Report: Google making a gaming console

Google is entering the game console business to avert Apple from gaining a major foothold with its anticipated new home entertainment products, press reports say.

The original Nexus Q

Google is entering the game console business to avert Apple from gaining a major foothold with its anticipated new home entertainment products, press reports say.

Apple could be facing a zero sum strategy from rival Google, which is preparing to launch an Android OS-based video console and smart watch to match Apple's rumored projects , The Wall Street Journal reported today. There is a years long rumor that Apple is making a television, spurred on by an admission by Steve Jobs in his official biography. The watch rumor is more recent, but I'm now led to believe that it does indeed exist from off-the-record conversations with industry sources (read: I know more but can't tell - yet).

Apple has a proven track record of introducing (or reinventing) product categories, and then rocketing ahead from early adopters into being the dominant vendor among early and late majorities. That has changed in recent years as Android has matured, so Google has doubtlessly learned that it can't let Apple lead the market from the get-go.

The Journal said that Google is reviving its the Nexus Q streaming media player, repurposing it as a video gaming console. Think of it as an Apple TV with third party apps and games. It would give Google an answer to an updated Apple TV, Apple set top box (that cable providers would presumably use), or Apple all-in-one TV.

It's most likely that Apple will first open Apple TV to developers, making it a more viable member of the iOS product family. Apple currently only permits pre-loaded apps that interface with iTunes and a handful of select content providers.

Reading the tea leaves, it's clear that something is coming. Apple needs to respond to Microsoft and Sony, which are introducing more integrated user experiences (digital and social media) with their upcoming consoles. So does Google for that matter. Apple and Google have big data centers, so their advantage over traditional console makers could be lower cost hardware that interfaces with powerful servers over the Web.

Would you buy a US$499 Xbox if you were a more casual gamer or could get the same user experience through the cloud? Home hardware might soon become a moot point as broadband Internet gets faster.

I'm leaping ahead, but what we do know so far is that Apple has partnered with Logitech and MOGA to make game controllers and has modified iOS 7 to support game controllers. It's safe to say there's more gaming on the roadmap if developers have been given the information that they need to build the apps.

Google knows that too.

(image credit: CNET)

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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