This week we feature Parsec, leading, low latency video game streaming platform that allows for ultra-low latency connections between two gaming devices. The company recently announced that it is partnering with HP to power the OMEN Game Streaming software included with every OMEN Gaming PC beginning
this Spring. With this technology every OMEN Gaming PC will transition from a desktop computer to an always accessible gaming server.
With Parsec, gamers no longer have to buy expensive PCs or consoles to access the entertainment they love. If a gamer already owns a PC, they can Parsec into it from anywhere or share it with friends. Gaming is the most immersive media in the world, and our technology increases the accessibility of those experiences.
Technology to deliver the lowest latency streaming experience available at 60 FPS in HD resolutions
Whether it’s a computer rented from Parsec in the cloud, a gaming PC built at home, a pre-built, or a friend’s gaming PC, Parsec believes that gamers should be able to access a gaming PC from anywhere at any moment. This makes PC gaming more accessible and lets you share your love for gaming easily with friends. Parsec enables consumers with the technology and software to connect seamlessly with the lowest possible latency available.
Latency can add to lag time in video stream, that takes a cloud gaming experience from awesome to unplayable. The team adds “We have gone to the lowest level of each implementation to build from the ground up. We built our own networking protocol because those that were out there were never meant to transfer data streams like this. We avoid wrappers to make sure we have the lowest level access to your hardware APIs. We test and test and test to make sure our software is handling poor networking performance and variable bandwidth.”
Founders: Benjy Boxer and Chris Dickson
Competitors: Gaming hardware that requires constant upgrades and forces consumers to always have the hardware with them.
Startup stage and funding: Seed stage. Raised 2.25mm from Lerer Hippeau Ventures, NextView Ventures, and Notation Capital.
Q&A with Benjy Boxer, Founder and CEO, New York City
How did you get started with the idea?
I’ve always had the desire and passion to start my own business. In fact, prior to Parsec, I founded another technology company that failed trying to help people manage their investments – an idea that I came up with while working on the corporate development team at Aol. From there, I went on to work at Newscred for three years as the head of product strategy.
My co-founder Chris shares that same passion for entrepreneurship. Prior to Parsec, he started an ad tech company, which he sold, a company similar to Digital Ocean, and most recently, a company called HoverHound, which helps people build gaming PCs by finding the cheapest prices online for products. Chris and I have been friends for almost 11 years, we met through his wife who was a friend of mine in college.
We believe that consumer’s relationship with computers is going to change dramatically. In the future, you’re access to the computer will define how you interact with it. There will be screens wherever we go, and they will all have access to the software and files you want to use. We focused on gaming because this is where the need is most acute today. Prior to Parsec, you had to buy an expensive gaming PC and sit in front of it to play your games. Now, that PC is accessible from anywhere or you can forgo the investment and just use a cloud gaming machine and get rid of the hardware. We focused on building a low latency, 60 FPS stream over the internet. From this insight, we launched a very early version of the product in 2016.
What we quickly realized is that we and our users really wanted to play games together. As we started building the product Chris and his sister, who now works at Parsec as well, started playing a lot of games together like they used to on the couch. Over the years, they had lost this gaming connection because she moved to Austin, but Parsec closed this gap.
The idea sounds unique. Who are your main competitors?
Parsec is building unique technology with an eye on the future where consumer’s relationship with hardware is defined by access to a machine. Our main competitor is disbelief in the capabilities of the technology. After that, we consider gaming hardware makers who want to keep gamers tied to a specific expensive computer and stuck in upgrade cycles as the biggest competitive threat.
Who are the main customers of Parsec?
Anyone looking to play video games when they don’t have a gaming PC with them. They can either connect to a gaming PC they own, rent one from Parsec, or invite friends and play together. There are a lot of independently developed and older games that don’t have online multiplayer. With Parsec, these games are multiplayer again. Additionally, we’ve partnered with a couple companies (HP announced a partnership this week), licensing our technology, so they can include Parsec in their products.
How do you plan to address practical challenges?
The biggest challenge facing our product and others similar is internet infrastructure. The pipes that supply us all with internet were built for the purpose of transmitting static files and cached data across the world. Parsec is very different. We cannot cache video, buffer it, or pre-load it in any way since the video is interactive. We’ve done a lot to mitigate this issue, creating our own networking protocol and building technology from the ground up built for the specific purpose of low latency video streaming.
What are your plans to go global?
Parsec is currently available everywhere. You can connect to your gaming PC in any country and area where you have access to enough bandwidth. You can rent a cloud gaming PC in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Tell us about your business model. Where do you see yourselves in a year?
At Parsec, we believe that everyone should have access to the best computing in the world.
The world is entering a new phase of computing where all of our software and processing will be delivered via shared resources. We want to eliminate personal hardware and free everyone from the constant upgrade cycles required to keep up with the latest software. Parsec gives gamers access to PC gaming from the cloud or to their personal gaming machine from anywhere in the world.
With Parsec, gamers no longer have to buy expensive PCs or consoles to access the entertainment they love. If a gamer already owns a PC, they can Parsec into it from anywhere or share it with friends. “Co-play” from Parsec allows gamers to play local multiplayer games online with friends, even if the game natively supports local co-op only. This feature changes the way gamers experience many of their favorite games, by creating new gameplay scenarios that weren’t possible before. Gaming is the most immersive media in the world, and our technology increases the accessibility of those experiences.
Parsec’s core functionality will always be free. We rent cloud gaming machines to people who do not currently own their own gaming PC at the same cost our providers offer those machines. We’ve entered into several licensing agreements, and we will eventually offer premium features that consumers can pay for if they choose to.