Google recently ran technical tests for its Project Stream game streaming service, which lets users play games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey in their Chrome browser. The company appears to be interested in changing the type of hardware you use to play your games, as well, as a patent application for controller-side notifications has been filed.
The patent application, which was filed back in October but just published January 31, is for “notifications on a game controller,” and details how information can be presented on a game controller regarding high scores or social invitations. It also mentions “an indication of a notification about a game that is not currently launched on the host device,” presumably so users can quickly switch to a different game from their controller when a friend invites them. Once the user then presses the “action button” it will signal for the host device to launch the game.
Though the application is a continuation of a separate application filed back in 2014, it raises questions regarding the presence and extent of social features in Project Stream. Thus far, all we know about the platform is that it is capable of running games you would potentially not be able to run on your own machine, and the lone supported game Assassin’s Creed Odyssey doesn’t feature multiplayer. Should Project Stream have its own network like PlayStation Network or Xbox Live, you would presumably be able to invite your friends to join your games.
The controller shown in the patent application drawings is likely just a placeholder image rather than any sort of final design, but if Google is planning a special Project Stream controller, it could do a lot worse. The drawing is something of a cross between the DualShock 4 and the Switch Pro Controller, with symmetrical control sticks and short handles on either side. The directional pad, shoulder buttons, and triggers all look to be standard, as well.
Google will face an increasingly crowded field in game streaming, with Microsoft’s Project xCloud among its biggest competitors. It also appears that Amazon and Verizon could be getting in on the action, and PlayStation Now already lets subscribers stream games from the PlayStation consoles without buying them directly.
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