A decade ago, the first generation of interactive streaming companies were pushing really hard to try and deliver something that everyone thought was impossible. As the first head of engineering at the pioneering cloud gaming platform OnLive, Bruce Grove had already spent 20 years enabling new things to get built – including time as a lead systems jet engineer with the team that built the first test facility to allow turbojet engines to be run without removing the prop, or the building falling apart. The journey continued to Silicon Valley with Sun Microsystems and Tellme, before moving on to the XPS team at Dell to build the world’s first liquid cooled consumer gaming PC that, coincidentally, looked like a jet engine, and came with three years’ warranty – unheard of!
In 2007, Bruce joined a small Silicon Valley start-up, deep in stealth mode… And in 2009, OnLive was announced to the world at the Games Developer Conference, and it popularized a vision that many of the world’s largest technology companies are still chasing today.
At the same time, Adam Billyard, the co-founder of Criterion, and architect of RenderWare, a technology that arguably changed the future of game creation for everyone, was wondering why everyone was choosing a path for cloud gaming that simply didn’t scale.
Having been in the games industry since the dawn of time (well, at least 1981), Adam started programming when he was twelve, and had his first game, ‘Bellum’, published by Atari when he was aged just seventeen. Partly inspired by a long Turkish bus trip and by experimenting with real-time 3D graphics of simulated environments, he created ‘ElektraGlide’, a 3D racing game that was truly ahead of its time. One PhD in Comp Sci later, he joined Canon Research Europe where he was free to “do some neat stuff”. Building fast, platform-independent graphics systems that could tumble 3D objects around in real time, Adam became the architect of RenderWare: one of the most successful 3D rendering engines behind the largest game franchises of recent years. Creator and named inventor on multiple patents, Adam co-founded Criterion Software and following its acquisition, was VP and EATech CTO at Electronic Arts prior to meeting Bruce Grove, who was now General Manager of Europe for OnLive in 2015.
In a small cafe in Guildford, over what should be on record as the world’s longest, yet most significant, breakfast, Bruce and Adam met to discuss why the business of streaming was broken. OnLive had just been acquired by Sony and many of the other cloud gaming companies had simply disappeared. Adam asked Bruce why he thought using GPUs in the cloud was a good idea when there was another way. It was the hardest problem that streaming faced – how to remove the need for using GPUs in the cloud, and instead command the GPUs found in everyday devices everywhere to draw what was needed.
Adam is behind the way games are built the way they are today, and Bruce is behind the reason they are streamed in the way they are. Together, they have had a huge impact on the business of video games over the past few decades, and they’re now set to transform cloud gaming, and many other interactive industries besides. With Adam’s natural capacity to invent graphic-related technologies, and Bruce’s expertise in building streaming technology and platforms, they realized that together they could challenge and completely rethink and rebuild the business of streaming. After all, #HHCIB?
With over 50 years of industry experience between them, Bruce and Adam have assembled a team of pioneering experts who are truly passionate, have realized and are ready to deliver the future of the visual cloud – making ultra HD 3D games and applications stream directly from the cloud to people around the globe a reality. Welcome to Polystream.