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Apple Inc. Finds Itself in Crosshairs as Google Enters Console-Gaming Arena

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Plus, plans for a smartwatch show that Google isn't just playing games.

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According to the Wall Street Journal, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) is working to produce its own Android-based gaming console and smartwatch.

With the $99 Android-powered Ouya releasing earlier this week to mixed reviews, it seems certain that the company behind the OS is capable of releasing a console far superior to anything a start-up could produce.

If Ouya's creators can cling to any victory, it's that they are most definitely in good company among those threatened by Google's newest plans.

Should these latest developments come to fruition, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) and Nintendo Co., Ltd. (OTCMKTS:NTDOY) will have to square off against a very worthy opponent.

With aspirations for a fall release of either the smartwatch or console, it seems likely that Google's console will prepare to fight the Xbox One, the PS4, and the Wii U, and the presence of the search giant in the console industry will only add to the hectic battle for market share.

The Ouya fails to provide the specs necessary to support next-generation quality gaming, but this allowed for it to maintain its low price point. For the most part, however, the Ouya appeals to the indie gaming community, facilitating developers' abilities to produce games.

So long as Google keeps the price tag under $499, it will avoid being the most expensive console of this generation. That $399 extra per console compared to the Ouya will go a long way when it comes to hardware.

Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo may be in Google's line of sight, but right now it seems that Apple is in its crosshairs. The Wall Street Journal reports that this announcement by Google is in part due to discussion of the Apple TV incorporating a video game console when the product is finally released.

Apple's head start off the line with the iPhone and iPad played a large role in its rise to the position of social icon. While Android phones made up 51.7% of smartphone sales over the three-month period ending this April, both Windows and iOS phones saw greater growth over the past year. Google's game plan makes it clear that it has no intentions of letting Apple run away with another industry, at least not without a fight.

If Apple and Google are both entering the console-gaming space as serious contenders, then an industry whose three kings are Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony could potentially see an usurping of the thrones. In gaming, however, history and emotion play a big roll. With no Mario, Master Chief, or Nathan Drake, Apple and Google have work to do.

Concerning the smartwatch, Google may be marketing itself as the go-to for wearable tech. With Google Glass already out on the streets in beta mode and set for a 2014 launch, the smart wrist wear could provide a subtler (and likely cheaper) alternative.

With today's ever vigilant tech-obsessed media, speculation and information about Google's new products will likely make waves for the foreseeable future.

When the console and watch finally release, some big brand names could be in for quite a shake-up.
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