Google is serious about getting into the games business, if you believe Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian. In a recent note to investors Sebastian said that "games have gained critical significance within Google" attributing this significant interest mostly to the company’s push for the Android mobile operating system. Sebastian drew these conclusions after attending Google’s recent ‘Think Gaming’ private summit.
"We anticipate that the Android Market could over time eclipse the App Store, as eventually the sheer numbers of the market will pull developers to the platform," he said in his note.
Sebastian also said that he "felt" like Google might tweak its Checkout e-commerce solution for gaming purchases. If the rumors are true that Google is buying micro-transaction company Jambool, then this would make perfect sense. Google has yet to comment on this rumor. Another indicator may be the Chrome Web Store, due for release later this year. Recent previews of the Web store have revealed partnerships with PopCap, LucasArts and Unity.
But Google’s real target may be Facebook, which entices web users to play games for long periods of time. Google wants some of those millions who spend 40 percent of their time on Facebook playing games. Of course its recent investment in Zynga will probably come into play when the company eventually tries to go head to head with the juggernaut of a social network.
It will be interesting to see if Google is really serious about games in the not too distant future. Taking on the likes of Apple and Facebook seems like an uphill battle, but the company managed to take Yahoo down a peg when it was just a search engine company, so anything is possible.