Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo might want to brace themselves. Googleis about to enter the lucrative video game sector with its Project Stream.
At next month’s Game Developer’s Conference the search engine giant will reveal details about its game streaming service. The company Tuesday morning sent invitations to its March 19 GDC keynote address, but did not confirm the subject of its talk.
Industry insiders tell Fortune, however, the event will be the coming out party for Google’s entry into the video game space—and the company is spending heavily to get publishers on board.
The gaming unit is expected to be a Netflix-like streaming service, building on the success of Project Stream. Games are run on cloud servers and streamed directly to players’ PCs, tablets, TVs, or pretty much anything with a screen. That’s fairly typical with films and programs these days, but the interactive nature of games (and the historically laggy qualities of most internet connections ) have made it impractical.
Google has had a presence in the mobile gaming world, but this project will put it in competition with several key industry players, both in the console space as well as PC gaming stalwarts, such as Steam and the fast-growing Epic Games store.
The search giant is expected to be the first of many non-traditional companies to enter the gaming space, which in In 2017 saw U.S. consumers spend $36 billion on video games, according to the latest numbers from the Entertainment Software Association. A decade before, the industry posted $9.5 billion in retail sales.
A Verizon has tests for a similar service underway. And Apple and Amazon are both expected to enter the market in the near-to mid-future.
Details about Google’s project were not available. A similar service from Sony, called PlayStation Now, gives players instant access to a library of 650 games (mostly older, catalog titles) for $99 per year. And later this year, Microsoft will begin public trials of Project xCloud, which will let players stream Xbox One games to computers, phones and tablets.