OnLive Changing the Game?

CNET, VentureBeat, CNBC.com, and FT (and likely others) have articles on a new cloud computing gaming service called OnLive after Variety posted a story in advance of the unveiling of the service today. The service is the brainchild of entrepreneur Steve Perlman (QuickTime, WebTV) and has the backing of Warner Bros' WBIE. All the stories on the topic portray this as a potentially serious competitor in the home gaming scene, offering the ability to stream AAA quality games to any system without wait times, and if it works as planned, it does sound like it could significantly change the games market. Here's a summary from CNBC:
OnLive includes a tiny set-top box Perlman calls the "MicroConsole" that links the internet and the company's service to your TV, as long as your part of the country (that's the 70 percent part) has a broadband connection. Any laptop with a wi-fi, other wireless or network connection won't need the box.

Once you're linked to the subscription based service, you'll have access to game titles from Warner Bros., Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Electronic Arts, Eidos, Atari and a host of other top publishers who will all be announcing partnerships with the new service. Games can be accessed through the web, either bought or rented, and played by just a few participants, or players can play against thousands. There are no downloads, the games will live on OnLive's servers. It's an application of so-called "cloud computing" that the industry really hasn't seen before.

But here's the rub, and why Perlman tells me the days of the traditional console might be dwindling: Because the games live on servers and aren't downloaded, it won't matter what console you need, or what platform the games were developed for. They'll simply work on any TV, PC or Mac.

"When you watch a movie on TV, you don't think about what it was developed for, it just works," Perlman tells me. The same will be said of video games. And players will be able to access the games at a fraction of the cost of today's experience. Says Perlman, "Some consoles cost $300 or $400 or $500. Even more in some cases. So now, instead of spending all that money on a console, they can spend it on the games instead. Doesn't that sound more fun?"

He might have something here. While only a couple of dozen titles will be available when the service officially launches later this year, Perlman easily envisions entire libraries of titles available instantly with a simple click.

The games, their graphics -- no matter how complex -- will go directly to TV or computer through compression technology Perlman and his team have been slaving over for the past seven years. Publishers love the idea because there's virtually no chance of pirating the games on the service they're stored on the company's secure servers.
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Re: OnLive a Game Changer?
Mar 24, 2009, 21:01
53.
Re: OnLive a Game Changer? Mar 24, 2009, 21:01
Mar 24, 2009, 21:01
 
From the article....

In other words, a real-world test is something that's still a ways off, but my experience with it was nevertheless impressive. I didn't notice any lag with Burnout whatsoever, and every motion, button push and adjustment I made seemed to happen simultaneously with my hands' movements. Being the HD snob that I am, I was slightly put off by the video signal's washed-out appearance (due to the compression of the image), but it wasn't washed-out to the point of being annoying -- I'm just an elitist when it comes to picture quality and have been spoiled by the plasma-powered pop over the last few years.

So already we know that this is a controlled environment, and we've all seen how they've been utilized over the years to mislead the public. No lag at all is an impossibility in the real world. It's simple physics. And I'd love to see how wahed out it looks - even under this controlled enviornment. Again, does not bode well. Forget wabout where we maybe be in 5 or 10 years. In a century we may have holodecks, but that doesn't change reality today.

I can't guarantee the service will work in the real world, or how it will react to hundreds of thousands of gamers hammering on the servers. OnLive seems confident, but scale could be a major issue. What happens when one million people want to play the same high-end game?

Again, what does reality say will happen? This service how somehow automagically mitigates all those issues does it? Anyone who says it will is selling something, or very, very high.

And it utilizes a console controller. No mouse/keyboard? No thanks. How much per month, how much to rent games on top of that? No, this is a con job.


"Van Gogh painted alone and in despair and in madness and sold one picture in his entire life. Millions struggled alone, unrecognized, and struggled as heroically as any famous hero. Was it worthless? I knew it wasn't."
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     Re: OnLive a Game Changer?
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