A decade ago, the first generation of interactive streaming companies pushed to create something that everyone thought was impossible…
We were there at the dawn of cloud gaming.
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. A Surrey based lead systems jet engineer whose team built the first test facility to allow jet engines to be run without removing the prop (or the building falling apart), it wasn’t long before his skills took him to Silicon Valley. After a time working at Sun Microsystems and TellMe, Bruce moved onto the XPS team at Dell that built the world’s first mass produced, liquid cooled consumer gaming PC that, coincidentally, looked like a jet engine, it won best in breed and from those beginnings XPS continues to be a world leading brand.
In 2009, when OnLive was announced to the world at the Games Developer Conference, people from all over the world flew into San Francisco to see for themselves that cloud gaming was real. They went diving behind the booth to try and find the wires like they were ripping open the curtain to find the Wizard of Oz.
It was real.
But so too was the battle against network infrastructures, lag, and insurmountable costs.
Back in Surrey, Adam Billyard, was changing the future of game creation for the industry as the architect of Renderware, one of the most successful 3D rendering engines behind the largest game franchises like Burnout, Harry Potter, Grand Theft Auto (GTA), and many more, and Adam 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. A named inventor on multiple patents, Adam went on to co-found Criterion Software in Guildford. Following its acquisition, he became the VP and EATech CTO at Electronic Arts.
In a small cafe in Guildford, over what should be on the record as the world’s longest, and most significant breakfast in the history of cloud gaming, in 2015 Bruce and Adam met to discuss why the business of streaming was broken. OnLive had just been acquired by Sony, whilst many of the other cloud gaming companies had simply disappeared. Why?
The problem they all faced was never about network, lag, or streaming quality, but was about the crushing cost of filling the cloud with GPUs to stream applications using compressed video. It is prohibitively expensive, creates friction, hampers reach, and just does not scale. It’s why cloud gaming remains the hardest of streaming problems to solve; anyone can stream games, but it has to work for everyone. There had to be another way…
Historically, Bruce and Adam have had a huge impact on the business of video games, and having popularised a vision that some of the world’s largest technology companies are only just beginning to explore, they’re now set to truly transform the future of cloud gaming with their new technology and approach. With Adam’s natural capacity to invent graphic related technologies combined with Bruce’s expertise in building global streaming technology and platforms, together they are completely rethinking and rebuilding how we stream interactive content, realising a vision that’s been 10 years in the making. After all, #HHCIB?
Welcome to Polystream.
CEO & CO-FOUNDER
Known for: amazing BBQs and his skiing skills
Throughout his whole career Bruce has been enabling new things to get built – from jet engine test facilities to the world’s first, mass produced, liquid cooled gaming PC. As a lifelong gamer, he was part of the dawn of cloud gaming as Head of Engineering, then later SVP business and corporate development at OnLive, where he was instrumental in delivering the world's first direct-to-consumer cloud gaming solution. After more than a decade in Silicon Valley he moved back to the UK in 2011 to oversee OnLive’s launch and growth in Europe, before founding Polystream with Adam.
CTO & CO-FOUNDER
Known for: his tenacity and running shoes – How hard can it be? (#HHCIB)
Having been in the games industry since the dawn of time, Adam started programming when he was twelve, published his first game aged seventeen, and created “ElektraGlide”, a chart topping 3D racing game truly ahead of its time. As part of Canon Research Europe, Adam was experimenting with building fast, platform independent graphics systems that could tumble 3D objects around in real-time, which lead to him being the architect of RenderWare, one of the world's most successful 3D rendering video game engines. A named inventor on multiple patents, Adam went on to co-found Criterion Software in Guildford. Following its acquisition, he became the VP and EATech CTO at Electronic Arts before founding Polystream with Bruce.
Known for: his wakeboard virtuosity and skills as a coach and ski-boat driver
Marek has worked around the globe in the TMT sector. At Cable & Wireless, BT, and Accenture, he was holding commercial, business development and strategy roles, always leading external relationships, ranging from Google, Apple, and Microsoft to Samsung, and LG. Before he joined Polystream in early 2018, Marek used to run Sky Ventures, managing investments in startups such as Roku, Circle, and the Drone Racing League. He's always had an affinity for disruptive new technologies and building bridges between innovations and their real-world commercial use.