At Last! GRID Is a Supercomputer That’s Made to Game

by Phil Eisler

Thousands of movies are on Netflix and Amazon. Millions of songs are on Pandora and Spotify. Tens of millions are addicted to streaming content.

The math is clear. Instant gratification + A huge selection = An irresistible combination.

It’s time to bring these benefits to gaming.

If anything, streaming can be an even better experience for gamers. Imagine avoiding lengthy digital downloads. And not worrying about obsolete hardware.

We saw this opportunity more than a decade ago. Broadband speeds were slow, and cloud data centers were still being built. But we could see where things were going. So, we began building support for game streaming into our GPUs and our software.

The result is our GRID game-streaming service. It’s a gaming supercomputer in the cloud. And it’s available now.

Why deliver games this way? Because games are changing. Developers are building more lifelike scenes and characters. Some games now exceed 50GB in size. That can take several hours to download.

We also want to give gamers access to a platform that gets better with time. Console gamers only get new gear every 8-10 years, and their consoles become obsolete after 2-3 years. With the GRID game-streaming service, we’ll introduce new graphics technology into the cloud much more often, always giving gamers access to the latest technology.

To be sure, building a great experience meant solving the problem of click-to-photon latency. That’s the time that passes between the moment a gamer presses a button and the result seen on the screen.

This is where the benefits of building an end-to-end system come into play. We built everything from the controller to the server hardware to the GPU inside SHIELD. So we can shave milliseconds in many places.

Another advantage: services like Netflix have created demand for quicker broadband services. We’ve placed our servers worldwide. So, we’re ready to take advantage of these faster networks.

The result: We’ve cut latency to about 150 milliseconds – half the time it takes to blink. So when you game on the GRID game-streaming service, it feels like you’re playing the game on a supercomputer just a few feet away.

Every decade or so, new technologies redefine the way we game.
Every decade or so, new technologies redefine the way we game.

Starting in May, the GRID game-streaming service will come in two flavors. With GRID you can stream games at a 720p definition at 30 frames per second. And GRID Plus offers games at up to 1080p and 60 frames per second.

The GRID game-streaming service includes 50 popular PC games, with more added each week. Or you can buy the freshest AAA games from the GRID store and stream them instantly. GRID store purchases also come with a digital download key to download the game to a PC later.

The result is more than the sum of its parts. Gamers won’t have to deal with downloads, patches, reboots and other computer maintenance. And developers can take advantage of the latest GPU hardware to deliver amazing gaming experiences.