The Future of Gaming on Google TV

Posted May 19, 2012 at 8:22 pm in Threads > Apps & Games

I thought that I’d bring up a somewhat different Android gaming subject, the future of gaming on Google TV. I actually know very little about the current state of gaming on Google TV, but it seems to me that it would be important if Google wants more widespread adoption of Google TV, and I understand that the Android Market is available on the platform.

Microsoft and Sony are adding video services to the Xbox 360 and PS3 that give them many of the capabilities of devices like Google TV and Apple TV. Gaming support on Google TV would make the platform more attractive to consumers who want the video features and would like also like to play some games on their TV. Google TV hardware isn’t nearly as powerful as current game consoles, and this is likely to continue in the future as both Google TV hardware and new consoles become more powerful, but on the other hand, it’s much cheaper. Hard-core gamers will want the power of consoles (and PC’s), but many consumers would be interested in less powerful systems that are less expensive, as we can see from the fact that Sony still makes the PS2.

There are a number of problems, of course. Most importantly, Google TV doesn’t seem to be all that successful, so developers aren’t motivated to make games for it. On the Xbox 360, the Xbox Live Indie Games market is much more open to developers than most other console game markets, but developers aren’t making much money on it, unlike, for example, the closed Xbox Live Arcade market.

Sony, the one Google TV hardware partner that has continued with it from the very beginning, may not be that interested in having Google TV become a significant gaming platform, since the PS2 and PS3 are probably more lucrative. Their portable consoles haven’t been as successful, so the approach they took with the Xperia Play and their Android tablets is less risky to them.

  • txbluesman

    I have Google TV and a PS3. I use my Google TV for just that. The internet, movies, tv, podcast, etc. I use my PS3 just for gaming or to watch a blu-ray. The hardware you would have to put into a set top box or tv for Google TV to do gaming would make the cost go up too much to make that work for an affordable price. The gaming systems are already charging more for the gaming hardware needed and to add the apps to watch movies (netflix) and such, is just an added feature that doesn’t take much to do. I think it is fine the way it is now, but who knows what can happen.

  • alee

    The idea wouldn’t be to compete with the Xbox 360 or PS3, or their successors. I don’t think that it makes sense to make Google TV more expensive (I think it makes more sense to make it cheap enough to have it built into more TV’s), but the current hardware should be capable of handling many kinds of games, including games that families could play together. It’s easier for people to get together to play in front of a TV than on a smartphone or a tablet. The main things that would be required would be adding controllers of some kind, and getting developers to make games for it, probably by adapting current Android games to a TV-sized screen, and the controls that are made available.

  • ghost5

    For ‘serious’ gamers google TV already has (or will do soon) OnLive which streams PC games to your box. You need a very internet connection for this which many parts of the world don’t have.
    But I also think that there should be more casual games for google TV like angy birds and farmville and family group games.
    The biggest problem is making controllers that are compatible. This may be possible if every google Tv box and TV came with standard bluetooth but as android is open source google can’t dictate minimum specifications

    • professandobey

      They wouldn’t need to dictate minimum specifications. If a company wanted to make a Google TV device that would be a viable gaming platform Bluetooth would be a no brainer. Don’t all current Google TV devices have Bluetooth anyways?

      • professandobey

        Cloud gaming is really the game changer that would what you describe possible. I think a combination of native casual games (like most Android games right now) and cloud gaming can really be a viable gaming device for all but the hardest core gamers, granted that they don’t really desire something unique like motion controls (wii, move & Kinect). The only thing preventing this from happening is a lack of marketing. People by and large would need to be told that Google TV devices can give you a solid gaming experience -in addition to a great media experience- then they’ll buy in.

  • professandobey

    With game consoles offering better and better media experiences, Google TV has to worry about non-gamers buying consoles just for media purposes. More than half my friends on Xbox Live at any given time are watching something, not gaming. And the 360 should be getting Internet Explorer pretty soon. I would wager Google TV’s success largely depends on how well it provides a gaming experience, especially as gaming is becoming more and more mainstream.

  • professandobey

    In fact, I think their niche could be a better console + tablet experience than the Wii U or PS3 + Vita. …unless it’s patented, of course. But if there is a good way to sync your Android phone or tablet with a Google TV in such a way as to play games like the Wii U or continue games on the go like the Vita, then you’d get a lot of people buying Google TV’s instead on those consoles. But again that depends on the execution of marketing.

    From what I can tell, a better version of the Vita’s ability to continue a game on the go is already achievable through OnLive with the app on both devices. Although, it wouldn’t be as smooth a transition until OnLive designs that kind of feature. And most Android devices controls aren’t as good as the Vita’s, but that could be remedied with somebody building a good portable conteoler.

    And for all you game devs on Android reading this, there’s nothing holding you back from doing this now, from what I can tell. You could be releasing Wii U like games before the Wii U is released; imagine the popularity you’d get for that. Or you could design your games to smoothly be picked up from one device to another.

  • professandobey PS3 + PS Vita Crossplay – MLB Wii U announcement trailer – E3 2011