Virtualization

App of the week: LiquidSky is DaaS for gamers, but it's also great for business

Gaming over the web with minimal lag and high-end processing power? That's what LiquidSky is offering, which means it's great for other intensive tasks too.

Gamers put a high demand on their computer hardware—I know I'm constantly swapping video cards and adding components to keep my machine from falling too far behind modern games. Running even the most forgiving apps from a VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) is generally impossible for gamers since lag is a constant problem, and every gamer knows lag kills.

LiquidSky seems to have solved that problem, at least in my experience. Even AAA titles run well and tests I've run with processor-intensive apps like AutoCAD ran great as well. There's minimal latency, and in fact it usually feels just like running a locally installed app.

Sure, LiquidSky is designed to be less DaaS (desktop-as-a-service) and more GaaS (gaming-as-a-service), but that doesn't change what it's capable of: Running hardware-intensive apps on barebones machines. And that's something anyone can benefit from.

What LiquidSky does

LiquidSky provides a Windows 10 desktop in the cloud that's designed to deliver minimal latency and impressive graphics performance. Unlike other GaaS platforms LiquidSky doesn't deliver an overlay with a fixed catalogue of games and software—anything that you can install and run on a local machine can be run on your Sky Computer.

See: LiquidSky: A new paradigm for ultra low latency 3D rendering from a cloud-based VM? (TechRepublic)

LiquidSky uses a one-of-a-kind h264 compression algorithm to minimize latency while still delivering high-quality video. Founder Ian McLoughlin developed the algorithm while in college and with LiquidSky he's cornered a market that is quickly expanding due to the proliferation of low-end, affordable computers.

Even old machines can run LiquidSky with ease—my old first edition Surface Pro allows me to game with no issues, aside from having a small screen and little in the way of battery life.

How LiquidSky is better

As a gaming platform LiquidSky has nothing in the way of real competition: NVIDIA GeForce Now is the only other product delivering a similar service but it isn't actually comparable. GeForce Now has a closed catalogue and is only available on NVIDIA Shield devices.

See: VDI vs. DaaS: What is the difference, and which is best for your business' virtualization needs? (TechRepublic)

If you're interested in using LiquidSky for doing heavy lifting on a cheap laptop or PC there are a few good reasons to choose it over another DaaS provider: There's a free ad-supported tier as well as pay-as-you-go and a monthly subscription priced at $9.99.

Who should use LiquidSky

One high-performance cloud computer might not cut it for enterprise customers, but if you're a freelance video editor, 3D designer, or anyone else who relies on a powerful rig for work LiquidSky could be your ticket to getting work done at a fraction of the price.

LiquidSky just launched the beta test of version 2.0, and anyone can get in on testing by downloading the 2.0 client and signing up for a new account. LiquidSky is currently available on Windows, and a macOS and Android client will be launching in the near future.

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About Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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