OnLive on Skeptics

VentureBeat has an article based on the widespread skepticism about the OnLive service unveiled at GDC, as pundits have expressed disbelief that cloud gaming is practical from technological and/or financial standpoints. They have feedback from a number of industry luminaries on the topic, most of whom say they are taking a wait-and-see approach. They also get a response from OnLive's Steve Perlman to speculation that OnLive will not be practical, here's a bit, which specifically addresses a recent editorial on Eurogamer:
He’s confusing compression latency (1ms) with frame time. The frame time is NOT 1ms (which would imply 1000 fps). It’s 16.7ms (which implies 60fps). Just as linear video compression time is much HIGHER latency than one frame time (e.g. 500ms latency does NOT imply a 2fps frame rate), interactive video compression is much LOWER latency that one frame time.

Regarding server costs, he does not understand server economics. It doesn’t matter how many subscribers you have per server. It matters how much revenue you earn per server. Most web services are ad-supported and CPM-based and need to have thousands (if not millions) of users per server over the course of a month in order to pay for the server because they earn a tiny fraction of a cent per user.

OnLive servers earn many dollars per user each month (many orders of magnitude more than a CPM-based business), and when one user is offline, another user is online, so even a server that is only serving one user at a time (e.g. for Crysis), is reused by many users each month. The useful life of a server is probably around 3 years. so, if you amortize the cost of a server over 36 months, you quickly realize that on a monthly basis, the cost per server is very low. And lastly, the cost of a server is much less than a home gamer PC: we don’t have the case, disk drive, optical drive, etc. And we don’t have to worry about retail markup, customer service, etc. Long story short, the revenue per server per month is much higher than the cost of the server. It makes OnLive a very healthy business.
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76.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 6, 2009, 14:38
76.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 6, 2009, 14:38
Apr 6, 2009, 14:38
 
but I like the idea and appreciate people trying to make an industry we're all interested in more accessible.

Why? I don't like this idea at all. There is a complete loss of control on the consumer end here in exchange for little convenience. I'm curious why you think game "dumb" terminals are a good idea?
75.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 3, 2009, 23:08
75.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 3, 2009, 23:08
Apr 3, 2009, 23:08
 
Let's put it this way, if I can't watch a simplevideo stream from FOX or NBC or Hulu without hitches or stutters or stalls because of the simple workings of the internet, his pretty little server farm isn't going to stream me that game any better either.

Bingo.

I've done enough thin client work over the years to know that even keeping a rdp connection running for at acceptable levels for multiple users across an inconsistent WAN link (i.e., the intertubes) is a challenge. And the RDP solutions I work only use a fraction of the resources that OnLive would require.

Can this work with high end games? Not today. In 10 years, maybe.
74.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 3, 2009, 22:27
74.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 3, 2009, 22:27
Apr 3, 2009, 22:27
 
Once again, put your money where your mouth is. Let's see you invest in the company. After all, *none* of this will happen unless believers like you give them a lot of money to make it happen.

Or is it really a risk that you're not willing to take (or admit to)?

I never said "everyone jump on the bandwagon."

Investment does not guarantee success. Good ideas, good management, good marketing and execution will. I'm not really interested in this technology but I like the idea and appreciate people trying to make an industry we're all interested in more accessible.

As a game developer, I would highly encourage alternate revenue streams that would help render the rental business model, which rapes developers, less attractive. Steam is a good example of alternate distribution methods.
73.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 3, 2009, 00:55
73.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 3, 2009, 00:55
Apr 3, 2009, 00:55
 
Did you guys read the news about how some company did research and said that OnLive won't work until 2013? And now, Gaikai is getting into this cloud gaming thing. This sure is interesting.
-Alex OnLive forum
72.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 2, 2009, 14:57
72.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 2, 2009, 14:57
Apr 2, 2009, 14:57
 
So now you're saying we are right, but are arguing semantics to claim we're ignorant anyway?

You answered your own question. If you don't understand the terminology and the fact that one is relatively easy to solve and not "impossible" like so many here have claimed, and the other is rather difficult to solve (which Valve and Cisco tried to address at one point, but never got off the ground); well, I don't have time to help you.
71.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 2, 2009, 13:26
DG
71.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 2, 2009, 13:26
Apr 2, 2009, 13:26
DG
 
So now you're saying we are right, but are arguing semantics to claim we're ignorant anyway?

Lag is what has happened when there is a delayed response; this can be due to consistent latency problem OR sporadic latency problem.

The only time either of us mentioned bandwidth is to note that a constant 4Mbps means lots of packets. You can have 0.001% of those packets having issues and it's still going to be a problem because there is no option for netcode to hide it.
Avatar 14793
70.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 2, 2009, 07:26
70.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 2, 2009, 07:26
Apr 2, 2009, 07:26
 
Its quite funny watching all this discussion on something that wont be able to cut it for another 10-20 years...
"On 2646.215 I myself attacked & destroyed TCS Tiger's Claw in my Jalthi heavy fighter"
Bakhtosh Redclaw Nar Kiranka
Avatar 7413
69.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 2, 2009, 06:29
Prez
 
69.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 2, 2009, 06:29
Apr 2, 2009, 06:29
 Prez
 
I'm no techie, but I know that a big hurdle is going to be the delay from the time I move my mouse and click, to have those input commands uploaded to the Onlive server, processed, and the responses downloaded back to my computer screen. (I thought that this was "latency", but I might be wrong - don't shoot me...).

It would seem that the extra time to do all that would cause a very noticeable, very problematic lag on even the fastest pipe, especially in a fast-paced first person shooter.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Avatar 17185
68.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 2, 2009, 05:49
68.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 2, 2009, 05:49
Apr 2, 2009, 05:49
 
Sigh, like I said, your ignorance is showing.

Both of you cited two other completely different issues here.

The three issues are latency, bandwidth, and QoS. Yes, like I've said previously, QoS is still a concern, which will cause hiccups and graphical glitches. Bandwidth, they have addressed already, 5 Mbps for HD. That's reasonable, but what about when those with cable providers start degrading their connection for using it too much? Tell them to switch to Fios?

Please don't confuse QoS with latency. Two different problems. And if you need me to define those terms for you, well...

Yes, they have many challenges. I think the main one is will the market accept this product at their price points? And they do have technical challenges up ahead, specifically with QoS and bandwidth, where ISP's can have a big impact with their bandwidth management.

But I get tired of the misinformation about latency that gets continually spouted here.

So please, continue with the well-informed critical questions. But don't continue in your ignorance.
67.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 2, 2009, 02:10
67.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 2, 2009, 02:10
Apr 2, 2009, 02:10
 
Years ago, before I had fiber to my home, my DSL got 30 ms pings (round trip) to cities 500 miles away.

One ping, sure. Now ping that city 500 times in a minute. Still great? Now ping it 500 times every minute for the next 10 minutes.

You're going to see spikes. It's that simple. There is no such thing as a consistent path on the internet. Do a simple tracert to a destination server, and you'll be lucky to get the same route three times in a row.

When you're watching movies and your connection is getting maxed out, these hitches lead to buffering. Annoying, but manageable. If your connection isn't maxed out, it just buffers behind the screen.

This system can by very definition not buffer, because it doesn't know what you, the player, are going to do. It has to wait for your input to see where it needs to go and what to do. It can probably do some small prediction (although I imagine that games would have to be substantially rewritten to allow for server side client prediction, since there is no client that can predict for itself.), but it needs to wait for you to make that move.

A single bumped path in your route will lead to either hitches or graphical artifacts. In today's HD age, how long will people put up with that before they say "Why the fuck am I playing this when I have a console sitting RIGHT HERE?"

And all the reporters and devs who have seen this actually in the field, attest that latency is not a problem with their system.

Their "in the field" test has been to servers 50 miles away with 3 concurrent connections. That is not an in the field test. That's a severely optimized tech demo.

Also, not all the reporters agree that it's so wonderful.

So please, enough with the "latency" problems. It just shows that you don't know what you are talking about.

Okay... You're a doctor in psychophysical analysis, I take it? I'm sure the Internet is massively excited by the fact that you just declared its one major problem null and void. Can you please do the same for the economy?

Creston
Avatar 15604
66.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 1, 2009, 18:29
DG
66.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 1, 2009, 18:29
Apr 1, 2009, 18:29
DG
 
And all the reporters and devs who have seen this actually in the field, attest that latency is not a problem with their system.
Apart from the one reporter with hands-on time that I have seen mentioned here on Blues?
http://www.shacknews.com/featuredarticle.x?id=1090
Playing around in Rapture, I found that response-time lag was mostly unnoticeable--mostly. When turning quickly, there were disappointing moments of hitching here and there. It was an impressive technical accomplishment, but at the same time unquestionably inferior to playing from a disc.

And ping shows you the results of sending a couple of tiny packets. A tiny sample using a tiny amount of data (and often it reports the mean value). That is not the same as telling you how good it will be at sending commands up and a constant 4Mbps stream of video frames down when the whole thing is in real-time.
Avatar 14793
65.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 1, 2009, 16:32
65.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 1, 2009, 16:32
Apr 1, 2009, 16:32
 
If they were putting data centres in cities with direct fibre connections to the home this is totally doable. They aren't and so for it to be at all competitive it requires magic.

Ah, but that has been done. Millions of homes in the US have direct fiber to the home. I'm sorry if you don't. But if you are just concerned about DSL and latency, you still get pretty low latencies with that. Years ago, before I had fiber to my home, my DSL got 30 ms pings (round trip) to cities 500 miles away. Much lower than the latencies you experience with a local Xbox 360 game:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3725/measuring_responsiveness_in_video_.php

As an example, GTAIV gives 166 ms on a console in a single player game. If you have faster processors than the now aging current-gen consoles, you can make up for the additional ~30 ms of lag you get from network latency. In fact, you may experience even better responsiveness depending on the server.

And all the reporters and devs who have seen this actually in the field, attest that latency is not a problem with their system.

So please, enough with the "latency" problems. It just shows that you don't know what you are talking about.
64.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 1, 2009, 16:02
DG
64.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 1, 2009, 16:02
Apr 1, 2009, 16:02
DG
 
There seems to be a lot of crap floating around as to why this isnt possible, blah blah blah. Why are people talking about graphics render time? It's constant, same as we have already. Everything is plausable except for that one thing which fucks it up everyime: DSL. Specifically, the last mile: from the exchange to the home. Lag up, lag back down, on top of what we have already.

If they were putting data centres in cities with direct fibre connections to the home this is totally doable. They aren't and so for it to be at all competitive it requires magic.


I expect that magic is the regular fantasy stuff, but come May we'll have a live beta and just maybe it'll turn out to be "technology sufficiently advanced". (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarke's_three_laws )
Avatar 14793
63.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 1, 2009, 14:49
63.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 1, 2009, 14:49
Apr 1, 2009, 14:49
 
but after running it with Crysis on my 50mb Wifi connection on the 'SD' res setting it was unplayable due to display corruption and input lag. I can't see how OnLive could provide a different user experience.

Well, they have a Cloud! And Perlman has done seven years of psychophysical analysis on the Internet! And he has an encoding technology that makes other encoding experts giggle sarcastically.

You have to admit, all in all, that makes for a huge difference, right?

If you sign up now, you'll get 20% off the first three months! There are several new poster shills in this thread who will be happy to take your order on Perlman's behalf.

Creston
Avatar 15604
62.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 1, 2009, 14:33
62.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 1, 2009, 14:33
Apr 1, 2009, 14:33
 
That shouldn't be that hard since PS3 games are just 360 ports. And it's fairly easy to port a 360 game to the Windows environment.

Edit:
Ah, you guys don't realize that devs are involved in this. Of course, OnLive wouldn't do any of the porting, the devs would do it.

I don't know what OS they are running, but most likely its a Windows version. And then if all it takes is a Windows port, then getting console games on there isn't too difficult for the devs.

What would be really interesting is if PC devs see greater profits on this system (if it gets sufficient market penetration) than releasing a standalone game at all which can be pirated.

Imagine if the only way you can play the new COD6 single player is through this system. That would suck for pirates. But it's also probably why MMORPG's are seeing some of the highest revenue numbers of PC games, the lack of piracy.

A system like this could really experiment with the business models. Using the standard $50/game model is a little antiquated. Could they use something like the NetFlix model? Or a pay-to-play model? What about a rental model?

This comment was edited on Apr 1, 2009, 17:17.
61.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 1, 2009, 12:51
nin
 
61.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 1, 2009, 12:51
Apr 1, 2009, 12:51
 nin
 
Don't forget, they're going to magically port 360 and ps3 games to it too!

I think this is what screams "scam" the most.

Exactly. The BS meter went off the scale when I read that part...
60.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 1, 2009, 12:13
60.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 1, 2009, 12:13
Apr 1, 2009, 12:13
 
I love how you nay-sayers dog new technology mainly because it sounds stupid or too good to be true. Does it help you to think that way? Technology evolves. Accept it. 10 years ago when you heard that harddrives will have gigabytes of storage and will be as small as a fingernail someday, I'm sure the same narrowmindedness was present.

And just to put some gas on the fire, this is definitely a pc fanboy trait, hands down.

Once again, put your money where your mouth is. Let's see you invest in the company. After all, *none* of this will happen unless believers like you give them a lot of money to make it happen.

Or is it really a risk that you're not willing to take (or admit to)?
59.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 1, 2009, 12:10
59.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 1, 2009, 12:10
Apr 1, 2009, 12:10
 
Don't forget, they're going to magically port 360 and ps3 games to it too!

I think this is what screams "scam" the most. It suggests that either they or someone else is going to port games to their system (fat chance), or that they have developed an OS which can run 360, windows, and PS3 games on it.

Which would be an epic violation of the DMCA unless they have paid ungodly amounts of money in licenses.
58.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 1, 2009, 10:53
nin
 
58.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 1, 2009, 10:53
Apr 1, 2009, 10:53
 nin
 
And just to put some gas on the fire, this is definitely a pc fanboy trait, hands down.


Don't forget, they're going to magically port 360 and ps3 games to it too!

http://www.bluesnews.com/cgi-bin/board.pl?action=viewstory&threadid=96864


57.
 
Re: OnLive on Skeptics
Apr 1, 2009, 08:19
57.
Re: OnLive on Skeptics Apr 1, 2009, 08:19
Apr 1, 2009, 08:19
 
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned this but OnLive isn't the first to try streaming games in real-time over the internet. StreamMyGame a is similar product except it installs an app on a user's machine and allows them to play games on it from a remote pc:

http://www.streammygame.com

Since their main marketing speaks about running this over the internet it sounded ideal for me to run games from my main machine and stream them to my htpc in the living room, but after running it with Crysis on my 50mb Wifi connection on the 'SD' res setting it was unplayable due to display corruption and input lag. I can't see how OnLive could provide a different user experience.
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