It’s a gamer’s nightmare scenario, and one that happens all too often. You get back from work ready to unwind, and a roommate, spouse, or sibling is hogging your gaming desktop or laptop. Or, in an equally stressful scenario, someone is binging the entirety of Squid Game on the monitor or TV you use to gun down Spartan noobs (or whatever).
If only your games weren’t tethered 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 isn’t one you’ll be enjoying anytime soon.
Announced in the build-up to CES 2022, the company’s Concept Nyx is a vision for the future in which a single game streaming server in your home is capable of streaming multiple instances simultaneously from a central game library. It’s all pretty conceptual in its current stage, so let me break some of that down for you.
See the giant box above? It’s the server, if you will—a gaming system that, in Alienware’s ideal world, could run four games simultaneously and stream them via wifi to an app that could be accessed on any of your devices, be that a tablet, phone, desktop, TV, or laptop. You could then instantly switch from playing on your tablet to your TV when your roommate finishes watching the final 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 of your games, regardless of where you purchased them.
Here is how Alienware envisions Concept Nyx:
“Imagine you’re on your desktop in your bedroom exploring Night City in Cyberpunk 2077. Your roommates are on their laptops and tablets in the living room, battling head-to-head 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 prepare dinner so you head 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 let them takeover exactly where you left off, advancing your game while you cook.”
You might be wondering how this differs from current cloud gaming solutions, like Nvidia’s GeForce Now or Google Stadia. The key here is edge computing, so a high-performance gaming system could process everything locally (instead of traveling to a far-off server), allowing for lower latency and higher bandwidth.
This all sounds like a dream scenario for gamers, and unfortunately, right now it is exactly that: a dream. There are some nontrivial technological hurdles to overcome, not to mention potential compatibility issues—oh, and that chip shortage problem. We saw some of these difficulties firsthand in a laggy demo of Nyx attempting to stream Rocket League and Cyberpunk 2077 simultaneously (to be fair, it isn’t clear what caused the technical hiccups, though the shoddy wifi at these press event venues is usually the culprit).
Like the other concepts (Luna, Pari and others) that Dell/Alienware revealed this month, Nyx is in its early stages, and Alienware hasn’t said anything concrete about pricing, upgradability, or specs. While there is no certainty of Nyx ever coming to market, we can take some solace in knowing mega-corporations sometimes relate to our pain–and will occasionally try to do something about it.