Presented by Polystream
The concept of cloud gaming holds tremendous promise in the realm of video games. Being able to play games seamlessly on any device from anywhere with an internet connection would afford tremendous reach and near limitless access to the games developers make.
Polystream is a newer name in cloud computing but CEO and co-founder Bruce Grove is no stranger to the space. In the past he was head of engineering and European GM at cloud gaming pioneer OnLive, which Sony bought out in 2015. That's when Grove founded Polystream.
"Polystream was founded to look for a different way to do cloud gaming," Grove said in an interview (full interview below). He said current cloud gaming models are expensive and challenging to build, particularly at such massive scale as to serve the same amount of players currently playing locally-computed games on consoles, PCs, and elsewhere.
Games on today's streaming platforms are rendered on powerful, GPU-enabled servers where the game is rendered remotely in real-time. That game is projected to devices where players are controlling the game running on that remote server. Effectively, they are receiving a streamed video representation of a game that is running on a faraway computer. The user experience relies heavily on proximity to servers that are equipped with GPUs that can handle the processing load.
That's not how Polystream's technology works, said Grove. "We call [our technique] 'command streaming.' It's the idea that we break apart the different pieces of the computer puzzle, so that we can run games, 3D applications in the cloud, but then we render them on your device. It doesn't matter what the device is. GPUs are everywhere. We have GPUs in our phone. We have GPUs in our PCs. So why don't we use them to do the drawing, because they're really, really good at that."
Grove said that with command streaming, Polystream servers are sending a game's graphics commands to users' graphics processors; the game is acting like it is locally-installed. He said Polystream's service draws games "pixel perfect," and is capable of streaming 4K UHD at 60-120 frames per second using their method, all in the cloud.
"We're running the game, we're running the application," he said. "Our magic, what Polystream built, is actually real-time, high-speed compression and decisioning to stream these graphics commands down in an internet-friendly way.
"And the advantage of that…is we just use commodity cloud compute; we're just using the CPU servers in the cloud, which are everywhere," said Grove. " All of us have CPU cloud within a few 100 miles of where we are today. And that's led us to building the metaverse. It’s not enough to just deliver a game I can already play well locally. [Polystream] started thinking about cloud native applications and creating new experiences I can’t otherwise have and make them accessible to me. It’s very exciting that everyone is now talking about it."