Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Businesses The Internet Entertainment Games

Could Google Become a Game Publisher? 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the either-that-or-they-won't dept.
Forbes is running a story examining the possibility of Google becoming a games publisher. The launch of their Google Lively 3D world and the acquisition of in-game advertiser AdScape has analysts speculating on whether Google will use its enormous reach to tap into the lucrative games market. "Google also has several existing technologies that could be used to create games. Imagine a flight simulator that uses Google Earth as a backdrop or tracking a spy in a major city via Google Maps' street view. While there would still be significant work required to create a game using these tools, the underlying technology is already fundamentally finished."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Could Google Become a Game Publisher?

Comments Filter:
  • They could, yes. Will it happen? It's not likely to be anytime soon.
    • by Brad1138 (590148) *
      It's Google, is there anything they can't do?
      • by cbreaker (561297)

        No, not much. With a bankroll like Google has, they can pretty much do whatever the hell they feel like it.

        - They could start a pharmaceutical division - Google Pills
        - They could create their own car: Google Wheels
        - Their own airline: Google Air
        - Shoes: Google Steps
        - Toys: Google Smile
        - Fabric: Google Silk
        - Concrete: Google Hard
        - Trucks: Google Mac
        - Storage systems: Google IO
        - Telescopes: Google Sky
        - Cameras: Google View

        Wish I had 4bn to spend on bullshit too.

    • Yeah, but they won't. If they bought a company that inserts ads in games, it's to push their ads, not to make games, and that is so fucking obvious that the person who even thought Google would make games based on that must have their brains wired backwards.

      • by mcvos (645701)

        Yeah, but they won't. If they bought a company that inserts ads in games, it's to push their ads, not to make games, and that is so fucking obvious that the person who even thought Google would make games based on that must have their brains wired backwards.

        Why is that so fucking obvious? Yes, ofcourse they're interested in ads, but how do some of their other products fit into that? Like Google Earth, Gmail, GWT, Talk, Agenda, and now Chrome.
        In fact, wouldn't the high-performance javascript of Chrome make more complex web-based games possible?

        Google has a history of surprising us, so I'm not willing to rule out anything yet.

        • In fact, wouldn't the high-performance javascript of Chrome make more complex web-based games possible?

          Not really. Seen many games in Java these days? It has 3D and sound, though... but its perf still suck too much. So I'm not betting on Chrome's JS interpreter having better perfs than Sun's Java VM.

          • by mcvos (645701)

            In fact, wouldn't the high-performance javascript of Chrome make more complex web-based games possible?

            Not really. Seen many games in Java these days? It has 3D and sound, though... but its perf still suck too much. So I'm not betting on Chrome's JS interpreter having better perfs than Sun's Java VM.

            I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say here. Yes, for 3D games and other situations where performance matters, Java is no doubt much more suitable than javascript. But Java is not really web-based like javascript is. Javascript does DOM and Ajaxy stuff (which Google likes a lot), whereas a Java applet (a surprisingly unpopular way of running Java) is pretty much a desktop application surrounded by a website.

            Exactly why Java applets are so unpopular while javascript is, is a mystery. I do actually know

  • Good Lord (Score:5, Funny)

    by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot.davidgerard@co@uk> on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @05:27PM (#24952811) Homepage

    For goodness' sake. They have your business data, your bank account details, your medical information, your DNA sequence and your personal preferences in pornography [today.com]. Now they want your gamer chat?

    "Gamer chat: the unspeakable in pursuit of the incomprehensible" - Oscar Wilde.
      "stfu n00b" - Mark Twain.

    "LOL PWN3D G3T WOW GOLD ON EBAY.COM"

    • Everyone already knows my personal preferences in pornography and has my DNA sequence for the same reasons.

  • by amdpox (1308283) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @05:29PM (#24952841)
    ...after all, they'd have to run in a browser, would be supported by ads, and would steal all your sensitive information. And money. And clothes.
    • they'd have to run in a browser, would be supported by ads, and would steal all your sensitive information.

      Like just about all the other popular "flash" games on the net...?

    • by eln (21727) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @05:47PM (#24953139) Homepage

      they'd have to run in a browser

      Only until GoogleOS is completed. GoogleOS will run on the new GooglePC hardware platform, which you can purchase at your friendly neighborhood GoogleMart with GoogleBucks, which will replace most major national currencies by 2025.

      Of course, if you can't afford a new GooglePC right away, you can always get more GoogleBucks by installing AdSense to display context-sensitive ads on the forehead of your GoogleBody, which you can replace your regular body with free of charge (Google reserves the right to deep-scan your brain in order to more accurately target the advertisements displayed in your GoogleHouse in exchange for this valuable body replacement service).

      If you have any issues with any of your Google products, you can receive help on the GoogleNet. If that doesn't help, you can arrange a return by sending the item postage paid through GooglePost back to the GooglePlex for repair or replacement.

      By 2030, most major national governments will be replaced by the new GoogleGov (beta). Eventually, Google will work to replace various common words in most languages with "google" in order to continue the strengthening of the brand. This might initially google some minor googles, but in google most googles will google to the changes. After some google, life will google google google google google.

      Google,
      Google

      • Eventually, Google will work to replace various common words in most languages with "google" in order to continue the strengthening of the brand.

        gI think gThey would just add a silent g'G' in front of any gNouns.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Googlespeakfulaim keep googlethink and undo crimethinks. Googlespeakuse make plentfuler googlethinkers and unmake plentfuler crimethinkers. Googlespeak unspeak crimethink. Crimethinkfulwrds unis Googlespeak or is malrep. Googlespeak is speak pos unplentfulwrds

        Googlespeak doubleplusmaxgoogle doubleplusmaxgood. MSoft crimethink doubleplusungoogle doubledoubleplusmaxungood.

        Googlechrome processes doubleplusgooglegood, threads ungood doublemaxcrimethink.

      • by airos4 (82561)

        The only bitch with the return policy is that the shipping to the moonbase remains prohibitively expensive, so you're probably better off just buying new Googlestuff and dunping the old Googlejunk into a Googlefill somewhere.

      • ....doesn't anyone remember the Smurfs? Well, I smurfin' well remember those smurfy Smurfs! And if your memory's too smurfed up to smurf it, then you can just go smurf yourself, right up the smurfster! Smurf you, you smurfing smurfer!
    • by SQLGuru (980662)

      And the games would never get out of the beta phase.....

      Layne

  • by argent (18001) <peter.slashdot@2006@taronga@com> on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @05:30PM (#24952873) Homepage Journal

    When Lively started up almost any search would have several "full" rooms at the top of the results. There were multiple overflow rooms for every possible topic. Now, even on the weekend, there's rarely more than half a dozen people in any of the rooms.

    The google provided content has not changed in the past two months.

    There have been no API or builder tools released.

    It's going to need more than a Doubleshot to make it lively again.

  • Interesting... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by PunkOfLinux (870955)

    I know I ask this every time I see a game article...but...
    Will it run on Linux?

  • Multiplatform (Score:3, Insightful)

    by djveer (1179631) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @05:31PM (#24952899)
    I almost hope so, that way we'd have a few more multi-platform games on the market.
    • Re:Multiplatform (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Naughty Bob (1004174) * on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @05:41PM (#24953053)
      Gotta stick my oar in here- Whenever the old 'will this game run on Linux' question is asked, a bunch of, er, people weigh in with a load of pro-microsoft ranting.

      Fair enough, in that no serious PC gamer can really do without a Windows install somewhere on their drives.

      But they should realise that competition can only improve their own experience, regardless of which platform they chose to actually play on.

      I've played the same game, same settings, on both XP and via WINE, with higher FPS on the latter (though the other way around is more usual). Surely this should tell you something?...

      Competition is good for everyone.
      • Re:Multiplatform (Score:4, Insightful)

        by somersault (912633) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @06:10PM (#24953573) Homepage Journal

        True in most cases, but then again, look at the port of the source engine to PS3. Valve did the Xbox 360 port themselves but left the PS3 one to EA, who royally screwed it up. Competition is usually good, but developers can only stretch themselves so far.. I'd rather the competition be to make the actual games themselves great, rather than resources being split between too many platforms.

        Besides, the whole ethos of Linux itself promotes enough competition among the different components you can use for filesystem, graphics drivers and APIs, sound APIs, window managers, etc.. even if it became the dominant OS there would still be innovation taking place simply because people can mess about with it legally and without jumping through too many hoops.

      • Remember those times before the IBM PC became a standard? I don't since I'm only 17, but from what I hear, it sucked. Programs had to be written for 50 different instruction sets and could only really make use of the lowest common denominator. If linux or macs suddenly became popular among gamers, games would start to suck when designers waste time porting and reporting their graphics engines and whatnot. Competition at the platform level is not going to improve things at the program level.

        Perhaps it cou
        • by rk (6314) *

          Nah, it didn't suck at all. It was a lot of fun, actually. I assure you things were not made for the lowest common denominator. It was more games tended to be exclusive to the platform they were written on, though there were some exceptions. You were so resource constrained that bumming every byte of memory was essential. You have single drivers on your system today that would not fit on the entire computer in that era. 64k was a lot of memory, and most systems were in the 16-32k range. Today's USB cont

        • That didn't happen that much. Though there is a direct parallel to the current system war. the 360 is making the ps3s advantages meaningless since games are made for both systems. In computers however its not as big a deal since there isnt A mac and a pc. Also nothing is close to as proprietary, they can share alot of the basics to increase speed greatly.

      • Did the game that ran faster on WINE use OpenGL? Any other clues as to why it might happen occasionally that way as opposed to the other?

        Anyway, I'll admit I'm a Linux newbie, since I've only run knoppix and Ubuntu a little - and I mostly had a knoppix boot CD around to fix busted Windows machines. I'm pleased with how my Ubuntu 8 machine runs now, and I've been thinking about getting some flavor of Quake running on it, just to make sure I know how to get it to go. Surely waiting for Google to do in-bro

        • why haven't more gamers rallied for Linux versions?

          It comes down to limited resources and applying them to the platform where you'll see enough of a return for the investment. Linux for gaming is in a catch 22. You won't see major game development until the platform has enough users, and the platform won't have enough users without the games (not taking into account other uses of course).
      • I've played the same game, same settings, on both XP and via WINE, with higher FPS on the latter (though the other way around is more usual). Surely this should tell you something?...

        I'd like to know which game, because as soon as I see "more FPS in WINE than XP" I automatically think "LIAR".

        Now if you have an example, I'd be happy to believe it without further evidence, so I can rant later about the morons who can't even program games that run at least as well on WINE as on XP.

  • [Game show host voice]

    It's time for that new hit game show drum roll Google Truth or Consequences [slashdot.org] .

  • Sure! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Drakin020 (980931) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @05:38PM (#24953011)
    If it ever left Beta. :-D
  • I thought we used google as a game already. How about driving pages to the top of a search result, or crashing specific companies stock? The list goes on and on. Perhaps google search should have "shall we play a game" next to "I'm feeling lucky".

    --
    So who is hotter? Ali or Ali's Sister?

  • But they'd seriously have lost all focus if they did become a publisher. They probably would be the next Yahoo.

    Realistically, they'll probably sell advertising to video game publishers. Lots of companies have tried this and done it quite poorly. Google might be able to do it better.

  • Yes and No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @05:53PM (#24953255) Journal
    A good game has a good concept, content, gameplay and eye candy. What Google has is just eye candy, and from a gamer's perspective it's not even very good eye candy.

    They are not really any closer to being a game publisher than any other company, though they can throw a lot of cash at the problem to get there. If they want to publish games, I am sure they can make that happen. Whether they'll be succesfull games is anyone's guess.
    • Cyworld...

      If they look at CyWorld:

      http://us.cyworld.com/ [cyworld.com]

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyworld [wikipedia.org]
      http://www.squidoo.com/cyworld [squidoo.com]

      Or, for those of you who can speak Hankuk, or have Korean ID/work authorization, you can set up an account and check out the Korea-focused CyWorld

      www.cyworld.co.kr

      Google might decide they could "animate" the data search. Make it interactive. If you say, search on ships, then instead of you wading through links, they'd present you with icons or images of several eras or types of ships, an

    • by mcvos (645701)

      A good game has a good concept, content, gameplay and eye candy. What Google has is just eye candy, and from a gamer's perspective it's not even very good eye candy.

      Google isn't a content provider, they provide services. I think if Google is really going into game development, they'll be writing engines and frameworks for others to use, and others (companies, fans) will develop the actual storylines and gameplay.

      And Google will analyse which games people play, and how they play them, and figure out some way to make money from that data.

      Ofcourse the engines will be open source and work on every platform. Or perhaps they'll be in javascript.

  • Next up gSteam! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by faloi (738831) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @05:58PM (#24953373)
    I could see Google doing some sort of distribution mechanism like Steam, only having bucketloads more cash to throw around to get publishers to adopt to them as a delivery mechanism.
  • Most google products can have some edge related to improving search or finding (sometimes new) relevant information. For some games that have no meaning.

    But a "game" that somewhat takes, improves and enables you to interact with real-world info, in a fun way, could fit in that scheme.
    • by the_B0fh (208483)

      Sez who? Why with Google Earth:World of WarCraft edition, you can search for the nearest Gold Miners and Exp Exercisers and subcontract your boring work to them. And with Google Spy Satellite: WOW edition, you can keep tabs on your partners to make sure they're not having WOWSex.

  • Google Earth already has a flight simulator. [google.com] It's nothing polished, certainly, but I thought it was a funny coincidence that the article would suggest one.
  • Snow Crash (Score:5, Interesting)

    by darkvizier (703808) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @06:30PM (#24953905)
    I wouldn't say games, per se. But I definitely see google having interest in creating an online simulated world, ala Second Life, or more ambitiously, Snow Crash. If they are the ones to make something like that a reality, they could see immense business growth and climb far above any 'competition'.
  • This sounds like a fun game... can I play too?

    Google's should get into the business of ...

    • ... Operating Systems
    • ... Video Games
    • ... Election machines
    • ... Hybrid Vehicles
    • ... Hookers
    • ... Blackjack

    Some days Slashdot just makes me weep for the future of the planet...

    • i was scrolling down just scanning stuff and i went back and re-read this cause originally i thought you had written

      "Some days Slashdot just makes me weep for the future of my pants..."

    • by gknoy (899301)

      Google's should get into the business of ...
      [x] Operating Systems
      [ ] Video Games
      [x] Election machines
      [ ] Hybrid Vehicles
      [ ] Hookers
      [ ] Blackjack

      Google's savvy is such that I expect they could make (or implement) and (more importantly) lobby for election machines that don't suck. It'd be better than the muppets at Premier Election Solutions (Diebold).

      Google's OS would be interesting... not sure I want it, but they think about computing in a Different Way (due to scale) than many of us do, and that could be

  • by morrison (40043) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @08:26PM (#24955219) Homepage

    Google is already a direct investor in games by funding open source gaming projects in the Google Summer of Code. Those participating this year included BZFlag, Battle for Wesnoth, Second Life (Linden Labs), Thousand Parsec, WorldForge, and ScummVM.

    That roughly amounts to Google directly funding about 8 staff-years of development effort into open source gaming this year. Pretty damn cool if you ask me.

    You can see some of the results from BZFlag's participation last year at http://my.bzflag.org/gsoc/BZGSoC2007.pdf [bzflag.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by morrison (40043)
      Oops, wrong link! The write-up of BZFlag's participation is at http://my.bzflag.org/gsoc/bzflag_gsoc2007_post_mortem.pdf [bzflag.org] (15.5MB PDF) Since I'm tossing out links, this one is a simple summary of the program: http://my.bzflag.org/gsoc/GSoC2007_Overview.pdf [bzflag.org] (1.7MB PDF)
    • ... about, hmm, about two Bejeweled clones, one-third to one-fourth of a Nintendo handheld strategy game, or a wing of an instance in WoW.

      A titanic presence in the gaming industry 8 man-years is not. (It also vanishes into Google's petty-cash budget. Compare it to, say, Microsoft's spending on gaming. OK, that was unfair. Compare it to the US Army's spending on gaming. OK, that was unfair too. Compare it to, say, the flash games produced under a Department of Education grant for who can best teach the

      • by morrison (40043)

        There's no claim that it is a titanic presence, but GSoC isn't a one-off payment or investment of effort either. Unlike most of the things you're comparing to, these open source projects aren't going away, already have a well-established presence with an active community, and the investment does make a positive impact. Also, GSoC is an annual program that's been going on for four years now and you're comparing to multiple year efforts.

        America's Army cost roughly $6M-8M over 3 years of development which, a

  • Why? Because the next BIG mmorpg that really has a change to rival WoW is going to need a massive amount of investment AND tech resources that only a few companies could really muster. IBM, Google, perhaps MS. IBM because it already does the back end for MMORPG's and got the know-how for big servers handling massive tasks and running a trully massive MMORPG with all its transactions is remarkably similar to the requirements of its current business products.

    Google because they again, know how to build a mas

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

Working...