The Power of the Cloud – An Interview with LiquidSky

The dream of a cloud gaming computer has been around for many years now. The idea—that with any laptop, or low-powered PC you could jump online and be able to play some of the most powerful games—was something that sounded too good to be true. The infrastructure was not there and ultimately, every company that offered this service early on slowly fell to this crushing reality. Yet, with improved networks and even more powerful rack-mounted computers, this dream is slowly becoming a reality. Sony is doing it with PlayStation Now, Nvidia is doing it with GeForce Now and recently, a new player in the market, LiquidSky, is doing it in a very unique way.

Unlike the competition, LiquidSky is offering players access to a virtual gaming PC, one that can access all the games they currently own on Steam and other services, and letting them play those games on any compatible platform. The credits model ensures you only ever pay for what you use, and the ability to set up the virtual PC to suit your needs ensures there is no waste in your gaming. Being able to play today’s most powerful games without framerate drops, even on a low-powered laptop, did not seem possible until I actually did it at my desk. LiquidSky are offering something very exciting and to this end, we reached out to Jason Kirby, Chief Revenue Officer to discuss what technology powers LiquidSky and what people can expect when they jump in.

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CGMagazine: Could you go into detail regarding the backbone that powers LiquidSky?

Jason Kirby: Only at the very high level. We provide cloud-based access to very high-performance Windows PCs, allowing customers to do pretty much whatever they would be able to do on a powerful local desktop, but can do so from low-spec Windows PCs and soon Mac, Android and even Linux devices, including playing the latest Windows PC gaming titles.

CGM: Could you discuss the business model, and how it will allow a variety of ways for people to jump into this experience?

Kirby: LiquidSky 2.0 offers Free, Pay-As-You-Go and Monthly plans so that anyone interested can dive in based on what type of experience they’re looking for. With our new free plan, SkyCredits can be earned by viewing un-intrusive advertisements available from our growing list of ad partners.

SkyCredits are redeemed for playtime and cost is based on the type of performance plan: Gamer, Pro or Elite. Those who want to boost the performance of their SkyComputers can take advantage of our paid plans and spend more SkyCredits per hour.

Across the board, we have dramatically reduced the entry level for PC gaming, especially with our free plan.

CGM: Many services like this have existed in the past, how do you feel LiquidSky stands above them, and what does it offer that players can’t find anywhere else?

Kirby: LiquidSky actually works and continues to improve. We don’t require any proprietary hardware, don’t demand that users only use applications or games from a particular storefront, and don’t need developers or publishers to do anything to make all the latest PC games and applications compatible with our service. We also have very reasonable pricing plans—starting with a completely free offering—that match all budgets and levels of gamers.

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CGM: What can Liquidsky offer want-to-be gamers who can’t buy a powerhouse PC?

Kirby: LiquidSky offers the capabilities of a powerful gaming PC without the premium cost, with an unprecedented level of accessibility. Instead of investing in high-end hardware that can quickly become obsolete, or rack up large electricity bills, users can simply subscribe to a virtualized SkyComputer as needed that they can connect to from a low-spec notebook or even an Android phone. Our free plan makes it easier for anyone, regardless of finances, to enjoy PC gaming.

CGM: For games that require low latency, how do you manage to avoid the normal pitfalls associated with this sort of experience?

Kirby: We’ve been thinking about—and then developing—LiquidSky for quite some time. The early goal was always to solve the core challenges that tripped up others in the cloud gaming space. Our extremely low latency algorithm is part of our secret sauce. Since the operative word is “secret” we’d like to focus less on how we’re making it possible, but rather show that we are. With that said, making sure that we pair users with the most optimized data centre that provide optimal conditions is one big factor.

CGM: Can you talk a little bit about what AMD brings to LiquidSky and how this is an advantage to the players on your service?

Kirby: We have a number of strategic partners. It’s still very early days and, at this point, it would be premature to single out any one partner or even to share exactly how and where they are integrated with LiquidSky.

CGM: How do you see the service expanding and growing over time?

Kirby: While we have not yet shared a roadmap for expansion, we’re constantly reducing our average latency, improving client stability, optimizing game experiences, and developing new features that make the LiquidSky clients across platforms more robust.

CGM: For people that may not be near a datacenter, will there be solutions for them in the going months/years?

Kirby: Yes! Our plan is to support as many gamers as possible across the globe and continually improve the experience over time.

CGM: For people that may already have a gaming PC, what would be the sales pitch for LiquidSky?

Kirby: For existing PC gamers we offer something no remote desktop client can offer: a solid PC gaming experience on-the-go. Many of us find ourselves in situations where we’re unable to bring our heavy gaming PCs with us while travelling, so LiquidSky keeps PC gaming accessible from a multitude of devices. We’ve seen this of interest in particular to hardcore gamers who don’t want to be limited to just handheld gaming while away from home.