OnLive, remote gaming on demand

Announced at the Game Developers Conference in March 2009, OnLive is an interesting new technology that takes cloud computing to a whole new level. The concept of OnLive is basically to play a game which is running on a remote computer and having a the video output of the game streaming back to your home computer. All the input will come from your own keyboard and transmitted to the remote OnLive computer.

This form of gaming will have one main consumer in mind, those with low-mid range computers. The resource-heavy games like say... CRYSIS!!! will be handled completely by OnLive's computers, leaving your 6 year old computer to handle solely receiving a video stream.

That is not the only benefit that OnLive is touting. There is also a nice interface which shows a wide variety of games which are available. It uses video thumbnails which together forms a huge wall of games from which you can start.

There has been some skepticism from many on how well this sort of cloud gaming would perform in real world settings. OnLive states that to achieve 720x480 would require 1.5Mbits/sec and for 1280x720 would require 5Mbits/sec. Matt Peckham from PC Gamer discussed that to transmit an HD stream uninterrupted, the consumer would need a "guaranteed, non-shared, uninterruptible speed", but broadband isn't quite at that level yet.

The only demonstration for the public so far was done at the Game Developer Conference. The PC Gamer staff, who were there at the convention floor testing OnLive reported that there was no noticeable difference in lag between input and the video feed on their screen. The play test was relatively close to the OnLive server though, only 50 miles away from their hosting hub. Their closed-beta players only consisted of 100 people. Open-beta applications are being taken right now, and will begin in summer.

There is also a OnLive console which will be available for those who wish to have a video gaming console. I'm thinking Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo will be eagerly watching the progress of OnLive

Here's a video demo from the Game Developers Conference of OnLive:


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