Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, the surprising picks in the 2013 NBA draft, the crapiness of Wimbledon 2013, or Mayim “Blossom” Bialik reentering the singles scene, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Google plans to make its own Android videogame console. The reason behind the alleged move is that the company wants to compete with Apple’s alleged videogame efforts that will allegedly be in the next version of Apple TV. (That’s a lot of alleging, hey?) While the strategy makes sense using broad and basic strokes of logic, the videogame industry is complex, intricate, and changing rapidly. Do you think that Google should make a home console? Or should it skip out on a costly effort that would be difficult to “win.”
While Android has been a very successful mobile operating system, Google has relied on many hardware partners to make it so successful. Although the company has sold and marketed a line of Nexus products, those phones and tablets were meant as hero products. They were more for developers and tech enthusiasts, and definitely not for general consumers. A videogame console is a whole other ball of wax (not to be confused with the whole enchilada, the whole nine yards, or the whole shebang). I don’t see the point in making a hero Android console; Google’s game box (G-Box?) would have to be aimed at the mass market. Additionally, products like Ouya, Nvidia Shield, and GameStick will have a huge (in gaming years) head start on Google’s machine. While the videogame market is very different than it was five years ago and changing more every year, it has traditionally been unkind to hardware newcomers.
Then again, Google can learn a lot from the companies selling Android gaming systems and avoid several issues. Microsoft has shown that bullying your way into gaming with tons of money (original Xbox) can lead to amazing success (Xbox 360). Google certainly has tons of money and probably wouldn’t mind losing lots on a console that gives the company more data to target advertisements with. Lastly, a videogame box branded, designed, and marketed by Google is a potential powerful thing that could resonate with consumers.
On the third hand, a videogame console would need great hardware marketing and Google has shown to be incompetent with hardware marketing. A console would also require strong customer support and Google is really, really bad at this. After thinking about the WSJ article for several hours, I can think of 10 times as many reasons for Google not to enter the console business as I can reasons for the company to enter it.
What’s your take on the rumored Google Android console? Should the company get into the game? (*snicker*) Or should the company let its Android partners handle things?
2 thoughts on “Coffee Talk #593: Should Google Make an Android Console?”
I think they’d need software (games) developed exclusively for their machine. I think Apple will have to do this as well.
While I think the concept is cool, I don’t see this happening, or happening well. As Smartguy pointed out they would need exclusive software, which they could do, but I still don’t think their hardware distribution is really where it needs to be in order to pull this off. This would result in negative backlash against the system, which makes this an even harder battle for Google/Android. Honestly, I could see them do something like buying Roku and turning that into their Android gaming machine, along with being able to stream and do everything else the Roku player already does. Not that I think that is very likely, but it feels more up their alley.
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