Today, the company announced “G2,” a new instance type on Amazon Web Services that allows users to leverage the power of GPUs in Amazon’s cloud to stream graphics-intensive tasks like video games to a client computer, without requiring the computer to handle the heavy lifting that those tasks usually involve.
While Amazon has made GPU usage over AWS available for high-performance computing tasks that leverage the parallel processing capabilities of a GPU, this is the first time that the company is making graphics chips available for rendering graphics in the cloud using technologies like DirectX and OpenGL. It’s the same idea that powers OnLive, a company that streams games from the cloud to remove the need for high-powered graphics hardware on a user’s computer.
“Since we launched Cluster GPU instances two years ago, many customers have asked for expanded functionality to extend the power of our GPU instances beyond HPC applications to graphics-intensive workloads such as video creation services, 3D visualizations and game streaming,” said Amazon Vice President of EC2 and AWS Matt Garman in a press release. “By enabling the use of DirectX and OpenGL, G2 instances allow developers to cost-effectively build scalable, fast 3D applications on Amazon EC2 and deliver high-performance 3D graphics using the cloud.”
With the proliferation of tablets and the decline of PCs, game streaming services have a huge opportunity to bring games that were typically only the purview of dedicated gaming PCs or consoles like the Xbox to a much broader market.
G2 could also be a key component to Amazon’s own gaming strategy, especially if the company is planning to include gaming capabilities in its rumored set-top box. Streaming game content to the box would be a way to keep the cost of the hardware down without necessarily sacrificing on performance.