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OnLive Remote Gaming Service Launches In June 316

Posted by Soulskill
from the promises-coming-due dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "After eight years of development, remote gaming service OnLive is scheduled to roll out on June 17 for Windows and Mac. The company also announced its service pricing: users will need to pay $14.95 per month, which will allow them access to the service. However, the company did not disclose the price to rent or purchase games. 'It is partnering in this launch with publishers including Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, 2K Games, THQ and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The games will also include new releases like Mass Effect 2, Borderlands, Assassin’s Creed II, as well as a bunch of other titles. Perlman anticipates anywhere from a dozen to 25 titles to be available at launch time, and more after that, depending on how negotiations with other publishers proceed.'"
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OnLive Remote Gaming Service Launches In June

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  • What a steal! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @07:14PM (#31432436)
    Zero control over my purchases? Zero re-sale value when I'm tired of a game? Zero incentive for publishers to discount their titles? Zero bandwidth & gaming ability remaining once I hit my cap? Zero ability to take my games with me once the company goes belly-up (and boy, will it ever...)? All for the low, low price of $15/mo? Sign me up!
  • by twidarkling (1537077) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @07:18PM (#31432488)

    So I'm paying $15 a month so that I don't need to have a fancy computer to play all the latest games. Except I'm still paying for the games.

    So, say a $1000 computer will last me about four years. I'd save about $280 using this service, but I'd have to get all my games through them, I'd only be able to play when my Internet works (wait, are they Ubisoft in disguise?), and the quality of my experience isn't guaranteed to be as good as playing on a copy running off my own machine.

    You know what? I'll *pay* that $280, and gladly.

  • guaranteed failure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SethJohnson (112166) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @07:24PM (#31432540) Homepage Journal
    The business model is flawed from square-one. This is going to sink into bankruptcy very, very quickly. The overhead is pretty significant and profit is required rapidly to keep it afloat. The problem is that there is very little incentive for anyone to sign up. They are competing with consoles AND pc games, yet they only offer pc games. People that are inclined to play PC games already have hardware that can handle it. Those who are not inclined, are on consoles. If their hardware isn't state-of-the-art, they play older games and save for newer hardware. $14.95 a month is so steep, it is only really the type of subscription fee that could be paid by someone who has enough money to buy a computer serious enough to play contemporary games.

    This will join cue-cat, divx, and broadcast.com in the tomb of ideas that suckered investors yet were non-movers in the marketplace.

    Seth
  • Cloud Computing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mprinkey (1434) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @07:26PM (#31432552)

    I can't wait for this newest bubble to burst. Thin clients haven't really been embraced for office apps where 95% of the functionality can run in the browser and it will work reasonably well. How can you expect to compete with native apps on PCs where performance is cheaply had so long as you don't need to run at the highest settings...or on consoles which look almost as good? The problem for game companies is that many folks have realized that they can play year old games on cheap new hardware to great effect...after the game is reduced to 50%.

    I don't see the market niche. Hardcore gamers won't touch it. Casual gamers will baulk at the $15/month by in BEFORE you get the privilege to buy/rent a game. So, who will want this unless the games are steeply discounted? $180/year could be well spent on local hardware upgrades.

  • by Mandelbrot-5 (471417) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @07:42PM (#31432682)

    Four years out of a 1k gaming rig? I'm a cheap bastard, and I still spend $400 a year to keep just above minimum specs for the new engines.

  • Do not want (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dave562 (969951) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @07:43PM (#31432694) Journal

    I'm probably missing something here, but why would I want to pay $15 for the privledge of buying software from OnLive?

  • Re:Cloud Computing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @07:47PM (#31432726)

    I can't wait for this newest bubble to burst. Thin clients haven't really been embraced for office apps where 95% of the functionality can run in the browser and it will work reasonably well. How can you expect to compete with native apps on PCs where performance is cheaply had so long as you don't need to run at the highest settings...or on consoles which look almost as good? The problem for game companies is that many folks have realized that they can play year old games on cheap new hardware to great effect...after the game is reduced to 50%.

    I don't see the market niche. Hardcore gamers won't touch it. Casual gamers will baulk at the $15/month by in BEFORE you get the privilege to buy/rent a game. So, who will want this unless the games are steeply discounted? $180/year could be well spent on local hardware upgrades.

    Besides ... they'll have to contend with Valve's Steam.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @07:47PM (#31432730)

    You're doing it wrong.

  • Re:What a steal! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @08:42PM (#31433152)

    I don't think you understand that publishers have a much greater incentive to discount their titles just like they do on Valve's steam. You don't seem to realize that in retail the tail end of a game title's sales curve is completely leeched by used game companies like gamestop, who undercut retail prices by 50% and reap all the profits for essentially doing nothing.

    As people have seen with Steam, when the companies don't have to contend with Gamestop they can lower their prices to very low levels to stimulate sales, knowing that they won't simply be undercut by used game stores.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @08:51PM (#31433238)
    So, who is the target group? Gamers won't go for this, because of performance issues and the fact that they already have gaming platforms. Non-gamers won't go for this because they don't play games. Casual gamers won't want to pay the monthly fee, and have plenty of cheap alternatives.
  • Re:What a steal! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cgenman (325138) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @08:55PM (#31433264) Homepage

    It sounds like you are actually buying and renting. 15$ per month covers remote processing charges, not the games themselves.

    Considering the data that must flow and the server procs that must run hot, $15 a month doesn't sound crazy. But at those prices, upgrade your darned video card.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @09:33PM (#31433512)

    At least not in the same way your computer is. All video on your computer is sent losslessly, 4:4:4 to your monitor. Full colour resolution per pixel, no blocking of any kind, etc. Gives a very sharp image. This? Not so much. You aren't going to get great quality 720p video, even with the highest end codecs like H.264. It'll be ok, but plenty of artifacts (and that's at 30fps not 60). However they can't do H.264, even if they had infinite compression power, it takes a heavy hitter of a system to decompress, or a videocard that can help the process. So they did their own thing. Well guess what? You can have detail, low bandwidth, or low CPU usage but not all 3.

    Looking at screenshots taken from the service, you do lose a good deal of detail. The textures get smeared, the colours are less distinct, etc. All the typical stuff anyone who's played with video compression is familiar with.

    So you aren't getting the same experience as you would with a card on the system doing 1280x720, unless you maybe turned the detail down a good bit. There's no solution except to use more bandwidth, or more CPU power decoding (and even that has limits, more bandwidth is the only truly scalable solution). For 720p in Blu-Ray quality you are looking at probably 7mbps minimum, maybe more.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @09:44PM (#31433568)

    Sorry but I do understand how it works, because I understand networking and video compression both very well. That's all it does. Input from the player's PC is sent to the OnLive servers, the game does with it what it will, the resulting image stream is then compressed and sent to the client PC.

    As for ping time and bandwidth mattering if you don't understand, it means you don't understand networking. So, a ping is more or less a small (or zero) payload packet that you send to a server and get a response. Very low overhead. It represents minimum round-trip transit time. Meaning if you have a ping of, say 100ms, your computer will start receiving data from the server not less than 100ms from making the request. Ok, all well and good. However real data isn't 0 bytes. There is an actual data stream to transfer before you can use it. You have to get all the data. How fast that happens depends on the speed of your connection. so suppose your payload is 100kbits. On a 56k modem, it would take about 1800ms to transfer which with a 100ms ping would mean 1900ms from the time a request was sent. On a 1mbps connection, it would take only 100ms to transfer, total of 200ms. On a 100mbps connection it would take 1ms to transfer, 101ms total.

    As such both ping AND transfer rate play in to what kind of lag you get with actual data.

    That is one of the reasons why they are saying you need a bigger connection than the actual data stream, other wise the transfer of the video would add too much lag.

    Sorry if you want this thing to be great, but there are real issues of the Internet and so on that they are contending with, things that PR speak can't make go away. You can't magically tell someone's connection to have less lag.

  • Re:What a steal! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday March 10, 2010 @11:11PM (#31434094)

    Doing nothing? They provide a valuable service by creating a secondary market that provides income that is used in the primary market.

    They reduce waste.

  • Re:What a steal! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 11, 2010 @12:52AM (#31434628)

    How many of the games they sell run natively on Linux?

    I doubt it would be worth the effort for them to port the client.

  • Re:What a steal! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DaleGlass (1068434) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @02:47AM (#31435072) Homepage

    None of that income goes to the primary market.

    Nor it should.

    People do not buy more "new" games because they've sold more used games. The budget rationale of human beings is not so rational. In addition the ones who buy used games are looking for good deals and cheaper-than-retail prices. Since Gamestop can *always* undercut retail no matter what retail is priced at, game publishers lose a huge chunk of profit to Gamestop.

    Which is how it should be. If not all of the purchasers are interested in keeping it forever, and part of the interested people decide they can wait to get it cheaper used, it would be inefficient to force them all to get a new copy and keep it.

  • Re:What a steal! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KDR_11k (778916) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @11:57AM (#31438666)

    Games get platform independent, can run on your PC, your Mac, your TV or even your iPhone.

    Nah, that thing can barely control games when they're made for it, throwing a PC game at it will be plain unplayable due to the interface. Speaking of interface, what do we do if Sony and MS following Nintendo on the motion controls concept will lead to PC games using motion controls too? Can't just stream a new controller to the user.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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