Google has a big surprise planned for its unveiling event on March 19, and a recent software update to the Google Chrome browser suggests Nintendo has something to do with it.
We’re expecting Google to be formally announcing a consumer-ready version for Project Stream, its incoming streaming platform for video games that runs directly through the popular Google Chrome browser.
But an update to Google’s Chromium OS, on which the Chrome browser is based, has now added support for Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con and Pro Controllers, in both wired and wireless configurations.
While Google has already patented its own controller design, likely to be used in tandem with the service, expanded controller support for rival console-makers will be crucial to drawing in a wide audience used to playing with particular hardware.
It would be unusual for Nintendo to license out its own first-party games to another platform – given how it relies on the likes of Zelda and Mario to sell its own consoles – but giving players the option to play multi-platform releases with Nintendo Joy-Cons seems like a small concession.
Streaming to a PC near you
Game streaming is increasingly looking like the future – if not the present – of video games.
Valve’s ‘Steam Link Anywhere’ platform (now in beta) lets you stream Steam games to Android, Steam Link or even Raspberry Pi devices. And Microsoft has made no secret of its streaming ambitions, with a dedicated Project xCloud platform and rumored disc-less Xbox console for streaming games.
Google certainly has the clout to make an impact on the gaming landscape, though it’s already looking like Project Stream has a fair few competitors. As ever, it may come down to whether Google manages to offer a rounded, fully-functioning streaming platform before anyone else.