What does Google’s new OS mean for games?

 Posted by (Visited 10762 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Jul 072009

Great question. The blog post announcing it says it’s for netbooks, really, and that the development platform “is the Web”:

Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.

— Official Google Blog: Introducing the Google Chrome OS.

Except that we’re still quite a ways from games of the Web meaning something other than Flash. The kernel is Linux, which could mean that AAA games that run on Linux (all three of them) could show up. Maybe. But I wouldn’t bank on it anytime soon.

Will Flash show up on here? Hard to imagine a Web-centric Netbook or tablet that doesn’t need it, if only for YouTube videos. So perhaps Flash will simply extend its crossplatform dominance one step further.

Who knows is this OS will gain adoption; one thing for sure, though, people will play games on it if it is possible. And the more possible it is, the more adoption it will see.

Google’s O3D and VW’s

 Posted by (Visited 6251 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , , , ,
Jun 012009

GigaOM has an article titled Will O3D Get Google Back Into Virtual Worlds?. Apparently, at the MetaverseU conference (which I usually attend but couldn’t this time), the tech lead for O3D said that his team’s next goal is to fully integrate it into Chrome. By the end of the year.

After his presentation, a group of developers surrounded Kokkevis, peppering him with tech-heavy questions. He told me there weren’t any companies creating MMOs in O3D yet, but he raised the possibility that Google might port Sketchup and Google Earth into O3D, “once we become part of the browser.” (Both have been implemented for MMO-related projects.)

I wrote about O3D back in April; its integration into Chrome is certainly interesting, but Chrome itself has quite a lot of adoption barriers yet. But it’s still highly intriguing tech to keep an eye on. If Sketchup and Google Earth migrate to it, that’s a pair of apps to drive adoption, for sure.

Meanwhile, the same article says Unity has reached 10m installs…

Google 3D Web plugin

 Posted by (Visited 12316 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , ,
Apr 212009

Add one more competitor to the race to create the standard for web-delivered 3d. This time, it’s Google, with a new API called O3D.

The O3D plugin leverages hardware accelerated rendering, which means that it is powered by the GPU and can deliver strong rendering performance. The API supports loading 3D models, much like Mozilla’s high-level C3DL library. Google has published several open source demos which show how the API can be used to build interactive 3D Web applications with JavaScript. One of the demos even features a JavaScript physics engine.

— Google joins effort for 3D Web standard with new plugin, API – Ars Technica.

It’s not compatible with Mozilla’s Khronos effort, but Google says they intend it to converge over the course of a few years. And yes, it is fully cross-platform. There’s a shader language (again, non-standard, doesn’t match HLSL or Cg), and of course it supports loading SketchUp as well as from Max and Maya. It also can run inside an OpenSocial gadget, or run offline in Gears.

It’s a developer release only, found here. But it’s very worth keeping an eye on. Google has to get it adopted, of course, and that will take using powerful distribution leverage, the way that Flash uses YouTube and Microsoft uses NetFlix and Windows Update to push Silverlight.

Here’s a video.

Google Lively is shutting down

 Posted by (Visited 9095 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Nov 192008

Google Kills Lively, says TechCrunch, and speculates that it is because it never drove sufficient traffic. Lively did get moderately bad reviews around the Net when it launched, but even the traffic that TechCrunch shows on its graph would be a respectable daily user number, if the product could monetize.

Google’s statement is here.

…we’ve also always accepted that when you take these kinds of risks not every bet is going to pay off.

That’s why, despite all the virtual high fives and creative rooms everyone has enjoyed in the last four and a half months, we’ve decided to shut Lively down at the end of the year. It has been a tough decision, but we want to ensure that we prioritize our resources and focus more on our core search, ads and apps business.

They also encourage users to “capture” their hard work in building their rooms “by taking videos and screenshots.” Ouch. Meanwhile, users are gathering in rooms with names like “Lively is Murdered.”

A bad sign for virtual spaces? Nah — look at the latest figures for investment that Jussi Laakkonen gathered. There’s a very bright future ahead still, for the right products.