People are freaking out today at the prospect that Google is making a video game console. Since Android is open-source, hardware would-be players like Ouya and Gamestick are already beginning to fill the field by crafting their own gaming hardware on top of Google’s mobile operating system. My thoughts are lukewarm for a variety reasons I’m about to get into, but anyone expecting some kind of market disruption out of this needs to slow down on the headlines and Facebook posts, because a Google console can create more of a mess than it creates.
GOOD: Google Will Finally Make Android A Place To Put Games
Despite Android being the dominant player in the mobile wars, there just aren’t enough games. A lot of that has to do with fragmentation – there are just too many different pieces of hardware with too many different versions of Android. But what if Google could unite everyone under some standards that everyone can enjoy – or are already familiar with – and then promote the crap out of it.
But there’s a flipside to that…
BAD: Google Will Just Splinter Android That Much Further
You know what’s cool about gaming on Android versus iOS? Not much. You have fewer games, developers need to prioritize different sets of hardware over each other and if you have a lesser-known phone, it may not work properly at all for various reasons. Google adding yet one more specific device to the Android pool is just going to cause a bigger mess than it solves and no one will develop for it. Further still, people will get confused about which games will work Google’s game system, or works optimally for it.
Then there’s the fact that Google’s making stuff.
GOOD: Google Makes Good Products Now
Google’s still relatively new to crafting hardware, but they’re making not just good hardware, but clever hardware. While Motorola’s X-fone isn’t going to have the revolutionary features that the rumors were leading us to believe it had, people are still flying across the country to pick up their Google Glass (and pay $1500 for it!) and their Nexus devices are still primo.
BAD: No One Will Care, Like You
People: Android. Console. That inspires the limpest chub in the history of exhilaration. Who’s interested in a piece of hardware that will put the likes of the Ouya and Gamestick and whatever Mad Catz is doing into a pickle? That’s some pretty low stakes, folks. Let’s not even discuss how between Motorola’s new hardware and more third-parties making better devices with stock Android, Google’s rendering their Nexus line almost obsolete. I mean, they didn’t even reveal any Nexus anything during their I/O conference.
Realistically, I don’t care and neither do you.