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Fixing Cloud  Gaming       Cloud  Gaming  Europe  –  January  2012     Osman  Kent   Co-­‐Founder  –  Approxy   CEO  -­‐  Numecent


About me….! ■ CEO of Numecent and Co-Founder of Approxy" ■  Approxy is a spin-out from Numecent (formerly Endeavors)"

" ■ Co-founder & CEO of 3Dlabs – $1Bn NASDAQ chip company" ■  We were one of the fathers of 3D graphics and the GPU on the PC" ■  Approxy CEO and co-founder Dr Ahiska was 3Dlabs’ co-founder as well"

■ Became CEO of Numecent in Jan 2011" ■  Numecent invented application streaming and virtualization in the late 90s" ■  And holds all the foundational patents in this field"

■ Enabled spin-out of Approxy from Numecent in Sep 2011" ■  Approxy is focused on transforming cloud gaming


Fixing Cloud  Gaming     Is  it  really  broken?        



It is  misunderstood,   topologically  challenged,   business  model  challenged,   geographically  challenged,  

& patent  challenged     There  is  an  imminent  and  present  danger  of     fragmentaGon  and  conflict  as  a  result     (IMHO)      

Cloud gaming - what is being delivered?! It should be about delivering the best user experience!




Full Downloads?"

■ It is obviously about internet delivery of games" ■  But the terminology and the technology is not well understood" ■  e.g. What is ‘application streaming’ ?"

" ■  What provides the best user experience" ■  Pixels from the cloud?" ■  Downloads from the cloud?" ■  Or Instructions from the cloud


Cloud gaming - where are we delivering to?! There is a lot of confusion about the platforms too!





■ PC is currently the primary cloud-gaming platform for $$s" ■  But this is now being augmented by other devices" ■  PC games on the iPad always seem to grab the headlines"

■ New platforms are rapidly gaining their own content" ■  iPhone/iPad is rapidly becoming a dominant native platform" ■  GPUs in those devices are similar to PCs a few years ago

so let  me  start  with  a  story  

“pla>orm shi@ing”        


Pixel streaming at 3Dlabs in 2000! Was driven by platform shifting needs….!

! 3Dlabs GPU   EDGE  Servers  

PC Games"


On a Japanese phone"

■ It is always difficult getting native games on a new platform" ■  Platform shifting solved the problem (still does today)"

■ We were way ahead of our time" ■  Were hampered by bandwidth etc." ■  But we time-shared one GPU for multiple clients" ■  It was also a way of selling expensive GPUs J


this method  came  to  define     ‘cloud-­‐gaming’  

(at least  for  some)      

But there  are  fundamental  problems   with  this  view  of  ‘cloud-­‐gaming’  

(which we  did  not  foresee  at  the  Fme)      

Bandwidth and scalability issues! ! Scalability and  cost  of  the  infrastructure    

Expensive Cloud  Edge  Servers    

✗  Requires running  network  of  expensive  Edge  Server  data  centres;    1  GPU/user  (GPU  virtualiza5on  not  an  op5on  for  demanding  games)   ✗  No  way  to  provide  GPUs  for  newest  genera5on  of  MMO  games  with   >1.5m  concurrent  users  –  especially  if  it  is  FREE!   ✗  Not  economically  feasible  to  upgrade  server  infrastructure  every  2   years  to  keep  up  with  Moore's  Law   ✗  HUGELY  CAPEX  intensive  to  scale  geographically  as  servers  need  to   be  co-­‐located  very  near  to  users  

Bandwidth related  issues  –  geSng  worse,  not  beTer    

✗  Debilita5ng latency  –  relies  on  short  ping  distances   ✗  Resolu5on  compromised  by  bandwidth   ✗  Demands  5Mbps  for  720p,  10Mbps  for  1080p,  and  3D  HD  is  not  easy   ✗  Mul5ple  users  in  the  same  home  cannot  play   ✗  Badly  affected  by  network  jiQers  

✓ Play  on  any  device  

✗  No offline  gameplay   ✗  Exceeds  ISP  download  caps  -­‐  can  consume  >3Gb/hr   ✗  Cannot  support  mo5on  controllers  or  instruments  such  as  Kinect      

A side note on jitter! Induced by contention ratio or by ISP throttling!


Jitter = Judder"

Most of the effort is spent on trying to overcome jitter by various compression techniques!   

So paradoxically  pixel  streaming  will  work  well   so  long  as  it  does  not  become  popular  

(and you  live  close  to  an  edge  server)      

It also propagates the thin-client myth! If anything, all the new type of clients are getting fatter every year!


PCs" SmartTVs " are remaining fat" are getting fatter"

Mobile Devices" are getting fatter"

■ Soon there will be billions of GPUs on earth" ■  It does not make sense to cram these again into a server room" ■  Nor is this technically feasible – Moore’s law marches on"

■ There is however platform fragmentation – without question" ■  So pixel streaming is a good solution for ‘platform shifting’" ■  ie. running software where it is not possible to do so natively

Let me debunk a cloud myth too! Cloud is not about doing everything on the server side!

! ■  HTML5, WebGL etc. are all about a stronger client! ■  One purist view is doing it all inside the browser" ■  i.e. browser is the OS" ■  Even Google capitulated with NaCL – native client"

" ■  Off-lining is an important user requirement! ■  We cannot rely on internet all the time (at least not yet globally)" ■  The mobile App revolution shows that user love local power"

" ■  That’s why Dropbox is a beautiful cloud computing experience! ■  Sits natively on my PC or Mac – even offline" ■  Syncs seamlessly to the cloud without me looking" ■  ‘Platform Shifted’ selectively to phones and tablets – as an app" ■  Managed by me ‘in the browser’ from the cloud" ■  No one argues that ‘dropbox’ is not a cloud company "  

Don’t get  me  wrong  –  I  love  the  technology   Great  for  pla\orm  shi]ing  and  instant  demos  

But it  does  not  make  sense  to  pixel  stream  PC  games  to  a  PC      

Let’s now  look  at   the  download  &  install  hell    

(I know  –  I  have  three  sons  and  10  PCs!)      

Downloads are not a good experience! ! For the  game  provider   ✗  High  cost  of  failed/aborted  downloads   ✗  As  high  as  40%  failure  for  F2P  games  >5Gb   ✗  Service  providers  pay  >1¢/Gb    

Downloadable content  portal  

✗  Limited income  models   ✗  Difficult  to  take  advantage  rental/subscrip5on  

For the  end-­‐user   ✗  Poor  user  experience   ✗  >  4  hours  to  download  10GB  game   ✗  …then  wait  for  the  installa5on   ✗  …then  have  to  wait  for  updates   ✗  …and  many  chances  for  steps  to  go  wrong

✗  No instant  demos  –  no  instant  gra5fica5on ✗  Installa5ons  cause  havoc  with  PCs  (DLL  hell) ✗  No  agility  when  moving  computer   ✗  No  agility  between  different  PCs    

End users  


Progressive downloads are just a band-aid! A bit like a blind look-ahead! Progressive download  only  works   well  for  linear  content  

Downloadable content  portal   ■  Poor  performance  for  interac5ve  games   -  Delay/jiQers   ■  Inefficient  use  of  network  (everything  ends  up   loaded)   ■  No  instant  gra5fica5on   ■  S5ll  installs  on  the  target  PC  –  no  real  virtualiza5on   ■  No  plamorm  shining  

End users  

So]ware execuGon  is  non-­‐linear  by   nature   3  



So where is the industry headed?! Looks like there may convergence ahead!


Pixel streaming  

Digital Downloads  

Progressive downloads  


It is  all  about  creaGng  a  careful  balance     between  the  cloud  and  the  client    

We believe  it  will  be  a  hybrid  and  hierarchical  soluGon   (for  a  great  user  experience)      

This is where we are headed at Approxy! In fact, we are there now (well – almost)! Cloudpaging AdverGsing  

Pixel streaming  

Digital Downloads  

Progressive downloads  


Introducing   “Cloudpaging ”   ™

Non-­‐linear  paging  of  so@ware  instrucFons  from  the  cloud   with  local  pixel  streaming       not  progressive  downloads     (this  technology  is  protected  by  a  number  of  US  patents)        

This is  new  to  cloud  gaming  

but is  tried  and  tested  technology  in  the  Enterprise  

(Numecent has  been  an  innovator  in  this  field  for  years)      

Cloudpaging – what is it?! On demand pull & heuristic push of pages of instructions!

! 3 2   1  

Game Code   (Par5al)   Virtual  MMU  

No fat pipes are needed" 3

■  ■  ■  ■  ■ 


Virtualization Sandbox"


Low cost  server  in  the  cloud  (no  GPU)   Can  serve  10,000+  users  per  server   Can  be  located  far  away  –  no  ping  distance  requirement   A  global  solu5on  from  day  one   Predic5ve  push  of  pages  as  server  learns  program   behaviour  

■  ■  ■  ■  ■ 

Pull only  instruc5ons  as  used  –  page  at  a  5me   Leverage  the  local  GPU  resource   No  installa5on  hell  –  execute  full  speed  in  a  sandbox   100x  beQer  than  progressive  downloads   100x  less  network  use  compared  to  pixel  streaming      

Cloudpaging – a complete solution! Push-pull paging of software from the cloud!

! Game A  

Game B  

Game C  

We ‘cloudify’  any  PC  game  into  a  virtualised  package   –  No  need  for  source  code  and  no  changes  by   developers!   Games  are  seamlessly  ‘cloudpaged’  to  user’s   PC  where  they  run  without  installaGon   –  games  run  instantly,  like  streaming  music!  

Home PC   “Virtual  Console”  

Licences are  tracked  with  sophisGcated  DRM   and  256bit  encrypGon  protects  from  piracy   –  Support  for  both  Buy  and  Rental  licences      

Can play offline under license control! Plus full support for local peripherals!

! User can  play  games  offline  without  being   connected  to  the  network!     (games  are  playable  for  a  grace  period   governed  by  the  licensing  policy)  

Games can  be  played  with  full  local   peripheral  support  

Home PC   “Virtual  Console”      

Virtual Console – provides instant gratification! This is like a virtual edge server inside your home!


The Cloud  Portal  can  push  parGal  copies  of  intelligently   selected  new  games  to  the  Virtual  Console  to  enGce   users  into  instant  demos   (≈5-­‐10%  of  a  game  required  for  instant-­‐play)  

Game A  

Game B  

Game C  

Game E  

Game D  

ParGal games  for   instant  demos  

Home /   Internet  cafe   LAN   3D  HD  TV  


Virtual Console does local platform shifting! Any device with a GPU can be a GPU server!


Pixel Streaming" Home LAN" Pixel Streaming" @ 60Hz!"


Virtual Console can be on a variety of devices! Any Windows, Linux or Android device can be a Virtual Console!





Home LAN"


The next-generation cloud gaming solution! Approxy white-label service where you are in control!


eCommerce pla\orm  

Approxy Cloud  Services  

“Virtual Console”   on  Home  PC  

Approxy Cloud  services   ■  Provide,  maintain  &  update  a   powerful  Cloud  Portal  for  managing,   serving  and  patching  games   ■  Packaging  of  games  and  updates   ■  We  integrate  with  your  exis5ng   eCommerce  plamorm   ■  We  provide  full  feedback  on  game   usage  metrics       Approxy  client  services   ■  Provide,  maintain  &  update  back-­‐end   of  local  “Virtual  Console”  client  on   end-­‐user  PCs   ■  Support  development  of  your   customized  skin  for  the  “Virtual   Console”      

Finally…  we  ignore  the  IP  issues  at  our  peril  

Make sure  your  vendors  and  partners  are  protected     Like  the  mobile  sector,  cloud  is  a  very  patent  liFgious  space      

Cloud Gaming  

we will  make  it  work         Osman  Kent  

Co-­‐Founder –  Approxy   CEO  -­‐  Numecent


Cloud Gaming Europe - Osman Kent presentation  

Osman Kent's presentation for Approxy Inc. at the Cloud Gaming Europe conference 17 January 2012