Introducing: OnLive, The Future of Gaming?

onliveSo, has the wave of the future arrived? Warner Bros. sure thinks so, as they presented the new micro-console, OnLive, at GDC with a huge freaking publicity splash. What makes OnLive so special? Well, perhaps the fact that it’s not technically a gaming console, but a small attachment for your TV or PC, rendering the “hardware arms race” obsolete.

Think of OnLive as Hulu or Youtube, but for video games. Rather than playing the games on your console or PC at home, games are stored and played via cloud servers, and relayed back to you through a video signal. The servers are responding to what your controller is doing through the OnLive micro-console. So essentially, you’re seeing a video of the game being played, all at 60 fps, and at 720p or standard definition, depending on your Internet connection speed. Meanwhile, the actual game is taking place on the OnLive cloud servers.

The OnLive micro-console itself is a small box with video outputs. That’s it. From there, the service is accessed through your Internet connection, and the game is played online. OnLive launches this Winter, and there are already several big names attached including Epic, EA, Take Two, THQ and Ubisoft. The demos shown at GDC apparently displayed a wide variety of games, all streaming in real-time over the Web.

To be honest, while I think this might be ahead of its time due to our current Internet capabilities (or lack thereof), this could very well change the console playing field. Imagine not needing to upgrade your console every 2-3 years, but rather, just having a small box that allows you to access the same games over the Internet? All of the hardware work is being done many miles away, and then sent to your TV or PC via a video image, with supposedly no delay in the controller response time.

So what do you guys think? Could this thing actually have a future? Several big name companies seem to think so. Personally, I’m cautiously curious about the whole thing. There are still a lot of questions to be answered- what happens if my Internet cuts out or slows down- do I not get to play in HD anymore? What if I just want to play offline with friends? How does the service hold up with several hundreds of thousands of gamers accessing it at once? How does multiplayer work? Can the server load handle streaming the game to all of the combatants and handle their latency?

Tell us your thoughts- go!

Source- IGN

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

14 thoughts on “Introducing: OnLive, The Future of Gaming?”

  1. That would actually be pretty useful, provided that I am stuck with a laptop that can just barely run Half-Life or Halo 1.

    However, it will likely be difficult to attract game companies, namely the big three, into authorizing games for this thing. After all, consoles are big money makers for Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony, and they’ll likely be none too happy that OnLive is horning in on their turf.

    Definitely a plus for the consumer though, and I hope that this doesn’t bomb – and that Valve will start working with them. 😀

  2. Well, it’s a great idea, but if this ever actually catches on then they’ll need a heckuva lot of top-notch computers, which is really expensive. I’m just not sure how much profit they can make off of the idea, and thus how long their shareholders/VCs will stick around.

  3. This could either be something that will completely revolutionize the gaming world or it could just be like the PHANTOM*i think thats what its called* im really hoping it doesnt end up that was but it just seems too good to be true….have more updates of this whenever you can please cause im pretty interested =D

  4. Cool, but I got a gut instinct it will flop. Just like the TurboExpress (Bet ya don’t know what that is huh?)

  5. OMGASM! OnLive seems like the future of gaming to me. Now it’ll just be up to game developers to compete for money. Plus, buying games could be online, like Steam, instead of CD’s. I also love not having to update my console. Internet connections better be good, though. Maybe there would be special servers for different modes of connection to the interwebz. If OnLive has sound ways of dealing with these issues, I’m 100% for it!

    As for offline, maybe there could be a storage device attached to the OnLive console that can receives and stores game info in case the network is compromised, as well as for offline games.

    Now we pray that this actually works, comes out, and doesn’t suck.

  6. [quote comment=”5421″]Won’t happen without support from the people who make the consoles.[/quote]

    Very true.
    Its one of those ideas that are better on paper than in practice. And you need a good stable connection to get it to work, so thats another problem.
    Its probably gonna be alot of money also.

  7. I doubt it. It may be the future, but it’s not here yet, and I don’t think this is going to be sucessful. I know I’m not buying one.

  8. This to me is something that people say could be huge, but wont. I think thats TOO dependent on the internet. I dont see it being very practical. Honestly, I dont see it going anyplace. At least not here in America.

  9. I wouldn’t mind this change. At least we’d have less fanboy btchin. Sorry, they’re funny 1% of the time. But the other 99% is really getting to me. You don’t see TV’s VT’s VV’s and TT’s. Why have XBOX, PS3, WII, ETC ETC? it’s all for games. Lets just have one darn system already. And get these devs more money so they dont charge us 60 for a game. thx. Actually, I’m less worried about the problems with this system, and more worried about the cost. Something this big is bound to have its prices blown out of proportion.

  10. Oh and by the way, PC game companies have kind of been doing this forever, simply hosting games from other DEVS on their site. Granted, a LOT LOT LOT less people. And also granted, we’re talking about multi system on one network not a whole lot of games on one network ( i think ) it’ll be a hassle of sorts. Plus, if Game Companies don’t give up some of their greed, like everyone says, this may flop.

  11. Well unlike CS, where the servers are paid for by the community itself for their own servers, this would be private, and so they would need to pay employees to maintain and manage (as some have pointed out) Therefore, there would need to be a monthly charge included…

    I’d rather game on my PC at the cost of the games alone than pay monthly for a proxy-gaming machine… Maybe our generation will deem this a neccessity and provide it to the general public like water services!


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