Can the video game industry sustain yet another console? Well we’re about to find out because it seems all but confirmed that famous search engine Google is expanding into the gaming hardware market as its next side project. The potential Google console has been rumored for months. But this tease from Google itself about its upcoming Game Developer Conference panel means that something real has to be on the horizon.

Another big clue that Google is serious about getting into the games business? They just hired Jade Raymond as a new vice president. Raymond is the mega-producer behind hits like the Assassin’s Creed franchise and later Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell games. Most recently she oversaw EA’s Star Wars game projects before forces seemingly beyond her control turned all that into a mess. Point is she’s a big hire, and that suggests Google’s plans are little more ambitious than slightly better mobile games.

So what will this Google console be? In the past we’ve heard rumors of multiple potential models of “Metallurgy” hardware with different levels of power. Maybe there’s an entry-level unit in the vein of an Nvidia Shield or Apple TV micro-console while a premium model has moderate PC specs?

The console would also surely take advantage of Google’s Project Stream to let players enjoy demanding AAA games as long as they have a good enough internet connection. There were even mockups of a controller going around, but considering how uncomfortable it looks we’re glad it’s probably fake.

Most curious of all though is the rumor that Google is paying Sega to develop some exclusive content for the console. Maybe a tie-in with the upcoming gross Sonic the Hedgehog live-action movie? I do hope Google develops some of its own games though. Developing your own games makes you a better first-party company. It’s the biggest reason why I don’t take Apple seriously in the space.

All will be revealed at Google’s GDC conference next week. In the meantime check out these other bizarre gaming rumors like Microsoft’s plans for Xbox Live on more platforms and potential new Smash Bros. characters.

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