Android TV. Is this Android Gamings saviour?
I’ve written here before about my thoughts on Android as a gaming platform. What I didn’t cover however is the upcoming Android TV.
This really does seem to be Googles way forward as a gaming platform and is creating quite the buzz if the articles on the Chicago Tribune and TechHive are to be believed.
However I can already see the fragmentation that has constantly dogged Android from the beginning already rearing it ugly head with Nvidia still flogging the Android/PC streaming, kinda thing as a gaming platform unto itself and Ouya with its Ouya Everywhere platform. Considering Nvidia is already tipped to be one of the leading lights of the Android TV platform with its new Tegra K1 processor, I really have to ask “WHY??” Why fragment something yet again when its right on the verge of fixing itself?
I wrote recently in a thread on the Ouya forums that if Android wants to be taken seriously as a gaming platform, Google really needs to think about what it is offering its developers in regards to a solid platform to write for. It really needs to standardise a few things with some good APIs such as the ludicrous number of screen resolutions out there and get some standardisation around game controls. Give hardware makers both a solid foundation and a few limitations of what they can and cannot do, and it will make writing for the platform a worthwhile endeavour. The reason software houses love writing for consoles is that the hardware platform and and API’s are stable. The ground underneath them doesnt keep moving. Its the same reason MS does what it does in regards to APIs in the Windows environment. Trying the overcome the countless number of hardware combinations that sit underneath it.
Google needs to bring a stable platform to market that will entice developers to write more than just Flappy Pig for it. I would suspect that this massive fragmentation is the reason Steam didnt just release a platform for Android. It just cant trust the it enough (that’s just a guess, but I doubt its too far off). And this is yet another shot in the foot of Google seeing as SteamOS is just another Linux derivative itself.
If Google can achieve these things with Android TV, I will be absolutely cheering. And if Ouya brings its Ouya Everywhere platform to all Android TV platforms, it may yet have a chance of surviving (dont get me wrong, I like my Ouya, but I did buy for a very specific function).
I doubt Sony, MS, or Nintendo are too concerned just yet, given Googles past history. But should Google actually get this right- then they should be.