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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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RE: Saw this
By therealnickdanger on 3/30/2009 2:11:55 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see how they can possibly do this with no lag

Exactly. That's why it will NEVER work, unfortunately. Even at its best, let's assume you achieved a constant 25ms
"ping" with the server. That means 50ms overall. But lets create a realistic scenario:

You're running down a hallway and you spot an enemy. Well, by the time you see him, it's already been 25ms. Then you shoot at him, that's another 25ms. Then you get visual confirmation that you're hitting him or kill him - another 25ms. I mean, we haven't even factored in display latency or compression/decompression latency.

You could be looking at a quarter to half a second of delay for a typical user. I'd love a system like this if it could truly work "as advertised" but I don't think it will happen. :(

We'll see!

RE: Saw this
By therealnickdanger on 3/30/2009 2:14:17 PM , Rating: 2
I just imagined playing Ninja Gaiden on a system like this. You would die on Easy-mode almost 10 seconds into the game. LOL

RE: Saw this
By Alpha4 on 3/30/2009 6:54:21 PM , Rating: 2
I believe "ping" refers to the amount of time before a packet is sent and returned, so it includes round trip time. That being said your scenario still applies and the latency would be ghastly.

RE: Saw this
By therealnickdanger on 3/31/2009 9:49:40 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Saw this
By monomer on 3/31/2009 2:49:03 PM , Rating: 2
When this service was first announced, I had read somewhere that OnLive wasn't going to be providing the entire service, but would be licensing it out to other providers. I wish I could find the quote now.

One way I could see it work is that if the rendering was being done at say the ISP's server, and this service was an add-on charge to your broadband bill. I get pretty low pings to my ISP(<10ms), so the entire round-trip wouldn't be as bad as having to to go to some remote cloud server. It still wouldn't be the same as rendering at home, but this could mitigate a fair proportion of the lag.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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