Credit: Wachiwit / ShutterstockEvidence that Google plans to introduce a game streaming platform continues to mount. The company updated Chrome OS yesterday with support for the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and various Joy-Con configurations, which could mean it plans to let players use Nintendo’s controllers to play games streamed via its platform.
The update comes shortly after renders purporting to show a game controller Google patented in October 2018. (It wasn’t publicly revealed until the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published the application on January 31.) Combine that with Google’s mystery event at GDC 2019, and a game streaming platform seems likely.
It’s not clear what this platform might be like. Google could be planning to introduce an Android-based console that streams games via Chrome. It might just be planning to bring game streaming to Chrome no matter what device it’s used on. We should know more after the company makes its GDC 2019 announcement on March 20.
We can all but rule out one possibility, though, which is that Google and Nintendo have partnered up for Chrome-based game streaming. Nintendo is more collaborative than it has been in the past–it now makes mobile games and even streams titles in China through an Nvidia partnership–but it still holds tight to its IP.
Instead, adding Pro Controller and Joy-Con support to Chrome OS seems more like a concession to the fact that people already own plenty of game controllers. They might not want to buy Google’s controller–especially if it looks like the renders we saw earlier this month–because they already have a bunch of others to use.
It’s not like we’d expect a Valve game streaming platform to offer Nintendo titles just because Steam supports the company’s gamepads. (Among many others, including PlayStation controllers.) But, then again, we never thought we’d see Mario on an iPhone, and here we are. We’ll just have to see what Google has planned.