January 4, 2018 | Written by: Joshua Carr
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As a PC gamer, one of the delights—or even frustrations—of playing the latest games is wondering if you’re going to be able to play them at the maximum graphical settings. It can be a delight because it means you get to read up on the latest processors, motherboards, GPUs, and RAM speeds. But on the flip side, it can be frustrating because your mind is telling you that you did this last year—and you know you may have to do this again next year. In a day where 30FPS no longer cuts it anymore, PC gamers have to dig into their wallets annually to keep up—much to the delight of console gamers.
So what if you could have the best graphics without ever having to worry about upgrading your hardware?
LiquidSky, powered by IBM Cloud’s bare metal servers and NVIDIA GPUs, is the answer to that question and more. Let’s take a quick look at how IBM Cloud and LiquidSky are twisting my arm to do all my gaming in the cloud.
If I play a PC game on a server somewhere, I’m going to need as low latency as possible—especially if I was going to play on Wi-Fi or on my Samsung Galaxy S7 (oh yeah, that’s right: LiquidSky lets you play on your Android phone with a controller if you have an OTG adapter.)
Anyway, back to latency. We offer a seamless platform across over 40 physical locations. For example, there are data centers in Sao Paulo, Oslo, Seoul, London, Sydney, Atlanta—our locations cover a lot of global ground. Because the platform is designed to be seamless, you can easily set up and deploy your servers across any of these data centers—exactly what LiquidSky has done.
What does that mean in terms of real-world latency?
As someone who travels a fair amount for work, I know I’ll be able to play regardless of where I am and on whatever device I want. But for now, let’s stick to my Mac.
This leads me to one of the other benefits of gaming in the cloud: I don’t have to worry about using up space on my hardware. The Mac client, for example, is a 40MB download. Any game I want to play will be downloaded and stored on my LiquidSky Windows machine. The whole process of getting to the cloud is painless: set up account, download, log in. Then you’re greeted with these two screens:
21 ms while on Wi-Fi? Yup, I’ll take that. Unlike other software that’s tried this kind of cloud gaming, LiquidSky presents you with an entire machine—and doesn’t push you into using particular software. Once you’ve created your SkyComputer, you have what appears to be a brand new Windows machine—with all the updates handled and Steam and Chrome pre-installed. If you’re so inclined, you can use your SkyComputer for video or image editing using a powerful GPU.
But for now, I just want to play a game!
But which game?
Well, I want to push the SkyComputer a little here, so Minecraft probably isn’t going to cut it. Taking a look through my Steam collection, I have Metro Last Light Redux and The Witcher 3. Those will work fine. But first: to download them.
Whoa, that was fast!
Yup, and I can store hundreds of GBs on my SkyComputer. And because we don’t charge for moving data between data centers, it means LiquidSky can push my entire SkyComputer to each data center at no extra cost—which is just one of the reasons it can offer incredibly competitive gaming options.
Oh, and by using IBM Cloud’s bare metal infrastructure, LiquidSky offers game downloads at great than 1.5Gbps!
After a few minutes, both games were downloaded and it was time to test them out.
Here’s Metro Last Light Redux on top settings:
Then I tethered to my phone to see what effect it would have on both visual quality and playability. Here’s what The Witcher 3 looks like (max settings with Hairworks off):
There are a few artifacts that come from lowering my connection quality while using 4G and tethered to my phone—but a not-too-unreasonable 80ms round trip was playable.
This wouldn’t be cloud if I couldn’t connect from my phone. So I decided to download the Android app and give that a go. Using my phone’s 4G (much to the displeasure of the app) I spun up The Witcher 3. Due to my speeds, I decided to run LiquidSky at 720p. Here’s the result:
It’s great to see innovative companies using IBM Cloud to shape the gaming world. If you want to find out more about LiquidSky, head here.
Want to explore more of what our bare metal can do for you? Start here. And if you want to find out more about the NVIDIA GPUs on IBM Cloud, check out this page.