At CES 2022, Alienware announced an experimental approach to game streaming called Concept Nyx.
Alienware imagines a house full of PC gamers competing for a single Wi-Fi connection, and possibly a limited number of rooms and screens. It’s not a problem most households face today, but it doesn’t make Alienware’s solution any less attractive.
Basically, Concept Nyx is a server for your home that can stream games to any device. This means that you have a large system in your house feeding multiple gaming sessions at once. Alienware aims to power up to four independent games at the same time.
The model shown at a Dell event before CES 2022 was about the size of a large mini-fridge, a black obelisk with an Alienware logo stuck to it. But the hardware inside, which Dell declined to talk about, isn’t really the topic. The idea itself is what Alienware wants to preview – and its ambitions have certainly caught my interest.
Dell’s scenario involved a makeshift living room, a gaming laptop, and a television. The demo started out by playing a few Cyberpunk 2077 on the gaming laptop on a nearby desk. Dell has designed its own proprietary software that offers titles from various game stores, such as Steam and Epic Games.
The performance was not perfect in the demo. There was a significant lag between the wireless controller and the gameplay, even more than what you would see on a cloud-based streaming platform like Game Pass. Other than that, local game streaming was up and running and performing whatever happened on the screen.
The most interesting tip from the book, however, came when we got on TV. Taking the same controller, we walked over to the couch and wirelessly moved the same game to a new setting. But someone else was already playing their own game of Rocket league on the couch. So what is Concept Nyx doing? It splits the screen in half, seamlessly playing both games simultaneously.
This is quite the trick of the party. From there, we could continue playing separately or choose to ditch the games and combine them. In a few seconds, I had closed Cyberpunk and joined Rocket league in full screen.
This shows the real potential of game streaming, especially when applied to a very specific scenario like this. If games and game accounts were less tied to specific hardware – or even specific systems – the more possibilities there would be like Nyx.
The whole project, of course, is just an experiment. Dell has a tradition of bringing experimental concepts to CES, whether it’s the Alienware Concept UFO gaming handheld or something like the Concept Pari wireless webcam. But Concept Nyx is even more like an experience than these. The idea of people buying this probably expensive server and putting it in their living room seems like a decidedly old-fashioned way to solve this problem. And most people, of course, wouldn’t use that much power.
While I wouldn’t expect it, it’s exciting to see companies like Alienware experimenting with decoupled accounts, games, and systems from the concept of game streaming.