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How Android TV will change the way you game

John Gaudiosi | July 15, 2014
Look for the line that separates mobile gaming from console experiences to get even more blurry with the release of Android TV. We talked to game makers to find out why.

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The line that separates mobile games from console experiences is already blurring. Google's plans for its Android TV platform figure to obscure it even more.

Announced last month at Google I/O, Android TV replaces Google TV. Essentially, with Android TV, Google is treating your TV set like a mobile device, letting Android developers extend their apps to the TV screen. In terms of gaming, Android TV will be supported by Nvidia's Tegra K1 chipsets, which means game makers will be able to bring higher-end experiences to mobile devices, both from a graphical and gameplay standpoint. And you'll be able to play them on your TV set, just like you would using a console like an Xbox or a PlayStation, right down to the console-style controller.

When it arrives this fall, the Android TV platform will join the ranks of micro-console devices with traditional wireless controllers--think the Nvidia Shield, Mad Catz M.O.J.O., Amazon Fire TV, and Ouya. And developers think that it will deliver the kind of gameplay that console gamers are more accustomed to.

"The additional graphics processing power and functionality provided by OpenGL ES 3.1 means more complex scenes with more advanced rendering techniques can be employed, while the processing power enables more physics and gameplay elements to enrich the universe and further immerse the players," said Roger Freddi, CEO of Square One Games. Freddi's company just brought the Xbox first-person shooter (FPS) game Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath to mobile devices. It plays just like the original with the Android TV controller, only it looks much better thanks to the advances in power in the new set-top box.

But that's not the only way Android TV figures to change the way you game. Here are four things developers are looking forward to with Android TV and how that will affect the games you'll play.

The same technology will create cross-platform game experiences
Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta, an episodic third-person action-adventure game set in the modern day Middle East, is an example of the type of mobile experiences that will shine on the big screen. Unearthed developer Semanoor International is building Episode 2 of the game series with Unreal Engine 4 technology, which is optimized for Tegra K1. Unreal Engine 4 allows game makers to develop titles across platforms, while maintaining the same high level of graphics and gameplay.

"If you are developing for Tegra K1, the fact that you don't have to worry a lot about preparing two drastically different sets of shaders and lighting set-ups for your game means that you are free to focus more on iteration, gameplay and polish, which will take your product to the next level," said Ahmad Jadallah, Semanoor's director of development.

 

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