Opinion: Google doesn't need to build a games console. It's already got millions of them out there

Set-top boxing

Opinion: Google doesn't need to build a games console. It's already got millions of them out there

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is working on a games console.

Far be it from me to be presumptuous, but if that's true, I reckon Google is heading down the wrong alley.

Right now, you see, you've already got a little slice of gaming's future in your pocket or on your desk next to you at work.

That rectangular slab of plastic, glass, and metal bits that you use to make phone calls, send selfies to your friends, and play match-three puzzle clones is a ridiculously powerful piece of hardware.

And every six months or so, a new, more powerful one rides into a town near you.

Growth spurt

We are potentially at the beginning of a tremendously exciting cycle of growth and innovation, as we find new and ever-more exciting things to do with our smartphones and tablets.

These touch-friendly devices from the likes of Apple, Samsung, Sony, and Nokia are already capable of running near-console quality games such as XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

And as processors shrink in size and get more powerful, the gap between the computer in your pocket and the console under your TV is set to diminish.

So, why WOULD Google bother making a traditional games console?

Games box 320

Look at Ouya. The little box that could. Ready to take on the big boys in the console arena with its scrappy free-to-play model and dirt-cheap price point.

The problem is that Ouya v.1 is underpowered. And in a year's time, it's probably going to be obsolete.

That's partly because we've already got more powerful computing devices rubbing against spare change, lint, and keys in our pockets.

A couple of weeks ago at E3, both Microsoft and Sony confirmed that they are heavily invested in 'second-screen experiences'.

They know you've got your phone or tablet with you when you play on your Xbox 360 or PS3, so they're trying to tap into that by adding an extra layer of connectivity.

If Google's smart, it'll just take that second-screen notion one step further.

Give me a set-top box running Android that connects wirelessly to my phone and uses its processing power to create great gaming experiences, and I'll be approaching video game nirvana.

Create a connection standard so that any Android device I buy in the future will be able to connect up to said set-top box, and I might just love you forever.

You get what you keep paying for

If The Big G sells the box for peanuts and offsets the hardware losses via a monthly or yearly subscription to an Xbox Live-esque service, it could be in business.

Especially if I'm able to connect to the box using any controller of my liking. Yep, I'm talking Xbox controllers.

I'm already upgrading to a new Android phone every 18 to 24 months, which is the sort of upgrade cycle that console manufacturers can only dream of.

If that phone is my home console as well, then I've even more reason to stick with Android devices in future.

Give us a full-featured set-top box, Google, and we'll be excited for a while. Give us a full-featured set-top box that evolves in ways we can only imagine, and we'll be excited for years to come.

Harry Slater
Harry Slater
Harry used to be really good at Snake on the Nokia 5110. Apparently though, digital snake wrangling isn't a proper job, so now he writes words about games instead.