Google will reportedly reveal its gaming hardware for Project Yeti at the Game Developers Conference on March 19, 9to5Google reported, citing a source familiar with the matter.
Google recently sent out mysterious invitations for a press event at GDC 2019, without giving any hints as to what it will be about. A source told 9to5Google that the keynote will feature both the Project Stream game streaming service and a console that will utilize it.
The three-month demo of Project Stream, which ended in January, allowed users to play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey right on their Google Chrome browsers on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS. The only requirement beyond Chrome was a 25 Mbps internet connection, with wired controllers optional.
Project Stream showed that the technology to stream games from Google’s servers works, and that there is no need for dedicated hardware to run AAA titles. However, Project Stream is just part of Google’s broader gaming efforts, known as Project Yeti.
The plan for Project Yeti is for Google to run high-performance titles, such as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, on its own machines, and then stream them to a device owned by players. The Project Yeti hardware reportedly started as a Chromecast dongle, but it has since evolved into a gaming console and controller that were designed by Google.
Project Stream was tested by the public for three months, but Google is said to have been beta testing the full Project Yeti streaming service internally. The service will also reportedly include an in-game chat function.
The Project Yeti console, which will likely be a streaming-only device, is presumed to be cheaper than dedicated gaming consoles such as the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. This will soften the barrier of entry into current-generation gaming, even if a subscription fee for the streaming service is expected.
There was a report last summer by Kotaku that Google representatives held meetings with large game companies over Project Yeti. With the planned press event at GDC 2019, Google might be revealing not only a new console and game streaming service, but also which studios have signed on to have their games included in the catalog.