Back in June 2018 rumours starting circulating indicating that Google would soon be getting into the video game industry. Then, earlier this year we seemed to get some confirmation of this with several people receiving invites to a special gaming keynote at GDC 2019. The reception to this news was mixed, to say the least. However, what has not been mixed is the internet’s reaction to the supposedly leaked images of Google’s upcoming controller.
Overall it seemed people were of the opinion that it was horrible. I must be honest, although I’m not the biggest fan of the design, to me the only thing that matters is how it feels. So I would’ve been happy to reserve judgement until I had the chance to try it. However, it looks like it was all much ado about very little.
Keep in control, it’s an old patent
After a bit of reading it seems that the images above are all just “a visualized concept based on Google’s patented design” by Sarang Sheth of Yanko Designs. The title in the Yanko Designs article does make it seem like this is a recent idea, but don’t be fooled. The original patent images can be found here. According to the US Patent and Trademark Office website, the patent was in fact filed by Google a while back (possibly even as far back as 2014 although the webpage also references October 2018) and according to the abstract it is based on:
“Implementations are provided that permit a seamless activation of a game or other application on a host device from a game controller.”
So the designs that spread like wildfire via social media are atually based on this old image of the controller then included in the patent. We, therefore, should not in any way conclude that this is the design Google will be using if/when their ‘gaming system’ becomes a reality. In fact, even if it was relatively recent patent Google would know that the patent would be available for public viewing, so we can assume it could just be a placeholder or at least a very early design.
In any case, it did send the interwebs into a bit of fizz and that’s always fun. And while everyone’s eyes were on the controller’s dubious styling, I’m more interested in what ‘host device‘ the patent refers to, could be.