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OnLive allows modern video games to be played without a traditional home console or a powerful PC

OnLive, a company founded by internet entrepreneur Steve Perlman, demonstrated its new video game delivery service at this year’s Game Developer Conference 2009. OnLive is a new system that deviates from the traditional way in which video game content is delivered and played using consoles and PCs.

OnLive games are not played off of media disc or local hard drive installs, but are instead processed on OnLive servers and delivered via broadband to the player using a low cost "micro console" or a low end PC or Mac.

The “micro console” is a small, low-cost device that does not contain a GPU and acts only as a video decoding control hub. The device will have two USB inputs and support for four Bluetooth devices, it will output audio and video via optical and HDMI connections.

In theory mainstream games such as F.E.A.R. 2, Bioshock, Far Cry Warhead, and Prince of Persia will be playable without the need of a powerful video game console or computer. The heavy processing will occur on OnLive’s servers and streamed back to the game player.

According to Kotaku, OnLive uses patented video compression technology combined with a system designed to compensate for lag and packet loss. OnLive will deliver video at up to 720p resolution and 60 frames per second. The Kotaku article states for standard definition television quality, a broadband connection of at least 1.5 megabits per second is required. For HDTV resolution, a connection of at least 5 mbps is needed. The OnLive technology is claimed to have a ping of less than one millisecond for video feeds.

The main benefit of OnLive is the need to have a powerful system locally is eliminated. Local installation of games is not necessary and hard drive storage space is no longer an issue. The power of the local system dictating the type of games that can be played would become less of an issue.

According to Kotaku the Crysis Wars demo of OnLive worked well enough in a controlled environment. Major game companies such as EA, Ubisoft, Take-Two, and Eidos have signed on and partnered with OnLive. A subscription based system for the OnLive service is planned and the company is currently searching for beta testers via their company website.

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I think we are all missing the point...
By VooDooAddict on 3/30/2009 10:23:46 AM , Rating: 5
I think we are all missing the point. I'd bet the true business plan here isn't to actually make $$ off the service. It's to develop some tech and patents so that 10-15 years from now when(/if) the internet is capable of handling this they can make $$ of the licensing.

I don't think the US internet infastructure is up to the task of getting what is essentially 1280x720 streaming video playing with zero buffer. Even with one of the 20-30mbit Comcast connections, Hulu and Netflix still buffer a second or two before playing. Noting that you have to wait around for ... but certainly not quick enough for a twitch response game.

By SilentSin on 3/30/2009 12:10:21 PM , Rating: 2
Just a question, but is this how those boxes you find at some hotels work? I've been to quite a few where you can find a PS1 controller or N64 and you pay $500 an hour to play it while you drink a $40 airplane bottle of Jack and eat $10 peanuts.

Sounds like a patent should already exist for this type of thing. That seems like it's about the best sort of setup to install this thing anyway, stick it in hotels or cruise ships. Put it anywhere on a WAN and this idea will faceplant as others have stated already.

By Uncle on 4/4/2009 9:31:40 PM , Rating: 2
I can agree, their is such a thing as patenting an idea. The very fact they editorialized on the net puts a date on the idea, second is sending a double registered letter to a lawyer and leaving it sealed until the day you need to verify that you came up with the idea first in court.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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