Why Google Could Win the Console Wars

Jul 5, 2013
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Why Google Could Win the Console Wars

If Google TV taught us anything, it’s that the search giant has some interest in competing in the living room. The company’s platform, which runs on set-top boxes and televisions, is designed to run atop the user’s television service and deliver full interactivity with both that programming and all of the entertainment options available on the Web.

When Google TV was announced years ago, everyone knew that it was an ambitious project. But Google seemed focused on breaking into the living room and succeeding.

Now that Google TV has become a loser, rumors are swirling that the search giant is considering jumping into the console market. The device, according to the rumor mill, would possibly run on Android and come with complete access to the games currently available in the Google Play marketplace. And since it’s Google, the rumor mill argues, it might just have a chance at becoming a hot commodity in the gaming market.

But I think it could go much further than that. The way I see it, Google might just become the console market’s most dominant force if it launches a console. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

Looking at the console market, things are tough. The current generation of devices are losing steam and the Wii U, which should be selling quite well right now, is proving to be a loser.

That’s the first good thing for Google. Chances are, an Android-based console would initially appeal to the more casual gamers. And since Nintendo isn’t able to do that any longer, there’s a massive void left for Google and its own console to capitalize.

[aquote]Google, unlike Microsoft, has been able to look like the good guy[/aquote]

Then there’s the issue of Microsoft. Although the software giant has become less of a threat to the average company, it’s still viewed unfavorably by millions of people around the globe. And Google, unlike Microsoft, has been able to look like the good guy against the evil software company.

That’s especially true in certain parts of Asia, where the Xbox 360 has been selling quite poorly over the years. Sales are abysmal in Japan, which is why Microsoft pushed back the country to "tier 2." And Japan is really the crown jewel in the Asian gaming market.

A Google console could pick up the gamers in countries around the world that don’t want to invest in an Xbox for one reason or another. In some cases, it’ll be because of Android. In others, it’ll be all about Microsoft hatred. In still others, it would be the cheaper price on an Android console. Regardless, there’s a good chance Google could win over the gamers that Microsoft cannot.

Lastly, I think we need to fully understand the impact Android can have on the console market. It’s an operating system that’s already in use by millions around the globe. And porting games from that platform to a console wouldn’t be all that difficult. Best of all, the platform would launch with thousands of games in its library – a first for the console market.

If Google knows what it’s doing, the company will make it easier for gamers to play a title on their Galaxy S4 and then pick it up on their console at home. The company would also provide enough firepower in the console to handle both mobile games and more sophisticated titles that larger developers might want to deliver. And since the console is running on Android, there’s a good chance it’ll be cheaper than its competitors.

Sorry, but I don’t see anyway that an Android console wouldn’t succeed. And if it comes from Google, there’s a solid chance that it’ll have an even better chance of dominating the console market.

Like it or not, gamer preferences are changing. And now is the time for Google and its Android platform to capitalize.


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