App streaming à la Xbox: Interactive web applications with Rainway

The team behind the app streaming service Rainway is now making its software publicly available. Rainway is an SDK for developing streaming applications that run on one device or in the cloud but are presented interactively on another device. So far, only a few selected industrial partners have had access: Microsoft uses Rainway for its Xbox cloud gaming offering, among others. The service is still in the beta phase.

With the vendor’s new zero-trust app streaming service and APIs, development teams could also “run the most demanding native applications, or even entire operating systems, on any platform regardless of system requirements,” according to Rainway CEO Andrew Sampson. Rainway integrates with existing front-end frameworks like React and can be made available via various public cloud services.

A sample video in the announcement shows the Battlefield V video game running in real time as an interactive web application in a client’s browser. In the future, developers could give journalists early access to video games. Rainway does not provide the server capacities itself, but only supplies the required software infrastructure. This requires a native runtime on the customer side on which the application runs and which streams it to other peers. In addition, a web runtime is required that receives the streamed data and outputs it via browser – and thus device-independent.

Gaming in the browser: Here in the example video of the first-person shooter Battlefield V

(Image: Rainway)

In the current beta version, however, this only works on the Native Runtime side with Windows 10 applications. In the course of the year, however, the team wants to change that and also add further functions: Among other things, a REST API, a bring-your-own frame buffer system and a multiplayer function with which the streams can be played not only on one, but several peers should be possible.

The Rainway SDK is chargeable. Billing is based on client minutes, i.e. the sum of the time that all devices are connected to the Rainway network via the API keys. The lowest model up to 200,000 minutes is $500, the highest tier over 1 million minutes is $15,000, with an additional $10 per additional 1000 minutes. Open source projects could get away with it more cheaply: Up Twitter announced Rainway, one is “looking for FOSS projects that use our SDK” – these should report and would then get a sponsorship. Amazon AWS and Windows have also taken on the topic of app streaming and offer similar services.

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