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OnLive Founding Members get a free year

Gaming is a huge business and many companies sell the hardware at a loss to get the software business on the back end. This is how Sony positioned the PS3 for a long time, though with each successive update Sony inches closer to profitability with the console.

The future of video games may not center around a console or a PC, assuming the gaming hoards have access to the internet at speeds to prevent lag and poor graphics with cloud-based offerings such as OnLive.

OnLive is advertising a Founding Members program that offers a free year of service to those who quality. After the first year of service, there member will be able to buy a second year of service at $4.95 per month on a month-to-month basis. OnLive states no purchase is necessary for the free year, but those chosen for the free year will have to put a credit card on file.

The free year is subject to availability and only a limited number of spots are offered in different regions of America. At launch OnLive will offer over 20 game titles including Assassin’s Creed 2, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Conviction from Ubisoft; Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins from Electronic Arts; Batman: Arkham Asylum and Just Cause 2 from Square Enix; Borderlands, NBA 2K10 and MLB 2K10 from Take Two; Red Faction: Guerilla from THQ; Fear 2: Project Origin from Warner Bros. Interactive Games.

The service will get new games "constantly" according to OnLive.

OnLive was first demonstrated back at GDC2009. The service promises to stream high-end games from cloud servers to low end PCs and straight to TVs. Games that are offered on the service are some of the more graphically impressive titles that have been launched over the last few years. OnLive promises that the games can be streamed in up to 720p resolution at 60 fps. However, some early reviews of the service found issues with lag.

In September of 2009, OnLive secured additional funding to complete the back-end systems needed to host the games and announced that it was nearing a beta offering.

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Hate to sound skeptical...
By Redwin on 6/18/2010 9:22:06 AM , Rating: 5
But if you're just seeing a streaming video, and the game is running on a cloud server, isn't some amount of lag between your controller input and the game receiving it and processing it inevitable? That's to say nothing of the return trip lag for the streaming video to get to your screen and let you see the effect of your input.

I'm sure it would work fine for some types of games, but for FPS's and particularly things like Guitar Hero, where even a few ms of lag from your TV's video processing is noticeable; I just don't see it being playable.

I'd love to be proven wrong though. $5 a month is awfully reasonable.

RE: Hate to sound skeptical...
By nafhan on 6/18/2010 9:39:55 AM , Rating: 2
I'd imagine it'll work OK for at least some people or they wouldn't be launching the service at all. At $5 a month, it'll have to be really bad for me to not at least give it a try.
Your experience will probably come down to how close you are to the nearest datacenter and your ISP. If you're the one with high ping times in online games, there's probably a good chance you'll have trouble with this, too.

By Patrick Canney on 6/18/2010 2:21:46 PM , Rating: 3
It is mitigated via a deal with local ISP's and On Live servers. So your lag is cut, but it still isn't the same as a local console/pc.

Still, I don't think it will have that bad an impact on lag compared to multi-player games we're already used to. Your controller input still has to get to the server, and the server is where it all happens anyway.

What concerns me most is a subscription model for on demand gaming, and how much it will cost. Essentially they are cutting out retail and downloadable content, so what do we actually own except some on demand gaming box.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
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