We were recently invited to test a new Cloud Gaming service called Playkey. They are an ambitious company that aspires to rule the Cloud Gaming world through a Decentralized Network. So what does that mean?
Cloud Gaming is traditionally powered by a Centralized Network. This means that Data Centers host the equipment needed for Cloud Gaming. Paperspace and LiquidSky are examples of companies that use a Centralized Network.
Playkey is taking a different approach. They are leveraging technologies that are already popular in cryptocurrency industries. Their inspiration is the blockchain system that prevents data from being stored in a single place. In Playkey’s version, the Cloud Gaming load is handled by a grid of Gaming computers that are leased from Miners. A Miner can be anybody. If you’re interested in making some money, and you have a Gaming PC, you could lease it’s power to Playkey. The end result is that Playkey will have a robust network of mini-servers all over the world.
Playkey is still a young company, and they are rolling out their system in stages. The first step is create a Centralized Network that can be used while they develop the technology for their Decentralized system. They’ve launched their Centralized Network in Europe and in Russia. Gamers that are eager to try them now are welcome to enroll in their service today.
The next stage for Playkey is to deploy their Decentralized Network and expand to new regions. They plan to launch an Alpha test of their Decentralized system during Q3 of 2018 (in Europe and Russia). They also plan to open a Centralized Network in South Korea during the same time period.
During Q4 of 2018, Playkey will open a Centralized Network in the United States. During this period of time, they also expect to finalize their technologies for the upcoming Decentralized System.
The final stage is converting the whole system to a Decentralized Network and going live. The plan right now is to do this at some point in 2019 (hopefully sooner than later).
Playkey is very much a Cloud Gaming company. But they are also a cryptocurrency. Their cryptocurrency is called PKT, and it will be used as a virtual currency for all transactions between Gamers and Miners on the Playkey platform.
When you purchase Cloud Gaming time on their Decentralized Network, you end up receiving PKT. The Miners that lease their equipment to Gamers are paid in PKT. Just like all cryptocurrencies, the value of PKT is subject to change. It can greatly increase in value based on what’s happening in the market. Because of this unique system, Playkey expects to attract Miners that are interested in the chance of making substantial profits through their economy.
Currently, Playkey is in the process of integrating PKT into their existing Centralized System. During Q3 they will expand this system by developing a smart-contract for interactions between users of the Playkey ecosystem. They plan to launch personal mining accounts between Gamers and Miners in Q4 of 2018. The system should be in full swing by 2019.
How it Feels Today
As we mentioned earlier, Playkey’s Centralized Network is available right now in Europe and in Russia. Although we are not located in these regions, we were invited to test the system anyway. It’s important to note that Flickstiq is located in the United States, and the servers that are available are only located in Europe and Russia. So while we were able to test the system, our ping and latency were higher than they would be for someone that is located in one of their officially supported regions.
With that said, we had a good experience with Playkey. Their system is very similar to what you get with GeForce Now or Vortex. You are presented with a list of supported Games that you can choose to play. There is not currently an option to install your own titles on their system. But like with GeForce Now, this isn’t a big problem. They support the majority of popular Games (such as Fortnite, PUBG, H1Z1, etc).
The streaming experience itself is also impressive (especially considering our distance from their servers). Games run at a reliable 60 fps at 1080p resolution. There was noticeable latency, but it wasn’t so much that we struggled to play. This should be even better for Gamers that are close to their data centers.
All-in-all, it was very good. We are eager to test their Decentralized System after it is fully deployed in 2019. It will also be important to keep an eye on their Gaming Library to see if it continues to grow. If you live in an unsupported region, Playkey is not going to prevent you from subscribing and playing on their service. Just be aware that you may experience higher latency, and that it may not be playable for some people. They do offer a free trial of a few demo titles on their website. So you are welcome to test them for free if you’re interested in seeing how it runs for you.
What do you think? Is the idea of a Decentralized Cloud Gaming network interesting to you? Would you be inclined to try this vs some of the more traditional Cloud Gaming services that are available today? What are your thoughts on their cryptocurrency approach? Let us know in the comments!
Also published on Medium.
Josh is a long-time Gamer and Technology Guru. He is known for his writing and troubleshooting skills. Josh can solve just about any problem, and is especially good at getting to the bottom of technology challenges. He has a background in Networking and holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree. When he’s not gaming, Josh can be found blogging, testing new tech, and interacting with Flickstiq’s social media following. He lives in Ohio with his wife and children.