OnLive Presentation

There's a 48+ minute trailer on Viddler.com where Steve Perlman presents OnLive, one of several services in development to allow cloud-based online gaming. A lot of the clip features the thrills and chills of powerpoint, but a demonstration of the service running on a laptop begins at around the 11:45 mark. The demonstration also shows the voyeuristic capabilities of the service: allowing the ability to observe other players while they play and the ability to view "brag clips" of players' proudest moments on an iPhone. A couple of interesting technical claims are made along the way, including that the service can compress a video frame in about 1 ms, and the contention that 80 ms of input lag will maintain the illusion of local control, which seems a little farfetched. Thanks Slashdot.
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55.
 
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it.
Jan 5, 2010, 09:12
55.
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it. Jan 5, 2010, 09:12
Jan 5, 2010, 09:12
 
Any system that can run Crysis at 1080p at 30 frames (which is any reasonable modern gaming system) can run two instances at 720p since it's half the pixels. Crysis doesn't require an immensely powerful CPU, so any new four core processor would easily handle the processing for two simultaneous instances. This isn't an issue.

That being said, most people won't be playing Crysis. People will be playing a wide variety of games, some of which require more processing power and some that require less. Racing games and games like Counterstrike: Source could easily run 3-4 instances on a modern gaming machine.

We're barely at the point of video over RDP and you think this company will be streaming playable Crysis? I'm sure ISPs just love the idea too. Thanks I needed the laugh.
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54.
 
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it.
Dec 31, 2009, 19:49
54.
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it. Dec 31, 2009, 19:49
Dec 31, 2009, 19:49
 
jdreyer wrote on Dec 31, 2009, 16:49:
InBlack: I work with virtual servers every day. I know their limitations. I've also been a systems builder and game player for 20 years, and I know the limitations. Nothing here is beyond the technical limits of what is possible. There's very little here beyond what a cyber cafe does, except the hardware is even cheaper due to rack mounting and the 720p limitation. The only issue is whether it's cost effective.

Investors, especially in this economy, don't just throw their money at impossible projects. That this has attracted sufficient funding speaks volumes to the confidence that smart people think that this can be pulled off.

The whole Phantom mess originally attracted a boatload of investors and their money, which were eventually parted, so that argument is pointless as a measure of OnLive's feasibility.
53.
 
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it.
Dec 31, 2009, 18:03
53.
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it. Dec 31, 2009, 18:03
Dec 31, 2009, 18:03
 
Any system that can run Crysis at 1080p at 30 frames (which is any reasonable modern gaming system) can run two instances at 720p since it's half the pixels. Crysis doesn't require an immensely powerful CPU, so any new four core processor would easily handle the processing for two simultaneous instances. This isn't an issue.

Sounds good in theory but have you actually tried it?
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52.
 
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it.
Dec 31, 2009, 17:03
52.
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it. Dec 31, 2009, 17:03
Dec 31, 2009, 17:03
 
InBlack wrote on Dec 31, 2009, 06:34:
Say WHAT?

Show me a desktop-class rackmount server that can run 3 copies of Crysis at the same time. Please!? Im begging to see this wonder of technology.

And then please show me how this handles video compression on top of that for every three clients that use it.

Ill even be generous, forget about TCP/IP latency. Just hook up some peripherals and let three people play on that monster. Lets see how many FPS they get.

Any system that can run Crysis at 1080p at 30 frames (which is any reasonable modern gaming system) can run two instances at 720p since it's half the pixels. Crysis doesn't require an immensely powerful CPU, so any new four core processor would easily handle the processing for two simultaneous instances. This isn't an issue.

That being said, most people won't be playing Crysis. People will be playing a wide variety of games, some of which require more processing power and some that require less. Racing games and games like Counterstrike: Source could easily run 3-4 instances on a modern gaming machine.
If Russia stops fighting, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends. Slava Ukraini!
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51.
 
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it.
Dec 31, 2009, 16:49
51.
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it. Dec 31, 2009, 16:49
Dec 31, 2009, 16:49
 
InBlack: I work with virtual servers every day. I know their limitations. I've also been a systems builder and game player for 20 years, and I know the limitations. Nothing here is beyond the technical limits of what is possible. There's very little here beyond what a cyber cafe does, except the hardware is even cheaper due to rack mounting and the 720p limitation. The only issue is whether it's cost effective.

Investors, especially in this economy, don't just throw their money at impossible projects. That this has attracted sufficient funding speaks volumes to the confidence that smart people think that this can be pulled off.

This comment was edited on Dec 31, 2009, 17:04.
If Russia stops fighting, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends. Slava Ukraini!
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50.
 
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it.
Dec 31, 2009, 14:44
50.
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it. Dec 31, 2009, 14:44
Dec 31, 2009, 14:44
 
InBlack wrote on Dec 31, 2009, 06:34:
Say WHAT?

Show me a desktop-class rackmount server that can run 3 copies of Crysis at the same time. Please!? Im begging to see this wonder of technology.

And then please show me how this handles video compression on top of that for every three clients that use it.

Ill even be generous, forget about TCP/IP latency. Just hook up some peripherals and let three people play on that monster. Lets see how many FPS they get.

There's no way they can virtualize a game like Crysis today. But when you think about it, the game only has to run at 720p, and AA/AF are pointless because the compression will destroy that quality anyways, and it'll probably only get 30fps average. So really they don't need the highest end PC, because there's no way they could stream all that data.

Heck might as well turn down texture detail and others, because there's no way 1ms to compress video is going to bring out any kind of detail even at 6MB/s.

One thing is sure though, the render PC won't be the PC that does the compression. Supposedly they have magic $10 processors to handle that.
49.
 
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it.
Dec 31, 2009, 06:34
49.
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it. Dec 31, 2009, 06:34
Dec 31, 2009, 06:34
 
Say WHAT?

Show me a desktop-class rackmount server that can run 3 copies of Crysis at the same time. Please!? Im begging to see this wonder of technology.

And then please show me how this handles video compression on top of that for every three clients that use it.

Ill even be generous, forget about TCP/IP latency. Just hook up some peripherals and let three people play on that monster. Lets see how many FPS they get.
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48.
 
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it.
Dec 31, 2009, 04:58
48.
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it. Dec 31, 2009, 04:58
Dec 31, 2009, 04:58
 
The virtualization option is actually a legitimate one, but how they make their money is just like your ISP does: buy enough capacity to cover what you'll think you need (15-25% x number of users x expected bandwidth usage), and have the option to expand if your clientele expands. The current generation of $100 graphics cards can run games cranked at 1920x1200 with AA at well over 30fps, so with smart memory management (a hurdle, but Perlman's got the experience and manpower to overcome it) you should be able to run two to three games on a single desktop-class rackmount server. Then keep in mind these are all leased, so they're only using what they need at a given time, and more usage = more people paying their fees. Business-wise, it seems fairly sound.

However, the technology will be their downfall. Gamers are a picky bunch, and this will annoy console gamers because of a lack of immediacy and the sacrifice of sofa MP, while PC gamers will chafe at the latency and lack of modding; casual users can play on every device out there, from work PCs to consoles to portables and phones, so they have no reason to care. In a place like Korea, broadband is everywhere and net cafes are too, so this'd be fine for that situation. But for the US, I don't see the infrastructure or market really being in place. Hell, sell it to China, they've got a burgeoning gaming market, new infrastructure all over the place, and a strong desire for government censorship.
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47.
 
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it.
Dec 31, 2009, 04:12
47.
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it. Dec 31, 2009, 04:12
Dec 31, 2009, 04:12
 
jdreyer I cant believe you are ignoring the biggest problem with this service. Multiple instances of intense graphically/CPU intensive games. And dont give me that shit about Virtualisation and racks of CPUs and GPUs working in parallel.

If you had any fucking clue about how inefficient virtualisation is let alone the fact that parallel computing is in its infancy, you wouldnt dare spew that bullshit unless you are one of OnLives corporate bullshit conmen.
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46.
 
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it.
Dec 30, 2009, 23:45
46.
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it. Dec 30, 2009, 23:45
Dec 30, 2009, 23:45
 
No, it would be like console game development. They would develop for the narrow server platform rather than broad consumer PC's.

Except this narrow server platform is very expensive. Developers (programmers at the very least) would each need one since they can't effectively compile and test the game remotely using the OnLive servers. In the presentation, the guy specifically stated that the servers are only useful for running the service. They would not be practical for actual development.

The elimination of the requirement of delivering games on physical media coupled with the "instant" delivery of games via a service like OnLive makes the elimination of the traditional sales model possible. Video games would be delivered via a recurring subscription model in the same way that television is now.

Except your logic doesn't hold up when you take movies into account. Movies are available through both subscription services and retail. When you buy a movie, you don't watch it remotely. You watch it using the physical media you purchased. A very large portion of the world doesn't have broadband so to eliminate standalone physical media would be financial suicide for any publisher.

Also remember that Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo aren't just going to stand by and let their console sales disappear. They'll do everything in their power to get exclusives and keep people on their respective platforms. OnLive will not replace consoles nor will it replace traditional physical media.

The presenter showed a chart, claiming that OnLive would give publishers a larger portion of profit than they would get from traditional retail sales. However, this is obviously untrue. Rentals and subscriptions don't give publishers as much money as MSRP sales. They are used to supplement overall profits, not provide them completely.
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45.
 
Re: OnLive Presentation
Dec 30, 2009, 23:25
45.
Re: OnLive Presentation Dec 30, 2009, 23:25
Dec 30, 2009, 23:25
 
I've Got The News Blues said,
No, they don't as I can attest from personal experiance unless by "fine" you actually mean "technically viewable". Even your review links corroborate this such as this quote:

"The 720p H.264 and 1080p files froze in place occasionally, dropped frames, and refused to play back in what we would consider a "smooth" fashion."

Dude, did you not read the sentence RIGHT BEFORE THAT ONE that said.

As with the Eee PC 1005HA, the 720p WMVHD clip was the only one that played back "smoothly."

So h.264 didn't play back smoothly. But WMVHD played fine. So out of the five reviews I posted you found one review where one type of codec was not smooth. But another type worked fine. You're making my case for me: it's just a matter of Onlive getting the most efficient codec.

And again, we're talking about a tiny fraction of computers that may have this problem. For the vast majority of PC owners who potentially will use Onlive, this is not remotely an issue.

Again, I just don't feel there are any technical hurdles to this, just cost ones.
If Russia stops fighting, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends. Slava Ukraini!
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44.
 
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it.
Dec 30, 2009, 23:17
44.
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it. Dec 30, 2009, 23:17
Dec 30, 2009, 23:17
 
Dude, they're never going to do JUST Onlive for PC. They're going to do multiplatform development to maximize their return on investment: PC, PS3, xBox, Onlive, etc.

The Netflix comparison is completely prescient for what will happen here. Or Rhapsody and Slacker vs. buying MP3s. You are simply going to have a large market of people who are looking to buy a game to own it.

And to say that movies have more legs than games is just not true. Look at the top 10 steam sales from this week:

http://www.bluesnews.com/cgi-bin/board.pl?action=viewstory&threadid=105752

Left 4 Dead 2
Call of Duty- Modern Warfare 2
Grand Theft Auto IV
Torchlight
Borderlands
Eidos Collector Pack
id Super Pack
Dragon Age: Origins Digital Deluxe Edition
Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition
Battlefield 2: Complete Collection

Some games are brand new, while others are older (FO3 & GTA4) or even quite a bit older (BF2 & id games).

Now let's look at the top 10 DVD sales from Nov 2009:

http://www.the-numbers.com/dvd/charts/weekly/thisweek.php

Up
The Dark Knight
Santa Buddies
Angels and Demons
Four Christmases
Star Trek
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Elf
Paul Blart: Mall Cop
Sex and the City, the movie.

Of these only Elf and Sex and the City didn't come out this year. At first I was inclined to agree with you somewhat, but now that I think about it, I think that games can have more staying power than movies. Games require a substantially greater investment, so when that price comes down after a year or two people snap them up. Modding and multiplayer grant games extra life, increasing the incentive for ownership. There are still tens of thousands of people playing StarCraft, Q3, Counterstrike, and other decade-old games. How many movies do you watch more than once? If anything movies lend themselves to the rental market more than games. And services like Gamefly haven't resulted in the demise of retail game sales for consoles either.

Any way you slice it, Onlive is no threat to PC game sales. If anything, it will help it.
If Russia stops fighting, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends. Slava Ukraini!
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43.
 
Re: OnLive Presentation
Dec 30, 2009, 23:07
43.
Re: OnLive Presentation Dec 30, 2009, 23:07
Dec 30, 2009, 23:07
 
jdreyer wrote on Dec 30, 2009, 22:21:
lots of netbooks decode 720p video just fine.
No, they don't as I can attest from personal experiance unless by "fine" you actually mean "technically viewable". Even your review links corroborate this such as this quote:

"The 720p H.264 and 1080p files froze in place occasionally, dropped frames, and refused to play back in what we would consider a "smooth" fashion."

Any normal laptop or desktop made in the last 5 years will have no trouble decoding hidef video.
Any normal laptop or desktop made in the last five years which has Intel integrated video and a weak CPU like an Atom or a single-core (as is the case with almost all netbooks) is going to have some problem smoothly decoding highly compressed 720p or larger video. Yes, the netbooks with Nvidia's ION and newer chipsets don't suffer from this as much or at all, but most netbooks don't use these chipset because Intel makes sure it isn't cost effective.

Anyway my point was not that no older PC's would work with OnLive, but rather your specific statement that netbooks and iphones would because most of them won't acceptably.

This comment was edited on Dec 30, 2009, 23:11.
42.
 
Re: OnLive Presentation
Dec 30, 2009, 22:55
42.
Re: OnLive Presentation Dec 30, 2009, 22:55
Dec 30, 2009, 22:55
 
Only when 95% of the game playing population of earth have fiber optic to the desktop PC.

Or they can just sell to the 3.3 million Verizon FIOS internet customers. I love having fiber optic to my desktop. It's a rock solid 25 mbps.

That way they don't have to waste money on TV ads and general marketing. They can just cut a deal with Verizon and market directly.
41.
 
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it.
Dec 30, 2009, 22:33
41.
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it. Dec 30, 2009, 22:33
Dec 30, 2009, 22:33
 
Jerykk wrote on Dec 30, 2009, 21:42:
That would be terribly impractical, since the developers and QA would need to be able to run the game on their own machines. You can't develop and test a game exclusively through OnLive's servers.
No, it would be like console game development. They would develop for the narrow server platform rather than broad consumer PC's. It would save a lot of time and money especially in QA, and if services like OnLive really took off it could finally provide the holy grail that publishers have been looking for which is to have a single development platform for delivery to any consumer device. So, no more time wasted on developing for multiple consoles.

Except publishers will still make more money if they make the games available at retail in addition to OnLive.
While there will be some form of retail offering, it will be more akin to the way that television and Internet services or subscription game cards are sold at retail. Just because the games won't be stored and run locally doesn't mean there won't be an offering of them through retail.

Console games have been available for rent for years but that hasn't stopped them from being sold
The elimination of the requirement of delivering games on physical media coupled with the "instant" delivery of games via a service like OnLive makes the elimination of the traditional sales model possible. Video games would be delivered via a recurring subscription model in the same way that television is now. And, if that is how games are offered, then that is how they will be consumed. The demand for the content will drive consumers to this new model.

This comment was edited on Dec 30, 2009, 23:12.
40.
 
Re: OnLive Presentation
Dec 30, 2009, 22:21
40.
Re: OnLive Presentation Dec 30, 2009, 22:21
Dec 30, 2009, 22:21
 
Some older netbooks will have trouble, but lots of netbooks decode 720p video just fine. I had no trouble finding netbook reviews and articles that indicated this. And of course, netbooks are just a small segment of the PC market. Any normal laptop or desktop made in the last 5 years will have no trouble decoding hidef video. So we're talking about a tiny fraction of PCs that can't handle what Onlive is streaming. And anything new coming out will handle it no problem.

http://forums.techarena.in/reviews/1103809.htm
http://www.netbookreports.com/2009/12/asus-1201ha-netbook-review-overview-part-1/
http://www.liliputing.com/2009/06/video-nvidia-tegra-netbooks-playing-hd-video-flash.html
http://hothardware.com/Articles/Lenovo-IdeaPad-S102-Review/?page=3
http://www.mobiletechreview.com/notebooks/HP-Mini-311.htm
If Russia stops fighting, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends. Slava Ukraini!
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39.
 
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it.
Dec 30, 2009, 21:58
39.
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it. Dec 30, 2009, 21:58
Dec 30, 2009, 21:58
 
jdreyer wrote on Dec 30, 2009, 21:24:
Onlive is designed to run instances of PC games as they exist today. They don't need to make special Onlive only copies.
Actually PC games do have to be modified to work with the service. In addition designing games specifically to take advantage of the server platform on which they will be run would allow them to scale better and be more cost effective. So, it is certainly reasonable to assume that game publishers will do this and target the platform exclusively once the service catches on.

It's like saying the popularity of Netflix means that studios stopped selling retail copies of movies to consumers.
No it isn't because video games are not like movies. For one thing video games have a much shorter shelf-life than movies sold on physical media because of the rapid advances in technology. So, most consumers don't expect as much longevity from their games as they do their movies. In addition unlike movies sold on physical media, PC game software is licensed to consumers through EULA's, and the DRM and online multiplayer components in PC games already give them a terminability which DVD movies lack. Therefore, moving commercial PC games to a totally service or subscription-based delivery model is not the big change it would be for movies.

"Renting" a game from Onlive is not the same as purchasing a personal copy.
Of course it isn't, but the problem is that the latter will most likely no longer be an option if services like OnLive are successful because the games simply won't be designed and released to run locally on consumers' PC's. The game publishers won't waste time or money on the tiny niche of holdouts who won't adopt the new model.

And only a small fraction of PC gamers will have Onlive accounts at all.
That will only be true until the service becomes successful. Then it will go from being an optional avenue, to the norm, and finally to the only game in town to play mainstream commercial games.

This comment was edited on Dec 30, 2009, 23:14.
38.
 
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it.
Dec 30, 2009, 21:42
38.
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it. Dec 30, 2009, 21:42
Dec 30, 2009, 21:42
 
The games will be designed specifically for these virtualized servers and they won't run on off-the-shelf PC's at least not without addition modification which the publishers won't spend the time or money on since there is no need.

That would be terribly impractical, since the developers and QA would need to be able to run the game on their own machines. You can't develop and test a game exclusively through OnLive's servers.

That is simply because there isn't an alternative if game publishers want to reach PC users.

Except publishers will still make more money if they make the games available at retail in addition to OnLive. Console games have been available for rent for years but that hasn't stopped them from being sold. It's all about maximizing profit.
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37.
 
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it.
Dec 30, 2009, 21:32
37.
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it. Dec 30, 2009, 21:32
Dec 30, 2009, 21:32
 
Jerykk wrote on Dec 30, 2009, 21:16:
That's another possibility. However, if they are going to make a PC version anyway
But, my point is that it won't really be a PC version. The games will be designed specifically for these virtualized servers and they won't run on off-the-shelf PC's at least not without addition modification which the publishers won't spend the time or money on since there is no need.

After all, they are still releasing PC games now
That is simply because there isn't an alternative if game publishers want to reach PC users. These gaming subscription services give publishers that alternative. If consumers want to play commercial games on the PC, they will have to do it via these subscription services. There won't be the traditional PC game as an alternative because from the publisher's standpoint there is simply no reason to bother with the hassle and expense. PC gamers will either have to hop on the bandwagon or make their own games.
36.
 
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it.
Dec 30, 2009, 21:24
36.
Re: OnLive will not benefit PC gaming as we know it. Dec 30, 2009, 21:24
Dec 30, 2009, 21:24
 
That is not what would happen. Instead publishers would stop releasing PC games in the traditional sense or release even fewer of them than they do now. Instead they would design and deliver games which only run on these specialized servers and which PC users can only play by subscribing to this service.

What ludicrous drivel. Game designers these days are trying to maximize exposure for their work, not minimize it. Onlive is designed to run instances of PC games as they exist today. They don't need to make special Onlive only copies. Of course they are going to sell retail copies, electronic copies, and to Onlive. It's like saying the popularity of Netflix means that studios stopped selling retail copies of movies to consumers. Of course that hasn't happened and never will. "Renting" a game from Onlive is not the same as purchasing a personal copy. And only a small fraction of PC gamers will have Onlive accounts at all. It's just another delivery system.

This comment was edited on Dec 30, 2009, 21:25.
If Russia stops fighting, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends. Slava Ukraini!
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