Why Android TV could be the future of console gaming
Google's recent announcement of their TV-focussed fork of Android promises to revolutionise Smart TVs - even more so than LG's WebOS based system. Instantly we potentially have a library of thousands of apps that will need little or no modification to work.
However what REALLY has us excited is the potential for Android TV coupled with Nvidia's Tegra K1 processor powering a new, cheap games console - possibly built directly into your TV! OK, so Android games vary wildly in quality and we've already seen lukewarm attempts at creating Android-bases consoles with Ouya and Gamestick, but Nvidia's new processors are on a par with the likes of the XBox 360 and Playstation 3. Indeed, we've already seen Unreal Engine 4 demonstrations that look as good as any of the last generation console hardware.
Couple this with today's discovery of an interesting looking controller in the Android L Google I/O assets and we have the makings of a very promising looking gaming platform. In fact, the potential of using tablets and mobile phones as controllers make this even more versatile and interesting.What can an Android platform offer over traditional consoles? Well first of all, it's as close to an open eco-system as possible. It could be powerful enough to be the must have platform for indie games and with a potentially MASSIVE install base it won't be long before a number of key triple A games publishers jump onboard. Couple a TV-based system with a handheld or even mobile phone based platform that plays exactly the same games and you're instantly in an even better place than both PS4 and Vita or even the Wii U can offer.
We really would like to see Google do something about the huge amount of advertising in games for a platform like this - ideally there should be paid options for ALL games that have no advertising and NO in-app payments and there should be strict limits on what can be added to free versions; especially when those games are targeted at kids. But with some careful curation we think Google should be able to tackle these problems without closing down the ecosystem through penalising offending software rather than banning it outright.
Technically, there's no reason why an Android TV / Tegra K1 platform couldn't become a dominant player in the gaming space - in fact, we reckon it could be just what gaming needs to give us some NEW IPs and a bit more excitement as there will plenty of space for both the massive budget franchises AND the cheaper, original indie offerings.