OnLive – The Future of Gaming?

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OnLive, an increasingly popular name, is on the verge of coming out with something big. OnLive is a gaming-on-demand platform, dedicated to streaming video games directly over the internet to your TV. Think about it – no more consoles, no more discs, no more running to the store to wait in line all night for your favorite video game. OnLive is promising to change the future of the video game industry. However, some functions are yet to be desired, and their may be fallouts in other areas of design.
With partnerships forming in every corner of the video game industry, OnLive has signed deals with EA, Take-Two, Ubisoft, Epic Games, Atari, Codemasters, THQ, Warner Bros., 2D Boy & Eidos Interactive. A pretty hefty lineup if you ask us, OnLive will be sure to deliver every video game, in every size and shape.
With OnLive’s release scheduled for Winter of 2009, beta testing is curerntly underway. We tried to sign up for one, but we have yet to hear back from OnLive. What you get with the purchase is small gaming unit with an attractive bluetooth controller. The controller looks like a cross between the Xbox360 controller and the PS3 Dual-Shock controller, a pretty nice combo if you ask us. The grip looks excellent, and the buttons are in well suited positions for gameplay. Bluetooth capabilities will also help to ensure a strong and critical connection. The gaming box itself is pretty small and will connect directly to your TV and internet connection. Serving as the liaison between the two, OnLive promises to deliver streaming video game action, from your internet connection, through its services, and right out to your TV.
One thing is for sure, you better have a strong and sufficient internet connection at your home or office. To transfer a high definition signal, speeds of over 5Mbps+ are needed. If you currently have Optimum Online, FiOS or any other new-age internet service with high speeds you should be fine. Normal cable customers and land line customers will definitely suffer. Much lower speeds will provide much lower resolutions being outputted to your TV. Especially if you recently spent some money on a nice new HDTV, you won’t be getting your money’s worth.
The gaming architecture and infrastructure of the OnLive business model is an interesting one. Since users will be streaming games over the internet to their homes, OnLive must house huge centers of servers to provide all this gameplay data. With plans for five data centres across North America, OnLive hopes to provide a sufficient quantity of bandwidth for all. What’s interesting is that newer-age games such as Call of Duty and the computer crushing video game Crysis will probably require much more use of a server than older games such as Command & Conquer and the original Diablo, which can probably share one GPU on one server by serving multiple instances of the game.
Costs are definitely still in question for this expensive endeavor. Serving fees, bandwidth costs, research and development, will all be incorporated into the price and monthly fee for OnLive’s use. While they can’t follow similar strategies such as Sony and Microsoft, by essentially losing money on the sale of their console’s only to make money selling games and accessories, OnLive may have to follow suite by making it up with their fees and charges. The future of gaming? Will this truly mean the end of console’s? One thing for sure is that this will put serious stress on Sony and Microsoft. The competition will be fierce for the foreseeable future of the video game market, as one day we truly see this as the future of video gaming, whomever decides to take the lead.

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