Editor's Note: Google's Yeti Platform has been revealed as Google Stadia, a high-powered cloud-based gaming service. Want to know more? Click here.
Google is getting ready to make a big push into gaming — and soon we'll know exactly what it looks like.
Rumors have been bubbling for over a year about Google's "Yeti" platform, which could be a Netflix-style game streaming service that lets us access tons of AAA games on just about any device thanks to the power of the cloud. Later in 2018, Google released a beta version of its Project Stream service that did exactly that, allowing gamers to stream Assassin's Creed Odyssey in all its graphically rich glory, even on low-end PCs.
Now, with a major keynote planned for March 19 at the Game Developers Conference, Google is ready to fully unveil its vision for the future of gaming. Until that happens, here's everything we know so far about Google Yeti.
What is Google Yeti?
Rumors of Google Yeti first surfaced in an early 2018 report from The Information, which suggests that Google is building a "subscription-based game streaming service" that would stream games to Google Chromecast as well as a possible Google-made console.
Later in 2018, a Kotaku report citing five different sources added further weight to this rumor, claiming that Google is working on both a streaming platform as well as its own console-like hardware. The company reportedly met with a variety of notable gaming companies at GDC 2018 to "gauge interest in its streaming platform," and may be looking to get major developers under its wing via either partnerships or acquisitions.
Kotaku notes that details on Google's actual hardware are sparse. But if it's built to work with the company's streaming platform, it's likely that it'll have lightweight specs that are more in line with devices such as the Shadow Ghost and not as beefy as a PS4 or Xbox One.
When is Google Yeti coming out?
Google has yet to give a release date for its upcoming gaming service, but we may get one at the company's GDC 2019 keynote. That kicks off on March 19 at 1 p.m. EST and will likely be livestreamed, so keep an eye out for the latest details.
On March 12, Google posted a brief YouTube teaser for its GDC event. The video provides quick glimpses at a variety of virtual environments, including a cave, a concert venue, a garage, an aircraft and a castle, perhaps hinting at the range of games that will be available on the service. The video's description asks folks to tune in on the 19th "as we unveil Google's vision for the future of gaming."
One day ahead of its keynote, Google's already teasing its new hardware, with an exhibit area in the Moscone West convention center that features an empty display stand, which will presumably hold the hardware it reveals. A nearby screen reads "All will be revealed."
What's up with that Google controller?
An image of Google's alleged gaming controller for Yeti started making the rounds in early March, but it was quickly discovered to be a fan mockup based on some Google patents from 2014. While it's entirely possible that Google may be building its own controller for its streaming/gaming service, that picture you've been seeing online is anything but legit.
Will Google Yeti be a success?
It's too early to tell if Google's cloud-based gaming push will be a success, but based on our hands-on time with Project Stream in fall 2018, the company's technology is off to a promising start. We tested Project Stream on an underpowered, 8-year-old laptop, which allowed us to run Assassin's Creed Odyssey right from the Chrome browser in 720p at a fairly respectable frame rate.
There was a bit of lag during our playtime that could have been related to our internet speeds. But the fact that a new AAA game was running fairly well on an ancient PC wowed us enough for Project Stream to win one of our 2018 Innovation Awards, and has us eager to see what types of streaming experiences Google may deliver in the future.
Credit: Robert Hickerson for Tom's Guide
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.