OnLive: The future of gaming?

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OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby papalazeru on Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:43 am

IGN has the story on this one

Just announced at this year's GDC, OnLive is an on-demand gaming service. It's essentially the gaming version of cloud computing - everything is computed, rendered and housed online. In its simplest description, your controller inputs are uploaded, a high-end server takes your inputs and plays the game, and then a video stream of the output is sent back to your computer. Think of it as something like Youtube or Hulu for games.

The service works with pretty much any Windows or Mac machine as a small browser plug-in. Optionally, you will also be able to purchase a small device, called the OnLive MicroConsole, that you can hook directly into your TV via HDMI, though if your computer supports video output to your TV, you can just do it that way instead. Of course, you can also just play on your computer's display if you don't want to pipe it out to your living room set.

When you load up the service and choose a game to play (I'll come back to the service's out-of-games features in a bit), it starts immediately. The game is housed and played on one of OnLive's servers, so there's never anything to download. Using an appropriate input device, be it a controller or mouse and keyboard, you'll then play the game as you would if it were installed on your local machine. Your inputs are read by the plugin (or the standalone device if you choose to go that route) and uploaded to the server. The server then plays the game just like it would if you were sitting at the machine, except that instead of outputting the video to a display, it gets compressed and streamed to your computer where you can see the action. Rinse and repeat 60 times per second.

To make this happen, OnLive has worked diligently to overcome lag issues. The first step in this was creating a video compression algorithm that was as quick as possible. The current solution only introduces one millisecond of lag to encode the video, which alone is completely unnoticeable to you. Obviously, a fast internet connection is required on your end to stream the gameplay video. A 1.5 mbps connection (which is usually what base-level DSL is rated at) is required for standard-definition video (480p), while a 5.0 mbps connection is required for HD (720p). The actual necessary speed is a tad less than advertised, so as long as your provider says you have these speeds, you should be OK.

The cool thing here is that your only requirement is a capable internet connection and some sort of computer. In theory, you should be able to play Crysis on a netbook. A handful of us have played the game, at its highest settings, on a MacBook Air with the service. Not only is the game not normally available on the Mac (outside of running Boot Camp), but the MacBook Air is hardly a gaming device, and yet we were able to hop in and play it as smoothly as a nicely-specced machine. We also played Burnout Paradise on a similarly-equipped PC laptop, and despite how quick that game is, it ran and played fine as well.

Do the games run at 60fps? Technically, yes, but the video stream makes it feel less so. They're still smooth, but Burnout wasn't as brisk as it is on a PS3, for instance. But make no mistake - everything we tried was completely playable (and most importantly, quite responsive), and being that you're able to play these games without any dedicated hardware, that's a huge, huge thing.


I don't think it's going to beat actual ownership of a physical copy of something. People prefer something tangible so they know if everything fails, they still have it.
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Re: OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby instant_karma on Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:48 am

This sounds like an excellent idea for people who always want to play the latest games, but have machines that may no longer be up to spec.
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Re: OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby King Of Nowhere on Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:51 am

So is this an attempt to avoid piracy in the gaming world?

It just seems like an awkward version of something like steam.
You're gonna need a contract & i'm guessing they'll have monthly fees or something too, so why not do it properly & let people have something installed?

Strange.

First, they stopped giving you a manual in the box.
Then they stopped giving you a disk in the box.
Now we're not even getting a box?

Maybe they could market it as "gaming for the ikea household"
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Re: OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby instant_karma on Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:59 am

Does Steam let you play games that are beyond the specs of your computer? I didn't realise that.
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Re: OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby King Of Nowhere on Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:13 am

No, but neither will this.
You're not gonna get the same sound or visuals from a streaming game as you would a normal one, regardless of your system spec & internet speed.

Burnout will be running at 640x480 or whatever the 16:9 equivalent of that is.
60fps games will have frameskip, so you'll be getting 30fps or thereabouts.
5.1 is out the window too.
then you've got to worry about input lag.
You're not really playing the same game, you're playing a port.
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Re: OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby papalazeru on Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:48 am

Nice arguments KON and I agree with every single one of them.

Let me add the confusion by saying, are you just buying access to the service (like Xbox) but then you have to buy each individual game for an allotted time? Will you have access to a back catalogue? Once you've bought a game, do you have it for life? What about the home made modding community and user made patches? What's to stop the company, in a bickering argument with a 3rd party, stop serving customers for that game? At least if you own the game there are clever enough people that can do work arounds to run home servers on PC.

If Microsoft monopolise on this idea (like they are trying to monopolise with their Live service on PC - mimicking Steam), then it's goodbye to the gaming world and hello hefty price tag for everything.

Not that I hate everything that Microsoft do, its the way they go about it corporately rather than caring for gamers or the modding the community.

I don't think this will have the following they are after. It maybe good as a preview service to see what new games are like but we have that with Demos now.

It looks like an attempt to remain as commercially rich as possible while removing any creativity from the user.

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Re: OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby Fievel on Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:18 am

This likely won't work, but between this, Steam, and the console's online systems, it's obvious where the future will lie.
It's the same thing as the future of watching movies at home.
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Re: OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby papalazeru on Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:28 am

Fievel wrote:This likely won't work, but between this, Steam, and the console's online systems, it's obvious where the future will lie.
It's the same thing as the future of watching movies at home.


I think it will come down to where we will stop paying the buck and say enough to another 2 payment charges cleverly disguised as a 'user friendly and gamer hardcore' intensive package.
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Re: OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby Hermanator X on Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:07 am

Video of the system linky here

It sounds pretty cool, if it works as it is said to, but with 7 years in development and take two, EA, Ubisoft and Epic signing up it must hold some water.

I wouldnt write it off just yet, and maybe wax positive about it, rather than tear it a new one sight unseen. The simple fact that it can bypass a pc altogether and plugs in as a dongle to your tv is very exciting.
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Re: OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby papalazeru on Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:00 pm

and how much control do you have over content?

Effron!...I mean...Zackly!
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Re: OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby ChaoticMoira on Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:49 pm

Fievel wrote:This likely won't work, but between this, Steam, and the console's online systems, it's obvious where the future will lie.
It's the same thing as the future of watching movies at home.


That's what I was gonna say..
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Re: OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby Fievel on Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:32 pm

This story is everywhere now.
If OnLive isn't the specific future, they're at least opening the door to it.
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Re: OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby Bob Samonkey on Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:44 pm

It is really gonna suck having that T-1 line installed...
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Re: OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby Leckomaniac on Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:29 pm

I don't know it seems pretty cool to me? I am an absolute novice when it comes to playing games on a computer, so that might be why it sounds so cool to me, but the idea that I can play top of the line games on my MacBook without any tinkering on my end is rad.

But what I want more than anything is to be able to play my old Red Alert Tiberiun Sun on my macbook. I loved that fucking game.
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Re: OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby stereosforgeeks on Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:52 pm

they had a beta sign up the other week. I signed up but havent heard anything. We'll see if im chosen.
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Re: OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby King Of Nowhere on Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:58 pm

Leckomaniac wrote:
But what I want more than anything is to be able to play my old Red Alert Tiberiun Sun on my macbook. I loved that fucking game.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Virtual_PC

You may be able to get a hold of an older version on Amazon or Ebay.
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Re: OnLive: The future of gaming?

Postby Hermanator X on Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:03 pm

This aint onlive, but it sounds similar enough to post it in the same thread.

http://kotaku.com/5528245/you-can-play-the-secret-of-monkey-island-inside-this-post


Online gaming innovator InstantAction may have just changed the way games are distributed on the internet, with the introduction of a service that lets publishers embed games like The Secret of Monkey Island as easily as a YouTube video.

InstantAction's new service uses thin-client, in-browser, and progressive downloading technology to allow publishers to stream video games directly to clients. Games like LucasArts' The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, seen below, can then be embedded anywhere HTML code is accepted.

"It was only a matter of time before the Internet disrupted the extremely limited distribution channels available to game creators, enabling direct-to-consumer access and more control over sales performance and profits," said Evan S. Wilson, senior research analyst of Pacific Crest Securities. "The InstantAction platform virtually obliterates the obstacles to game distribution by making it possible for anyone to embed any video game anywhere on the web, just like embedding a video. For game creators, this opens up distribution channels that haven't previously been an option – especially for console-quality games. For consumers, it creates endless possibilities for game discovery, risk-free trial, and faster downloads."



Within the link, is indeed a 20 minute trial version of monkey island, if you want to give it a go. Quite interesting no?
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