Sony could be forced to move the PS5 release date forward, as a heavyweight competitor potentially enters the fray.
According to recent reports, Google is planning to release its very own video game console, codenamed Yeti.
Murmurings of a Google games console emerged after the search company hired Phil Harrison, who has previously worked for Microsoft and Sony’s gaming devisions.
And unlike the PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, the Google Yeti won’t play physical media, but will instead rely on streaming.
According to The Information, Google could even stream games to its existing ChromeCast hardware.
The company certainly has the resources to challenge Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, which would make for an interesting next-gen battle.
The streaming aspect is also interesting, because as we’ve seen with Microsoft’s recent Xbox Games Pass announcement, gamers can access a higher number of games at a cheaper price.
If Google becomes the first company to popularise video game streaming, then companies like Sony will need to react, potentially by bringing the PS5 release date forward.
As Express Online previously reported, video game publishers like Electronic Arts have already hinted at a digital future involving an access model instead of an ownership model.
“I think it’s inevitable that the gaming entertainment world will move in much the same way that the music and video entertainment worlds have already moved, in the sense that people have moved from an ownership model to an access model,” EA’s Chris Evenden previously said.
“And you’ll see that in gaming, just as you’ve seen it with Spotify and Netflix in other media businesses.
“That infrastructure barrier is still there, but it’s shrinking very rapidly,” he continued.
“And we think in the next couple of years, you’ll see some major technological announcements that will prove to be commercially significant in the next three to five years.”
With Xbox Games Pass and now Google Yeti, Evenden’s comments certainly seem to ring true.
As Evenden points out, not having to buy a new console would make it cheaper for gamers, and potentially expand EA’s audience.
“Right now if you want to play FIFA in the United States, it will cost you $460,” Evenden added. “You have to buy the game; you have to buy the console.
“In a streaming world, it could be $9.99 a month. The commercial details have to be worked out, but whatever number it ends up at is very much less than $460. So that extends your market, because all you need locally is literally a smart TV.”
It appears as if devices like Google Yeti would have the backing of big publishers like Electronic Arts, whose catalogue includes FIFA, Madden NFL and Battlefield.
The only other question is whether Google would develop its own games for the console, or rely solely on third-party releases.
What’s more clear is that big changes appear to be on the horizon and that this is an exciting time to be a gamer.
Nintendo has already blurred the line between handheld and home console, Microsoft is trying lots of new things, and Sony is sitting pretty with a huge userbase and a ton of high profile exclusives to come in 2018.
The addition of Google could shake things up even further and make for an entertaining next-gen battle.