On Tuesday, Google announced a mysterious keynote at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on March 19th. The event comes as the Project Stream beta of a AAA console title ended in January, and amid the year-long rumors of Project Yeti. We can now confirm that Google plans to announce gaming hardware next month.
According to a source familiar with the matter, next month’s event — which Google calls a “keynote” — will feature both the game streaming service powered by the Project Stream technology, and hardware to go along with it.
The three-month demo of Stream allowed users to play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in Chrome for Mac, Windows, and Linux, as well as Chrome OS. Besides the web browser and optional wired PlayStation or Xbox controllers, the only other requirement was a 25 megabit per second internet connection.
Stream demonstrated that the underlying technology behind streaming games from Google’s servers directly to users works. It also showed that dedicated hardware beyond a PC is not needed.
However, the demo is only one part of Google’s broader gaming efforts, known as Project Yeti. First reported by The Information last February, a hardware component to get Yeti working on televisions is also in development.
While the promise of streaming is that the device you are playing on becomes a thin Chromebook-esque client, most gamers — even casual ones — equate the experience to a large screen and dedicated controller. Hardware for Yeti was reportedly once a Chromecast dongle, but has since been described as a “gaming console” and controller designed by Google.
Kotaku last June confirmed that hardware is in development, and reported that Google has been in talks with big video game developers to gauge interest for the platform.
Another source last year confirmed to us that a “few” studios have worked with Google to port existing games for internal testing, including one historically popular title. Furthermore, as of late 2018, we were told that the upcoming roadmap for Yeti is being locked down.
The announcement will come just over two months after the public Stream trial came to a close. However, Google has been beta testing the full Yeti streaming service internally, and we’ve heard that it includes in-game chat.
Google’s GDC keynote is on March 19th at 10AM. 9to5Google will be at the event to provide live coverage.