OnLive: Games on demand announced

Ryan Callan

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Sep 30, 2008
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After seven years in stealth mode, a Silicon Valley start-up has launched a "revolutionary" video game service that offers new competition to consoles.
OnLive, which launched at the Game Developer Conference, promises to deliver on demand video games via the cloud to the PC, Mac or TV.
The company said it can provide high quality gaming on low end machines.
"We think this moment, this day will be remembered as the beginning of a new era," said OnLive boss Steve Perlman.
"This is huge. This is transparent cloud computing. This is really really important for the industry.

The MicroConsole connects the TV to the internet


"This will open up creativity, allow for new experiences and new kinds of expression that have never been available before," Mr Perlman told an audience of analysts, industry types and journalists at a ritzy unveiling of the product at San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art.
The innovation behind OnLive rests in its video compression technology which instantly streams video via the internet so that it appears "effectively instantaneously."
"Perpetually, it appears the game is playing locally."
The reality is that all the heavy lifting is done by remote data centres that can be up to a thousand miles away while players use a simple PC or TV hooked up to a broadband connection.
This removes the need for paying hundreds of dollars for traditional disc-based consoles made by the likes of Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony.
"We're giving access to people who don't have access. We've moved hardware out of the equation," said Mr Perlman.

"Digital strategy"
For around an hour Mr Perlman and his chief operating officer Mike McGarvey put OnLIve through some of its paces.
Too various "oohs" and "aahs" from the audience, the two men played games ranging from Crysis Wars to Lego Batman from a cheap laptop and from a Mac notebook.

So far nine big game publishers have signed up to the service

With the data being sent from servers just fifty miles away, the men boasted of being able to play with one-millisecond of lag.
Community tools like leaderboards and avatars along with the ability to share 'brag clips' which are short videos of your game highlights, are also part of the service. Users can also have multiplayer matches and watch other gamers play.
Users will need a high-speed broadband connection of at least 1.5 megabits per second for standard definition results or 5 megabits per second for high definition.
Players who want to use their television will have to purchase a small OnLive MicroConsole that connects the TV to the internet and is about the size of a pack of cards.
So far ten publishers have signed up to provide titles for OnLive. They include familiar names like Atari Interactive, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive Software and Warner Bros.
"OnLive fits our digital strategy, which is to bring content to as many distribution points as possible," Scott Guthrie, vice president of software publishers THQ told the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Amazing"
In the run up to the Game Developer Conference, or GDC, the company has been giving demos of the service.
Sarju Shah of GameSpot has had a test run and said "It seems pretty amazing. From this closed test it works really well . You can actually stream gameplay like Crysis, which is a struggle for most high end computers to do but in this scenario all you need is a little tiny box and an internet connection.

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"If they can pull this off in the wild, given everyone's internet connection in the home, they will truly wreck stuff for everyone. This is the tip of the iceberg. If they can stream gameplay to anybody then basic stuff like streaming video, a joke. Music? A joke," stated Mr Shah.
Mr Perlman said he understood why some people might be wary of what they are selling but that he wants people to question what OnLive can do.
"What we have is something that is absolutely incredible. You should be sceptical. My first thinking was this shouldn't work, but it does."
Analysts believe the success of OnLive could go one of two ways depending on pricing models.
"Depending on what business model these guys adopt, they could be wildly successful or a footnote in history," said Michael Pachter an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities.
Mr McGarvey was coy on the issue but did say it would be subscription based and that pricing "would be worked out in due course."
Over the next few days at the Game Developer Conference, attendees will get the chance to test out the service. The company is also inviting gamers to sign up for an external beta over the summer.
Mr Perlman ended his presentation with one plea to the audience and the wider gaming community. "This is thinking out of the box, help us make it out of the box."
"The benefits of what we are doing are just huge so we've got to at least see if we can make this thing work. It's just too cool," stated Mr Perlman.
Source: bbc.com
 

Bram Hengeveld

RaceDepartment Founder
Staff
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Dec 26, 2006
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GDC 09: Debut Tech Interview with the developer Steve Perlman (movie)

[ame]http://www.gametrailers.com/player/47080.html[/ame]
[ame]http://www.gametrailers.com/player/47082.html[/ame]
 

Bram Hengeveld

RaceDepartment Founder
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Dec 26, 2006
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Burnout Paradise and GRID OnLive

The first two racing games confirmed are Burnout Paradise and GRID. They can be tested on the GDC 2009
 

Mtommi Tam

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Feb 19, 2007
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We hope next time,Simbin all game can use on that,we are waiting,but me can not wait it,Good news this new machine { OnLive }
 
Jun 10, 2007
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Guys, this is a serious game changer, no pun intended.

Watch the video if you have a chance. It's a bit less then an hour long including the Q and A, but well worth it IMO. These guys have put seven years and millions into development and it shows. Awesome stuff.
 

Bram Hengeveld

RaceDepartment Founder
Staff
Premium
Dec 26, 2006
45,886
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According to the interview with Steve Perlman some big publishers have signed up already for this new service.

What does that mean for racing. Wow, i can only imagine our cool game titles in the Game Service, one click away from being launched from any basic pc in the world eventually.

This means that developers can create a game that goes beyong current limitations regarding average hardware that most consumers have at home. Currently games are released that should appeal to average joe's pc. In the very near future as i understand it now, it will be possible that a developer creates a game that is very hard demanding on the GPU. Most of us dont have it but with OnLive you dont even need it :) The source (datacenter, machine) needs the great GPU and it will stream it leave into your home were you can play it on an average machine.

Lol this sounds just so cool, games and in our genre racing games will be even more realistic then they already are because there are no more hardware and software limitations :)
 

Petr Kantor

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Jul 22, 2008
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1 millisecond of added lag due to video transfer and compressing? Unbelievable. I mean, truly unbelievable. My machine runs at 200 fps on some games, but that still makes 5 ms lag per frame. (ie you see something, react to it, and the next frame shows result)
I can barely believe the video compression and transfer and decompression takes just 1 ms for 1200x1024 without creating any artifacts. We are talking lossless compression, right?
 

Petr Kantor

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Jul 22, 2008
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Apart from that that now you need 2, the average machine, and the hyper super ultra machine to see some difference.

How much that "server" will cost per month to pay for? ANd if such machine will be capable of servicing two, three, four end users at a time, do you really expect the cost for such machine would be less than if you built the above average machine yourself? Also, 5 mbit needed for hd resolution, that means, all the 20 million gaming people at any given moment will start to broadcast their games over internet.

Wow, I can see the end of internet, it is really coming near. If my tetris game will kill the internet, then I say nay! I won't play!
 

Dietmar

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Jun 22, 2008
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havent read all of it, I guess that's a damp squib (just learnt a new word 'Rohrkrepierer' in German), looking at video streams from the internet, which works (e.g. youtube) by start the video, press 'Pause' to wait until a good chunk of the video got cached and then start watching it to have a constant stream I have strong doubts in the feasibility of the whole stroy, at least for games that need short response times.

Just imagine, (little) lag to send the current frame to your local box and I am aware of the fact, that you only need to send delta information, you react by doing something on the controller (turn left), this information needs to go back (and I already have seen threads where people discuss that fact that already on local games with a wheel connected via USB the force feedback is lagging behind), over the net to the server, processing and sending the new delta frame back to your box.

I am doubtful.... I know that being doubtful prevents new technology, but this is not about inventing new console/PC/how ever you call it and new data center infrastructure, if I look at current problems with ISPs, that the biggest challenge!
 

Ryan Callan

500RPM
Sep 30, 2008
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This really could be the future. No need to ugrade your hardware, just a good internet connection.

We are looking at the revolution.