got cooking.
- Google just sent out a number of media invitations to a presentation on March 19 at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco; indications are that this is about a game streaming service similar to that of Project Stream.
- While Project Stream was limited to laptops and desktops, it's likely that the event will unveil a streaming platform that also works with mobile devices -- which is something that Microsoft is also planning.
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