March 16, 2020
Instant Interactive, a game-focused division of Primal Space Systems, is creating GPEG (Geometry Pump Engine Group), a “cousin of the MPEG format” and a different way of visualizing data. The parent company invested $8 million in the venture, aimed at game engines for more efficient streaming and interactivity for video entertainment. Primal Space Systems was co-founded by Barry Jenkins, a graphics expert; chief technology officer John Scott, formerly at Epic Games; and medical vision expert/chair Solomon Luo.
VentureBeat, which reports that the company’s “investors include a variety of seed and angel funders, including ImmixGroup cofounder Steve Charles,” notes that Jenkins has been working on the technology since 2015 and the company has 11 patents “on technology that enables better streaming of games and ways to make TV shows into interactive entertainment.”
Primal Space Systems/Instant Interactive president/chief operating office Bill Freeman states that, “GPEG can make some very expensive game and entertainment technologies much more practical,” also enabling interactive streaming content “such as interactive Netflix shows.” GPEG would replace MPEG video-based streaming with “pre-encoded content packets, which can be more efficiently streamed using GPEG middleware technology.” It does so by prefetching the packets to eliminate lag “while also lowering overall streaming costs.”
GPEG’s middleware can be integrated into any game engine, such as Epic’s Unreal Engine 4, and is designed to work with “all existing content delivery networks.” “We think it’s possible to bring interactivity to the entertainment industry, breaking the interactivity out of the gamer silos and create content that everyone can consume,” said Jenkins.
Advanced real-time rendering provides sophisticated scenes in current games, but the GPEG is intended to “allow users to optionally pick up a game controller and customize the characters, explore a different narrative arc, take up a brief challenge, or otherwise ‘lean into’ the experience,” without lag, loss, frame drops or downloads. Freeman noted that, “VR, MR, AR content is really possible with our technology.”
With no downloading required, he added, “we eliminate piracy out of the equation.” “This is not traditional cloud gaming as others have approached it,” he said. “It’s an entirely new way of streaming data.”
Jenkins reported that he estimated that, “Stadia dedicates $1,500 dollars worth of equipment to one user at one time” as the content is compressed and the trip to and from the data center creates latency. That might work at 720p — but not with 4K TV, he said, adding that GPEG “can work with better interactivity, instant access, efficient and lossless transmission, and fast delivery of 4K and VR content.”