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EA's OnLive Skepticism

Eurogamer has a follow-up to EA's recent comments on OnLive, as CFO Eric Brown discussed the cloud gaming service in an address at the UBS Annual Media and Communications Conference in New York. He expresses doubts about the costs of the service, apparently unaware of OnLive's recent change in business model. He also echoes the common sentiment that latency will be an issue. "When it comes to videogames, particularly first person shooter games, anything less than a response time of 30 or 40 milliseconds is unacceptable and by definition anything going through a streaming platform is going to go through a series of switches etc.," he said "So the question I have long term is can that latency be overcome?"

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28. Re: EA's OnLive Skepticism Dec 9, 2010, 08:39 wrlwnd
 
OnLive will always be a niche product for the low-end gaming crowd.

Most people don't want to see crappy graphics on their new HDTV and crap latency when they've been used to decent responses from their PC / Xbox / PS3 / whatever.

Those hurdles will not be overcome in the foreseeable future. That type of bandwidth / latency response is 10 to 20 years out at the minimum.
 
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27. Re: EA's OnLive Skepticism Dec 8, 2010, 17:33 Sepharo
 
Bad for consumer rights.
Bad for input responsiveness.
Bad for graphics.
Bad for the hardware industry.

Good for publishers.
Good for underpowered devices.

But hey that's a pretty decent price.
It would be nice to play games (though in a shitty manner) at my parent's house. Oh that's right, their internet connection fucking sucks.
 
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26. Re: EA's OnLive Skepticism Dec 8, 2010, 13:51 ASJD
 
ibm wrote on Dec 8, 2010, 07:31:
Doesn't seem that long ago when 150ms was very acceptable. If you had lower than that you were a LPB and usually labelled a cheat

Net latency is different than input latency. Push latency and then client side prediction very quickly got rid of the feeling of latency that OnLive will never get rid of.

Furthermore, OnLive doesn't innovate in the way the first online games did. It's simply a worse way of playing games.
 
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25. Re: EA's OnLive Skepticism Dec 8, 2010, 13:29 Verno
 
Dev wrote on Dec 8, 2010, 13:03:
Verno wrote on Dec 8, 2010, 10:30:
That's exactly what it is, you are renting titles. You have no ownership, it's gone as soon as your subscription is. Actually technically speaking they can yank your access to play that game at any given time and unlike say Steam or GFWL you have no client side ownership of the product so you have no recourse.
No, the steam and GFWL say in the TOS that they can kill your account and/or remove your games at any time for any reason. You have no ownership. You might be downloading it to a hdd instead of 100% remote, but steam can still deny you access to what you've downloaded.

Really the same applies for all software licenses, its certainly not ownership.

No, you're going by the legal definition. I specifically said client side ownership, its even in the text you quoted. As in you have client-side ownership of your files with GFWL and Steam. The files are on your hard drive, you can take matters into your own hands. I am not referring to what some silly ToS says. With OnLive you have nothing except a client file to stream video. You have no recourse if a company decides to yank the files for whatever reason. If OnLive disappears you are SOL without any games. If Steam disappears then you at least have what is on your hard drive. Neither situation is ideal but I think everyone can agree that the latter is far more preferable to the former.

DD services continue the trend of you owning games, regardless of what the stupid legalese that no consumer cares about says. Like retail, you get a copy of the game for yourself. That's what we're talking about on a basic level here. Services like OnLive do not give you a copy of your game that you can take and use on your own, they have a copy and license you the ability to use it in conjunction with their service. Some might say Steam and GamersGate/etc are the same because of DRM but the reality is that it takes about 30 seconds to locate and crack a game executable so the actual real world usage is far different than OnLive. You have recourse and options with those services, you have zero with OnLive. That's a big deal.
 
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24. Re: EA's OnLive Skepticism Dec 8, 2010, 13:03 Dev
 
Verno wrote on Dec 8, 2010, 10:30:
That's exactly what it is, you are renting titles. You have no ownership, it's gone as soon as your subscription is. Actually technically speaking they can yank your access to play that game at any given time and unlike say Steam or GFWL you have no client side ownership of the product so you have no recourse.
No, the steam and GFWL say in the TOS that they can kill your account and/or remove your games at any time for any reason. You have no ownership. You might be downloading it to a hdd instead of 100% remote, but steam can still deny you access to what you've downloaded.

Really the same applies for all software licenses, its certainly not ownership.
 
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23. Re: EA's OnLive Skepticism Dec 8, 2010, 11:42 Creston
 
Beamer wrote on Dec 8, 2010, 10:07:
I could get behind OnLive if there was some inherent advantage to using the platform but instead it comes off more as an IP owner wetdream instead of a useful consumer service.

What if it brought a netflix on-demand style subscription service? You'd pay $9.99 (more likely $19.99) and get unlimited access to all the games you want, including new releases.

I don't see there being a rush to this because I think many would spend less on games than more. I don't see the benefit to publishers. I also think many on this board that spend significantly more than that per month and would likely play more games this way (or, rather, pay developers for the games they play more often) would be against this simply because they'd see it as "renting games," even if it was a fantastic deal.

Didn't they just announce just that? 9.99 for unlimited play?

Creston
 
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22. Re: EA's OnLive Skepticism Dec 8, 2010, 11:00 InBlack
 
And thats exactly the last nail in its coffin, because frankly if big publishers arent going to distribute games throigh the service who in their right mind would subscribe to it?  
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21. Re: EA's OnLive Skepticism Dec 8, 2010, 10:51 Silicon Avatar
 
Onlive looks like it is trying to be Netflix for games and if they can get the performance kinks worked out then why wouldn't I use it? I'd hardly ever buy a game again.

I can see why EA would be eager to heap trash on it.


 
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20. Re: EA's OnLive Skepticism Dec 8, 2010, 10:30 Verno
 
Beamer wrote on Dec 8, 2010, 10:07:
I could get behind OnLive if there was some inherent advantage to using the platform but instead it comes off more as an IP owner wetdream instead of a useful consumer service.

What if it brought a netflix on-demand style subscription service? You'd pay $9.99 (more likely $19.99) and get unlimited access to all the games you want, including new releases.

I don't see there being a rush to this because I think many would spend less on games than more. I don't see the benefit to publishers.

I can't really see that happening, it would significantly devalue games. Unlike the movie theater for gaming or concerts for music there is no other side of the equation to gaming. As you said, publishers would see it as giving consumers a way to spend far less money on gaming in general and that's exactly what would happen.

I also think many on this board that spend significantly more than that per month and would likely play more games this way (or, rather, pay developers for the games they play more often) would be against this simply because they'd see it as "renting games," even if it was a fantastic deal.

That's exactly what it is, you are renting titles. You have no ownership, it's gone as soon as your subscription is. Actually technically speaking they can yank your access to play that game at any given time and unlike say Steam or GFWL you have no client side ownership of the product so you have no recourse.

I'm not so much against the concept of renting games in general but I am very weary of giving up my consumer rights and ownership is a big one that most stem from.
 
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19. Re: EA's OnLive Skepticism Dec 8, 2010, 10:07 Beamer
 
I could get behind OnLive if there was some inherent advantage to using the platform but instead it comes off more as an IP owner wetdream instead of a useful consumer service.

What if it brought a netflix on-demand style subscription service? You'd pay $9.99 (more likely $19.99) and get unlimited access to all the games you want, including new releases.

I don't see there being a rush to this because I think many would spend less on games than more. I don't see the benefit to publishers. I also think many on this board that spend significantly more than that per month and would likely play more games this way (or, rather, pay developers for the games they play more often) would be against this simply because they'd see it as "renting games," even if it was a fantastic deal.
 
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18. Re: EA's OnLive Skepticism Dec 8, 2010, 10:01 JoeNapalm
 
ibm wrote on Dec 8, 2010, 07:31:
Doesn't seem that long ago when 150ms was very acceptable. If you had lower than that you were a LPB and usually labelled a cheat

I must be a LPB, then...I haven't considered a ping of 150ms as acceptable since pre-1996.

America is behind the curve on broadband, but it isn't like it's unobtainable to a vast chunk of the market, now. Sure, having a low ping will make OnLine work better, but it's also going to increase the user's expectations - OnLive is always going to have more latency.

It might look great on paper, and may even work well for a certain subset of games. But I can't see how it can ever be successful as anything other than a cheaper alternative to consoles.

-Jn-
Ifriti Sophist
 
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17. Re: EA's OnLive Skepticism Dec 8, 2010, 09:02 Verno
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Dec 8, 2010, 08:44:

I agree with everything you said and I personally hate and fear OnLive, I'm just saying if it ends up a minor success but not a great success maybe it can coexist with real PC gaming without taking it over, adding incentive to publishers for some more PC focus.

It's a lark... a curiosity I thought of. Overall I still want to blow up the factory, if you know what I mean.

Fair enough, I don't mean to sound overly critical. I think genuine innovation always deserves a chance even if it means some people will be upset by change but OnLive hasn't actually produced any meaningful innovation. It's bringing you the same thing as before in lesser quantity and quality but removing a lot of consumer protections and freedoms instead. I could get behind OnLive if there was some inherent advantage to using the platform but instead it comes off more as an IP owner wetdream instead of a useful consumer service.

I also think it's incredibly stupid that any company would want consumers to adopt dumb terminals in this day and age where we have multicore systems with ridiculous amounts of ram and storage. It would be a crime if all of that progress we made over the past twenty years was so that Joe Bob could play Call of Doodie 9 in 480p with OnLive.
 
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16. Re: EA's OnLive Skepticism Dec 8, 2010, 08:44 StingingVelvet
 
Verno wrote on Dec 7, 2010, 23:07:
I can't really agree, I see something like OnLive as the end of PC gaming, not any platform that would move it forward in any way. Any adoption rate for OnLive is a negative thing for the consumer. It's distribution model means that publishers would retain 100% control of the product, leaving you with a literal take it or leave it situation as a consumer. At least in the case of DD vendors like Steam, GamersGate and etc I can crack my games if I need to get around DRM or whatnot. As headkase points out with OnLive you can't really do that, people would need to construct the game client itself which is run on the headend at their server farms.

Normally consumers are used to trading off control in exchange for convenience and other features but in the case of OnLive you don't really gain anything worthwhile and you give up basically every option available to you now. The industry hasn't exactly shown itself responsible when it retains total platform control either so I wouldn't be willing to give them a chance with my entire gaming library. And no, I don't even do that with Steam.

I agree with everything you said and I personally hate and fear OnLive, I'm just saying if it ends up a minor success but not a great success maybe it can coexist with real PC gaming without taking it over, adding incentive to publishers for some more PC focus.

It's a lark... a curiosity I thought of. Overall I still want to blow up the factory, if you know what I mean.
 
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15. Re: Piracy. Dec 8, 2010, 08:14 InBlack
 
frag.machine wrote on Dec 8, 2010, 06:37:
"When it comes to videogames, particularly first person shooter games, anything less than a response time of 30 or 40 milliseconds is unacceptable"

Duh, this guy should try to live in a 3rd world country like me. I feel lucky for having a 150 ms latency in TF2, and this doesn't stop me from pwning a bunch of LPB noobs (of course I frequently get pwned by LPB snipers with 10 or 15 ms latency, but hey, shit happens). It's all about skillz, man.

Most modern games have very good netcode which handle latency up to 100-150ms very well and adjust for it accordingly so it feels like it is much less and is quite playable.

This though would be IN ADITION to the latency you would experience from playing through onlive or another cloud gaming service.

Latency isnt the big problem though. Keeping costs down is. How do you cater to millions (assuming that the service takes off in a big way) without spending billions on hardware and infrastructure??

 
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14. Re: EA's OnLive Skepticism Dec 8, 2010, 07:31 ibm
 
Doesn't seem that long ago when 150ms was very acceptable. If you had lower than that you were a LPB and usually labelled a cheat  
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13. Re: EA's OnLive Skepticism Dec 8, 2010, 06:40 Golwar
 
I simply don't want to be dependent on the games Onlive runs. Who says that 3 years (that was their support limit I think?) are enough life time for a title?
Hell, that would take me all of the very best games in history. Just this one reason is enough for me, to never ever consider streaming a viable option in gaming.
 
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12. Re: Piracy. Dec 8, 2010, 06:37 frag.machine
 
"When it comes to videogames, particularly first person shooter games, anything less than a response time of 30 or 40 milliseconds is unacceptable"

Duh, this guy should try to live in a 3rd world country like me. I feel lucky for having a 150 ms latency in TF2, and this doesn't stop me from pwning a bunch of LPB noobs (of course I frequently get pwned by LPB snipers with 10 or 15 ms latency, but hey, shit happens). It's all about skillz, man.
 
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11. Re: Piracy. Dec 8, 2010, 04:51 InBlack
 
I doubt he is unaware of the change in business model, Im pretty sure that he IS talking about the huge costs to support an infrastructure that caters to tens of millions of customers.

How many copies did the latest Medal of Honor sell? 5 Million?? Now imagine the cloud-computing infrastructure needed to support an exclusive release of the latest "AAA UBER GFXPWNSALLnoGAMEPLAY!!!" blockbuster title?
 
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10. Re: Piracy. Dec 8, 2010, 03:03 Scud
 
headkase wrote on Dec 7, 2010, 22:14:
There is a huge incentive here. If OnLive as a technology can be made to work in all cases then in one fell swoop the issue of piracy can be mitigated almost completely. As the technology and network infrastructure matures - both in latency and supplied resolutions - OnLive or a another player doing the same thing in the future would provide the ultimate DRM system.
If I were working in the industry I would be very careful about what I wish for. Eliminating piracy would mean you could no longer blame the failure of your game on the bogey man that is piracy, they might have to admit that their game sucked. Wiseguy
 
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9. Re: EA's OnLive Skepticism Dec 8, 2010, 01:52 Jerykk
 
I can't really agree, I see something like OnLive as the end of PC gaming, not any platform that would move it forward in any way.

Have to agree with Verno here. OnLive has much more in common with consoles than PC gaming. Namely, a focus on convenience and accessibility over quality, performance and flexibility. With OnLive, you can't use mods, you can't change your settings, you can't upgrade your hardware in order to use higher settings, etc.
 
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