Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo
It’s a nightmare scenario for gamers, and one that happens all too often. You come back from work, ready to relax, and a roommate, spouse, or sibling is busy working on your gaming desktop or laptop. Or, in an equally stressful scenario, someone bins the entirety of Squid Game onto the monitor or TV you use to shoot Spartan noobs (or whatever).
If only your games weren’t linked to a specific device and that device wasn’t connected to a single screen. Alienware thinks it has a solution, but let me preface this by saying it’s not something you’ll enjoy anytime soon.
Announced ahead of CES 2022, the company’s Concept Nyx is a vision of the future where a single game streaming server in your home is capable of streaming multiple instances simultaneously from a central game library. It’s all quite conceptual at its current stage, so let me break some of it down for you.
See the giant box above? It’s the server, if you will: a gaming system that, in the ideal world of Alienware, can run four games at once and stream them over Wi-Fi to an app accessible on all your devices, be it a tablet, phone, desktop, television or laptop. You can then instantly switch from playing on your tablet to your TV when your roommate has finished watching the latest episode.
The goal is to make accessing games as easy as streaming movies or TV shows, except without having to switch between a dozen different services. Alienware says this app would host all your games no matter where you bought them.
Here’s how Alienware Concept presents Nyx:
“Imagine you are on your desktop in your bedroom exploring Night City in Cyberpunk 2077. Your roommates sit on their laptops and tablets in the living room and compete against each other in Rocket League. And your cousin is also over, casually building a new world in Minecraft on her cell phone. Now let’s say it’s time to get dinner ready, so go downstairs and pass the controller to one of your roommates – you can quickly switch to your CyberPunk 2077 experience on the 65-inch TV in the living room and letting them take over where you left off, up your game while you cook.”
You may be wondering how this differs from current cloud gaming solutions, such as Nvidia’s GeForce Now or Google Stadia. The key here is edge computing, so a powerful gaming system could process everything locally (instead of traveling to a distant server), allowing for lower latency and higher bandwidth.
This all sounds like a gamers dream scenario, and unfortunately right now it is just that: a dream. There are some non-trivial technology hurdles to overcome, not to mention possible compatibility issues – oh, and that chip shortage issue. We saw some of these issues firsthand in a slow demo of Nyx attempting to stream Rocket League and Cyberpunk 2077 at the same time (to be fair, it’s not clear what caused the technical issues, although the poor WiFi in these locations for press events usually the perpetrator).
Like the other concepts (Luna, Pari and others) that Dell/Alienware unveiled this month, Nyx is in its early stages and Alienware hasn’t said anything concrete about pricing, upgrade options, or specs. While there’s no guarantee that Nyx will ever make it to the market, we can take some solace in knowing that mega-corporations sometimes deal with our pain — and every now and then we’ll try to do something about it.
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