by George A
OnLive is a cloud based gaming service. The company uses emulation on their hardware to provide games that are streamed to your computer’s web browser. This allows people who normally don’t own computers with good enough hardware to run games that have very high graphics. This is also an option for someone running Mac OS X. The user accesses the OnLive website and then downloads a small file which opens a web browser on execution. The catalog of games is shown to them. Users can rent specific games, pay monthly, play a demo for free or purchase a game for close to the original price. The save data for their games is saved on the server so that they can pick up where they left off. The tablet application is in development. OnLive also offers the micro console which allows users to play games via their home TV and without a need for their own computer. This is priced at £69.99 and offers an HDMI output. According to the article the service run perfectly on a 10mpbs internet speed.
OnLive absolutely offers a very unique service and I think it has a lot of potential to be very successful. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any obstacles it its way to reaching success. I have used OnLive personally several times and have been impressed but there’s still some work to be done. I played the beta over a year ago when the service had about 12 games in the catalog to be streamed. Back then the service simply was unplayable. I had a 14mbps internet connection then and the video had way too much consistent lag. When anything was input on the keyboard, a moment later it would move on the screen no matter what game was being streamed. I deemed the service unplayable and sent them feedback with my experience. They gave me a massive list of things to check before reaching a verdict on the service. Nothing fixed the constant lag issue. Recently I started up the service again tested a few games. The service has improved drastically since I used it last. The lag issue is virtually gone. The only thing to note is the fact the games do not stream at the highest quality. As a result I received video quality that was subpar to the actual quality if it was run on my computer’s hardware. This is an improvement from where it was a year ago but still isn’t worth spending money on.
The fact that OnLive is actually running thousands of copies of games that require very high system requirements is outstanding. They must have invested an incredible amount in servers to provide such high processing power for their users. I don’t think the service is where it needs to be overall though. I do think that this is a potential option for gaming as long as the experience is exactly as it is running on client hardware. I think this is the largest hurdle for OnLive to overcome. Aside from this issue, OnLive doesn’t offer even close all the games that they could. Activision, EA, Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony published games are completely left out of their catalog. This is similar to their biggest competitor Steam although Steam does offer a considerable amount more games than OnLive.
Raze. Ashton. (2011, October 7th). OnLive Cloud Gaming: Review. The Telegraph. Retrieved from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/video-games/video-game-reviews/8808964/OnLive-cloud-gaming-review.html