Google TV draws shrugs, Google Android a hit at Game Developer Conference


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It was a tale of two Googles -- one wildly popular and another barely noticed. At the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco this week, Google engineers had two presentations that met with vastly different receptions. Monday afternoon’s session pitching games for the company’s Google TV platform was sparsely attended and greeted by skeptical developers.

But Google’s session on developing games for its Android mobile operating system for smart phones and tablets on Tuesday morning drew a gaggle of attendees who stood in a line that snaked down one hall and into another at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.


In a technology version of a hot-or-not contest, it seems mobile beat out the stationary living-room TV.

For emerging platforms, such as smart phones, tablets and ‘smart TVs,’ the ability to attract developers is crucial. The success of Apple’s app store, for example, is largely credited to the games and software made by thousands of outside developers.

Many of those are now flocking to Android, which in December accounted for 27% of the smart-phone market, roughly neck and neck with iPhones.

But when it comes to the TV, developers aren’t sold. Google presenters Andres Ferrate and Ian Ni-Lewis were peppered with questions about whether people would even want to play Web games over Internet-connected TVs.

Ferrate, Google’s developer advocate, answered by saying that casual games on the so-called ‘smart TVs’ had potential to reach a wider audience. He compared the potential for growth with the explosion of mobile games once smart phones hit the market.

For now, there’s no way to tell how big the market might be since games for Google TV don’t exist yet, because there’s currently no way for Google to sell them as it sells apps for mobile devices in its Android Marketplace. That is presumably coming.


Stay tuned!

-- Alex Pham