When Green Throttle Games removed its Android Arena app from Google Play last November, it was assumed that the removal was because the company planned to shut down in light of weak support. Now it appears the doors closed because Google purchased Green Throttle Games.
Pando.com has received confirmation from Google that it purchased Green Throttle for an undisclosed sum. Why would Google purchase a failed gaming company? The purchase was probably to get talent and a head start on Google’s attempt to build an Android based set-top box or gaming console. Green Throttle was co-founded by the man who created Guitar Hero and it specialized in highlighting Android games that worked with its Bluetooth controller. The company released an SDK that made it possible for developers to better support their games, but the idea never took off.
Android gaming on non-smartphone or tablet devices hasn’t taken off. The Ouya console went from a Kickstarter darling to a gaming afterthought, and other formats like NVIDIA Shield have struggled to gain mass acceptance. Google has been rumored to be developing a new set-top box that would be based on Android and include a gaming component, but that project may not be anymore successful than other struggling Android boxes or Google TV before it. Google has found some success in Chromecast because of its low price and simplicity, so perhaps the company thinks Green Throttle’s talent and IP can help replicate that success with a reasonably-price set top box.