Categories: ChromebooksChromecastNews

Google Possibly Prepping a Streaming Game Service For Chromecast

Even as I typed that title, I have a hard time buying into it. At the same time, the idea of it has me incredibly excited!

According to a site called The Information (which is subscriber-only), news has spread pretty quickly across the internet of a project codenamed Yeti that Google is working on. The specifics aren’t completely solidified, but it seems something is definitely going on with this development.

According to an article over at The Verge, Google’s latest foray into gaming will be something similar to Playstation Now or Nvidia’s GeForce Now. These services don’t require immense hardware as they run a collection of games on high-powered servers that are streamed to your home. Instead of dealing with a massive console rollout, this approach would allow Google to use its existing infrastructure and massive cloud computing expertise to leverage great gaming with minimal hardware for the user.

Google’s recent aquisition of Phil Harrison (who’s been employed in leadership roles at both XBOX and Playstation) also signals that the company may be finally ready to get serious about gaming in a way that makes sense for the connected, cloud-based generation.

Hardware

The biggest question here is hardware. Early signs are pointing to a Chromecast-powered service being tested with Yeti. How that would work remains a bit of a mystery, however, as there would be no way to connect a controller to a Chromecast at this point. At least, not that we are aware of.

Bluetooth would be the most obvious choice for this connection, but there’s no indication that any Chromecast device has Bluetooth at this point. Perhaps a Chromecast update is upon us this year as we are well over 2 years since the last update if you don’t count the Chromecast Ultra (which is coming up on a year and a half in age).

If there was a way to connect a controller, streaming games on a Chromecast would be the ultimate lightweight gaming solution. Can you imagine being able to play console-quality games on a device that costs less than $50? The possibilities are tantalizing, to say the least!

Chromebooks and Gaming

If this streaming service was also available via Chromebooks, I wouldn’t be upset by that either. Sure, Android has added much in the way of gaming on Chromebooks. We also took a look at the state of webGL gaming on Chromebooks and that is promising, too.

However, if Google manages to pull this whole streaming game service off, there’s no reason Chromebook users wouldn’t be able to get in on the fun as well. If a Chromecast will be able to pull it off, a Chromebook will definitely be up to the task! Imagine being able to play high-quality 3D games on any Chromebook as long as you have a solid internet connection. I’d sign up immediately!

Remeber, all this is educated speculation at this point, but what fun speculation it is! We’ll keep an ear to the ground and update as soon as we hear or see any further developments.

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Robby Payne

Tech junkie. Musician. Web Developer. Coffee Snob. Huge fan of the Google things. Founded Chrome Unboxed because so many of my passions collide in this space. I like that. I want to share that. I hope you enjoy it too.

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  • Here's what's up I think. Now the Internet worldwide is getting so good, with low latency to Google servers, they can actually stream any advanced PC game to any Chromecast and Chromebook easily and the gaming experience feels as a local gaming machine.

    I filmed this video at CES with french Startup Blade with their Shadow cloud PC which is a huge Xeon server with Nvidia GTX1080 GPU, 12GB RAM, 256GB SSD on Windows 10 Pro, you can stream that machine "feels as a local machine" over the cloud. Price of that kind of remote gaming machine service is about $1 per day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMybwE_LIVY

    I think Google should acquire Blade and make it worldwide on their cloud. So on your ARM Powered Chromebook, you can stream a remote desktop and run apps like Adobe Premiere to edit 4K60 videos on a giant desktop performance, or play any advanced PC games, at up to 144hz even with 4K support. You just need at least 5mbit/s download bandwidth for it to work. It works great even on LTE.

    That's just one way this will happen, I also think Google should invest Billions in ARM Powered Android gaming. They can definitely stream those games too from the cloud even on the most basic Chromebook or Android phone. Using ARM powered servers they can develop very advanced GPUs on those ARM Powered servers to serve up very advanced games on the cloud. And those games can be fully compatible with any powerful ARM Powered phone, console, set-top-box too. And by streaming the games from the cloud, the performance and quality of the games can constantly be improved without needing to upgrade the Chromecast or Smartphone/Tablet you use to play.

      • Yes from my understanding, Blade Shadow is by far the best. I'm posting another video shortly from their UK launch at a pro gamers competition, the gamers didn't even realize they were playing over the cloud. They have tested with gaming champions and they can't feel the difference between Shadow and a local huge desktop gaming machine..

        With Shadow you remotely use a dedicated CPU, GPU, RAM, Windows 10Pro install, you're not sharing into a virtual machine.

        I don't know how Nvidias cloud gaming compares it might be good too. And I think Microsoft is preparing to launch something similar soon also.

        Shadow got over €50 million in investment thus far and I am sure they have shown their tech to Google a bunch of times, I don't know if there might be a partnership or acquisition as part of that rumored Google Yeti.

  • Hey Robby, your thinking is wrong. if it's true, Google will publish a dedicated app for that service, so gamepad can be connected to the smartphone. Chromecast doesn't need BT.

      • Wouldn't be, at least not worse than on GeForce Now. Technically it's the same service, only difference is that Google server is sending video to your Chromecast not smartphone/tablet. Love that idea!

  • I could see Yeti being a Jackbox type service used via Chromecast. In fact, that would make a lot of sense. No need for any new hardware.

  • Did you guys read the actual 'The Information' article which is the source of the Verge article?? Looks like the Verge didn't read the The Information article properly and so did you guys. The Information clearly said Chromecast 'was' one of the earlier thought for the services, Google currently want a full console more. Because there is no Console OS of Google yet most likely it will run modified Android TV.

    And why this site from the beginning of time thinks Chromecast runs Chrome OS?? Because it has Chrome in the name? Chromecast runs a modified version of Android (found by XDA after extracting the OS) and future version will most likely run by 'Android Things' OS.

    • No, I didn't read the original article because it requires a paid subscription to a site where I can't see enough of an article to tell whether or not it would be worth the money. I did read 4 other articles from reputable sites, so I suppose they are off base too. Being fair, I clearly said, "according to an article over at The Verge."

      As far as reporting on Chromecast things, our name is Chrome Unboxed and we talk about Chrome things, not just Chromebooks. At first, Chromecast was mainly utilized via the browser and Chrome Browser tabs, so regardless of the OS, we'll continue to discuss it here. Nowhere in this article did I say Chromecast runs Chrome OS, BTW and we don't currently contend that it does.

      From an article I wrote in September of 2016:

      "I’ve long wondered why they called it a Chromecast in the first place. Though called a “simplified version of Chrome OS” at first, it was later discovered that it shared more in common with Android than with Chrome OS. Maybe Chromecast just sounded better?"

      • Looks like only 9to5google read the actual article. I mainly use 'Chrome Unbox' and 'Cord Cutters News' site to read the news headline then search for that news on other sites because they trend to go off the rail frequently. I don't blame them they are small sites.

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