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!
￭ 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
Pixel streaming at 3Dlabs in 2000! Was driven by platform shifting needs….!
! 3Dlabs GPU EDGE Servers
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! Â Â
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
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
So]ware execuGon is non-‐linear by nature 3
So where is the industry headed?! Looks like there may convergence ahead!
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
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
￭ ￭ ￭ ￭ ￭
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
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)
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!
The next-generation cloud gaming solution! Approxy white-label service where you are in control!
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
we will make it work Osman Kent
Co-‐Founder – Approxy CEO -‐ Numecent