There has been lots of talk about the future of gaming being in the cloud, streaming from a service like Microsoft's xCloud streaming, Google Stadia or Nvidia's GeForce Now with servers around the world. But ahead of CES 2022, Alienware has a slightly different plan: streaming up to four games at once from a powerful computer in your home.
The idea of the concept is that multiple gamers live in a home, and that they will all want to stream games to whatever device they choose, whether it's a smart TV, tablet, laptop or a big gaming desktop. Rather than all trying to stream at once from the cloud and clogging up the internet bandwidth, they can stream games over Wi-Fi from a server in the home.
In Alienware's demo, this was a big Alienware-branded box. It's unclear if this is what a final product would look like. A company representative launched Cyberpunk 2077 and moved it between a smart TV, a laptop, and a PC with a monitor, and each time it picked up in the right spot.
Soon after, another demonstrator launched Rocket League and played simultaneously. They ultimately both moved it to the same TV and played the two games in split screen side by side, though that made for two particularly small screens. The company said it has gotten to as many as four games streaming simultaneously in the lab. Notably, there was no discussion of performance promises, including resolution, frames per second or other measurements. Alienware didn't detail what components were powering the Concept box. But it’s clear for something like this that you’ll want one of the best gaming routers to make sure your home network is up for all this.
It's unclear if Concept Nyx has the ability to hook up to a display and run as a completely local client.
The demo unit had an application that lets you pick from a library of games. It wasn't specified if those came from PC launchers, like Steam and the Epic Game Store.
As a concept, Alienware hasn't committed to a release date or even a final product for this device. In a release, parent company Dell's CTO for its client solutions group, Glen Robson, wrote that the company will "further develop Concept Nyx" and that it wants to "use each step forward to benefit future products."
A UFO Easter Egg
The demo also pointed towards a previous concept: the Concept UFO gaming handheld. The controllers that the demonstrators used with the smart TV were the same ones we saw when that concept was unveiled in January 2020.
Additionally, throughout the space, there were some other very early controller concepts that showed different layouts. Alienware was silent about what they represent, exactly, and whether those were designs for upcoming controllers or perhaps something you could customize yourself.