Google is reportedly working on a game streaming service called Yeti that could work on Chromecast, as reported by The Information. While GIbiz notes that rumors of a Google games service existed in the past, there's reason to believe there's something to this. Phil Harrison, former executive for both PlayStation and Xbox, joined Google in January to work on an "extremely special opportunity." Given his background in developing TV-based games, it might be that Google actually is pursuing this.

Of course, if Yeti works on Chromecast, then there's no reason why such a service couldn't work on Android, when paired with a controller. Or, if it ever got past Apple approvals, then it could be on any device.

This might be indicative of two larger trends. One is the move toward subscription-based billing. Right now, it's extremely popular because of the fact that it's a steady, recurring payment, and users are often not willing to go through the hassle of canceling something that costs a few dollars per month. Or, the value of steady income trumps trying to sell products outright. Someone might be interested in buying a game during the right week, but in a different week, would skip the product. Google jumping straight into providing suscription-based content would help them build out this service, a Netflix-style operation for gaming.

The other trend is that the industry is setting up for a platform-agnostic future. Microsoft in particular is preparing for this with Xbox Game Pass, which works on both Xbox and PC, granting access to the entire first-person library of titles. Think about it this way: if somebody is paying Microsoft for access to these title, why does it matter which device that they're playing it on? If it's an Xbox, a PC, a PlayStation, an Android phone, an Apple TV, if they're paying and supporting the software, why does it matter the box they're using?

We're seeing this with the rise of multiplatform engines. It's easier than ever to release a game on any platform, and studios have quickly adapted to the Switch thanks to those tools being on it. While platforms still have technical support concerns, it's possible for a game like Dandara [$14.99] to launch on all possible platforms at once, and this is sure to happen more and more in the future. Economic concerns are the stopping point for any of these initiatives, less so technical.

Consumers are also increasingly expecting their games on whichever platform they play on. This is why Google is in such a strong position to succeed with Yeti: they're all about providing their services to whoever wants to use them. Regardless of whether you have an iPhone or an Android, you have access to use all sorts of Google services. The important thing is not where you're using them, but the fact that you're using them. Microsoft might have a background in software, but they are still selling Xboxes and copies of Windows 10, and there's no reason to let that revenue evaporate so soon. Similarly, Sony might have Gaikai and PlayStation Now, but they've actively taken that service off of hardware like Blu-ray players.

This is why it seems unlikely that Google would try to launch it on their own box. Selling hardware is difficult, and often not where the profit lies, especially for game companies where install base is so important. It's about making money on the software, and so if Google can utilize a streaming service with existing platforms, they can deliver on the two most important aspects of Yeti: the performance of the service and the quality of content on the platform.