Google Set to Reveal Video Game Streaming Service

As online gaming grows (and disc-based video games decline), tech/media giants such as Google and Apple are eyeing the $100 billion industry for new cloud-based streaming platforms.

Google is reportedly set to disclose a streaming platform March 19 offering high-end games across all platforms, including Android, iPhone, Mac, Chrome, Windows 10 and TVs at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The search behemoth teased a YouTube video about it.

The company, which would enable users to buy games directly from the TV screen or portable media device, will also unveil a gaming controller (and possibly a console) that could be used with a smart TV.

The move comes as the gaming industry – dominated by Sony (PlayStation), Microsoft (Xbox) and Nintendo – grapple with changing consumer habits and distribution revolving around their longstanding gaming consoles.

Google’s service could enable users to play top games without having to buy an expensive console.

“Cloud gaming will enable publishers to broaden their reach even further by potentially taping into new audiences on any device and any screen,” Thomas Husson, analyst with Forrester Research, told CNBC. “Beyond music or video, gaming represents another opportunity to offer recurring streaming revenue for companies in the gaming ecosystem. For cloud platforms like Amazon, Google or Microsoft, it will also become an opportunity to offer cloud storage and services to game publishers, who spend more and more in their IT infrastructure.”








Oculus Partnering With Chinese Firm to Build, Market VR Headsets

Oculus, the virtual reality device company owned by Facebook, has partnered with Chinese-based Xiaomi to manufacture and market two new smart VR headsets – one exclusively to the Chinese market.

A smart VR headset is described as a standalone, multi-purpose device that is designed to be worn on the face and not carried, runs an operating system, and can run third-party computing applications.

The Oculus Go ($199) will be marketed globally this year, while the Mi VR Standalone headset will be sold in China. Both devices feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 mobile VR platform.

Mi VR Standalone shares the same hardware and software features and design as Oculus Go, thus enabling existing Oculus developers to bring their content to China.

Facebook, which acquired Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion, has been challenged to see much of return on its investment.

It reportedly sold fewer than 400,000 Oculus Rift units in 2016, which was less than competitors HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR.

That said, Canalys forecasts standalone smart VR headset shipments will pass 1.5 million in 2018, reaching 9.7 million units in 2021. Standalone VR headsets are expected to help push the VR headset market to 7.6 million units in 2018, twice the shipments forecast for this year.