Will the PS5 release date be upstaged by another tech titan entering the games market?
That’s what some experts are pondering, with the latest news supporting the idea that Google could launch their own gaming venture.
When it comes to the next big releases we already know about, it’s not clear exactly when Sony are planning to launch their new console, or what it might include.
It’s almost certain that the PS5 will be compatible with a VR headset, and will likely push for a good level of 4K support.
And when it comes to a release date, the latest reports suggest Sony are prepared to hold back their plans until 2020.
This is due to the PS4 and PS4 Pro selling well, although, this could all change if Microsoft move to release the Xbox Two earlier than expected.
But could all the major players be caught out by a surprise Google Gaming announcement?
It would certainly make big news if it was revealed, with Google having plenty of muscle to back a new hardware venture.
A lot of this stems from the company’s recent choice to hire games industry veteran, Phil Harrison.
Now vice president and general manager at Google’s California headquarters, Harrison is known for his long commitment as being head of Sony’s games studios.
As such, he’s played a vital role in shaping the Sony PlayStation brand, having also spent a couple of years working with Microsoft’s Xbox team.
These kind of credentials would make him a perfect fit for a company looking to take on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Two and Nintendo Switch Mini.
But even though Google could be readying for a big games launch, there’s also the chance that they might be heading in a different direction.
Harrison will be reporting to Rick Osterloh, whose current hardware teams design Pixel smartphones, Google Chromebooks, smart speakers and Daydream virtual reality headsets.
And Lewis Ward, research director for gaming at consulting firm IDC, recently told Reuters that Google could be looking toward augmented reality as their next big push.
“Google realizes it has a big opportunity in the intersection of augmented reality and artificial intelligence on smartphones,” Ward said.
“I suspect Phil is managing a team to pull together disparate internal efforts and focus it in direction that will answer where Apple is going and where Amazon could go.”
Andy Kleinman, chief executive officer of gaming hardware startup Wonder, also backed Harrison to move the company toward something of a more cemented outlook for a potential gaming future.
“Maybe Phil is the answer to a longer-term vision that brings together all their scattered efforts into something big,” Kleinman commented.
Neither Google nor Harrison have provided much information on what might come next, with the new VP posting on Twitter: “Excited to be able to share that today I’ve started a new role as Vice President and GM of Google – and relocating (back) to California.”
It seems that a lot of analysts aren’t backing Google to build a traditional games console, but are instead predicting a bigger push on “experience” hardware.
This could mean that whatever new device or hardware they’re dreaming up, it will likely have some kind of gaming support.
Be that Augmented Reality, or VR gaming, which are both still in the very early stages of development and support.
It should also be noted that Google announced the acquisition of an engineering division last year from HTC, costing $1.1 billion.
At the time of the deal, Osterloh commented: “With this agreement, a team of HTC talent will join Google as part of the hardware organization.
“These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we’ve already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we’re excited to see what we can do together as one team. The deal also includes a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property.
“In many ways, this agreement is a testament to the decade-long history of teamwork between HTC and Google.
“Together, we’ve achieved several mobile-industry firsts, including the first ever Android smartphone, the HTC Dream, also known as the T-Mobile G1 (I loved mine!); as well as the Nexus One in 2010, the Nexus 9 tablet in 2014, and the first Pixel smartphone just last year.”