The idea of playing PC games on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet isn’t exactly new. Several titles have been ported to mobile platforms by their developers, but this is only an option for PC games that aren’t too demanding on hardware resources, like casual and retro games. Mobile computing devices, like smartphones, tablets and netbooks are designed with portability and energy efficiency in mind, rather than graphics and CPU performance. A Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 just doesn’t have the needed hardware to run the latest AAA games like Grand Theft Auto 5.
But what if there was a way to simply use the mobile device as a display and controller, while the actual computing is done in the cloud? After all, there are many cloud-based applications which process and store data remotely. One can also control a virtual cloud server from a smartphone or tablet by using a remote desktop app.
For Android users, there’s a new app in the Google Play Store that can actually make that happen. LiquidSky is a service which gives each user a virtual PC they can download and install games on. The cloud-based PC can then be accessed through the Android app, essentially streaming the gameplay video to the mobile device’s screen. LiquidSky uses IBM’s public cloud infrastructure, which optimizes hardware use and keeps latency to a minimum by matching users to data centers located closer to them.
As the service is still in its beta phase, there are still a few issues being worked out. In order to get a decent gaming experience, an Internet connection with very low latency is a must. There’s a free, ad-supported version of the cloud gaming service currently available, which gives gamers the chance to try it out before deciding on whether or not buying a subscription is worth it.