Skip the dedicated gaming console, Google

I was talking with a few colleagues of mine about Google's rumored plans, and one of them asked me, "Wait, Google TV still exists?" Of course, he knew that Google TV was still around -- he meant it as a joke at Google TV's expense. And the sentiment wasn't missed. Google TV has all but fallen off the radar since its debut, but companies like ASUS and Sony don't seem to mind. The former recently launched a new Google TV-based device, and Sony is getting ready to launch an "Internet Player with Google TV."

So, Google TV still exists. And, for the record, so does Apple TV. They're still out there, doing things, making some people's TVs better. It's a strange thing knowing this, though, when you hear that Google is apparently gearing up to launch Android on just about everything it can think of, while all the while leaving Google TV out of the picture. Seemingly completely.

But we'll get back to TV. First, let's talk about this report.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is planning on packing Android into things like their own smartwatch (which we've heard before), refrigerators and other appliances, as well as laptops. Basically, if Android can run on it, it sounds like Google is experimenting --if not outright planning-- with the idea.

That isn't a big surprise in the slightest, of course. The more things running Android and implemented by Google directly, the more things that have access to Google, and the more ways that Google has to earn money. The only issue I'm having with this is the one device I left out from that list right above.

A gaming console.

Indeed, the WSJ indicates specifically that Google is creating a gaming console running Android, much like we've seen from companies behind devices such as OUYA. However, obviously the Google created console would be a "pure Android" experience, and have access to things like the Google Play Store. So, that by itself is a good thing, and already gives it a leg over the competition. Yes, the fake device already has a leg over the released competition.

But, Google doesn't need to create a standalone game console. In fact, there's just no reason for it. There are at least two different avenues that Google could follow that would just make more sense. Let's start with the initial report, just to make it easy.

The report points to a Nexus Q successor, saying that Google is working on it now. We all remember what happened with the original Q, but if Google could sell it as the one media device to rule them all, giving you access to Google Now, Google Play services like Books and Movies, as well as offering up a ton of Android games? That would make the Nexus Q 2 look pretty attractive.

The other option? Google TV. I almost laughed out loud when I read the initial report, and it cited Google's moves to create a game console were manifested by the belief that Apple will be adding gaming to Apple TV at some point in the future. So, Google's plan is to just skip Google TV, skip the idea of adding gaming to the platform, and just make another box. Sure.

The truth is, you aren't going to avoid the comparison between an Android game console that's meant to be played in your home, and not on your phone or tablet, and a traditional video game console. And that's fine, because in the case of an Android game console, it should come down to pricing. If Google did make a Nexus Q 2 with full gaming capabilities, but priced it at around $150?

They could have Sony, or ASUS, or any other manufacturer interested in Google TV launch a new GTV product with full gaming capabilities, where your Android phone works as the controller, and price it at $200 or less and have an impact.

Just creating another box, especially one that's dedicated to one thing, isn't the right way to go -- not when Microsoft and Sony, and even Nintendo, already have that section of the house on lockdown. And, if Apple is indeed gearing up to bring gaming to their Apple TV in some dedicated fashion, then Google, update Google TV to do the same thing. Don't create another box.

In the end, I think the Wall Street Journal report is right, but may have just thrown too many separate devices out there. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Google is indeed combining gaming with Google TV, or even the Nexus Q 2, instead of creating a specific gaming console. But, crazier things have happened, right?

So tell me, would you buy a dedicated gaming console from Google? Would you buy one in place of something like the Xbox One or PlayStation 4? Or, how about the OUYA? Do you really want to play Android games on your TV? Let me know what you think.

Disqus Comments