Google Yeti: the game streaming service is real

Google Yeti is real. A Chromecast-related code might have confirmed the subscription-based game streaming service that was unveiled in February.

The open-source browser development is a reliable source to get a glimpse of “secret projects” Google is currently working on. The discovered code shows the need to fix the audio and video sync issues experienced with Chromecast, Google’s official streaming service. This is a must for a streaming service, especially one focused on gaming.

This is a technical piece of information that fails to provide details of the service, but “people behind Yeti” knows about it, according to comments on the code. The existence of a dedicated device that works closely with Chromecast has also been confirmed.

We cannot rule out the launch of a more powerful “gaming device” for Google Yeti. It would be surprising if such device worked with Chromium (therefore with Chrome). This might shake the multimillion dollar video game industry.

Game streaming

After revolutionizing audio and video, it is just a matter of time for game streaming services to make a massive impact. The idea is not new. A company runs games in its data centers and send them over to local machines via streaming. By doing so, a game can be played regardless of the device’s capabilities. We could even play games without directly using a device, like when we only use a smart TV, for example.

Companies like OnLive tried it a few years ago. Nowadays NVIDIA’s GeForce Now is the closets one to achieve the end goal: a low-demand game service capable of running games on the cloud even with low-end PCs. To understand it better, it is something like a “gaming Netflix” or, better yet, Amazon’s AWS cloud computing service but for gaming. After Microsoft’s official announcement about developing this kind of services, it is clear Google will not stay idle.

Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemot, one of the most prominent executives in the game industry, thinks the next generation of consoles will be the last one, as game streaming will take over. Studies know what is coming, the difficulties involved, the advantages in terms of development, the decrease of piracy, and a better adoption of titles that will not have to depend so much on a dedicated device in the future.

How would Google Yeti work?

The information about Google Yeti just fuels the speculation surrounding Google’s game streaming service. Such speculation began after companies like Sony, Microsoft and EA recently started hiring talent for their development, marketing and management departments. During the Game Developers Conference in March, Google’s representatives had meetings with several important video game companies to gauge their interest in Google’s streaming service.

The details known so far show a three-fold approach: 1) a streaming platform; 2) some sort of hardware; 3) an attempt to attract developers to work under Google. The first objective is hard on a technical level but not impossible for one of the companies with the most powerful data centers and global reach.

The second objective is easier. A good peripheral (controller, keyboard or mouse) locally created or provided by a third party, which any big company can do. At this point, we ignore if Google would go for a simple streamer (a Chromecast for games), some sort of dedicated console or if it will be capable of providing this type of service directly on a display or a browser tab.

The third objective of attracting developers able to create content for the platform is still a puzzle. Google might solve the issue by aggressively hiring people, buying small companies or signing deals with big studios.

Another important factor is related to connections. Streaming games is not as easy to do as it is for audio and video. Playing an AAA title with just a controller and a display and without any kind of delay requires really powerful servers and amazing connections to be able to work for millions of people. Users would also need a fast, high-quality local Internet connection.

Anyhow, Google Yeti is really interesting if we take into account the predictions for and the revolution created by game streaming in the following decade.

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