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Google working on ‘mobile gaming with friends’ startup called Arcade

Rumors are surfacing that Google Arcade is a secret 'mobile gaming with friends' startup, head up by 21-year-old Michael Sayman.

Published onMay 2, 2018

michael sayman
Photographer: Daniel Garzon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Bloomberg reports that there is a secret gaming startup called Google Arcade.
  • Arcade is reportedly head up by 21-year-old Alphabet employee Michael Sayman.
  • The platform will likely be focused on gaming, but also feature social network elements.

After rumors about a secret Google gaming project called Arcade surfaced this week, a Google spokesperson issued a statement on the matter. The company confirmed that Arcade exists and is “focused on mobile gaming with friends,” but declined to elaborate further.

“It’s a very early experiment, so there aren’t many details to share right now,” the spokesperson said.

According to a report from Bloomberg, 21-year-old Michael Sayman, pictured above, is in charge of Arcade’s development. Sayman started interning at Facebook when he was only 17-years-old. He left Facebook for Google’s parent company Alphabet, Inc. last year.

The idea of a very young person heading up a mobile gaming project makes sense, as Google is likely looking for ways to lock teens and young adults into its ecosystem.

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Although details on Arcade are scarce, sources told Bloomberg that the application itself is not a social network, but that games within the platform will likely become pseudo-social networks within themselves. Users sign up using their mobile phone number and play games with friends and strangers.

This is not the first time we’ve heard rumors about Google’s involvement with gaming. Back in February, we wrote about a secret project codenamed “Yeti” that appears to be a gaming streaming service. However, it is unlikely that Arcade and Yeti are the same thing.

Sayman is a part of Google’s experimental incubator known as Area 120. As such, he likely gets a budget and can hire staff to work on Arcade in a low-risk environment. If Arcade is successful, it would be rolled into Google’s broader ecosystem. If not, it would simply wind down.

With the relative failure of Google Plus as compared to the other major social networks, Google is likely looking for new ways to bring Google into a more social network-type atmosphere. Arcade could be the answer.

What do you think? Does this sound like something you would join if it became a reality? Let us know in the comments!

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