It was recently revealed that Google hired Noah Falstein as its Chief Game Designer. Falstein is responsible for everything from Sinistar to Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis, and has worked as a consultant on games like Alan Wake.
Google, on the other hand, is not a gaming company. So why hire a Chief Game Designer?
Google Actually Kind Of Is A Gaming Company
Google, of course, owns Android. Android, in turn, is one of the biggest gaming platforms on the entire planet right now. There are multiple independent game consoles built around Android, major indie games have Android as part of their overall release scheme, and major publishers like Square Enix and Rockstar are adapting their old games to Android. And since Google gets a cut of app sales, gaming is a pretty big deal.
Somebody’s got to wrangle all this for Google, and Falstein’s a good choice.
Free Games Sell Ads
In fact, free games, supported with advertising, are arguably more important to Google. The majority of Google’s earnings come from advertising, and they make billions yearly. Consider that Angry Birds has moved more than a billion free copies across the world, and people obsessively playing the game are also looking at ads.
Google wants as many games like Angry Birds on the Play store as possible, and they want you clicking away to kill time, looking at those ads they sell.
Games Are Useful Tools For Teaching New Interfaces
One of the things many people forget is that Windows didn’t include Solitaire and Minesweeper because they knew office drones across the world would be bored. They included them because they helped get people used to using a mouse. Think about it: They teach you to point, click, drag, drop, and use both left and right mouse buttons. They’re such effective tools, they’re still in use today.
Games are particularly useful for teaching an interface because they offer training using a context the player understands, a good way to explain abstract concepts. Now consider that Google wants everybody to be wearing a camera on their face in a year, and that this is far from the only project Google has going.
They Want To Steal Games From iOS
Apple doesn’t care about gaming and it never will. And yet, iOS tends to get the hottest mobile games first. Google is likely tired of Android coming in second on this score and is acting to make it stop.
We’ll be curious to see what games come out of it… and what developers Google reaches out to.