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HTC Invests $40 Million In OnLive 48

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-waiting-for-mass-effect-on-my-microwave dept.
Smartphone-maker HTC has invested a significant chunk of change into cloud gaming service OnLive, raising speculation that the service could be headed for mobile devices. "At the D8 conference in June 2010, one of the most impressive demonstrations was a PC game running on an Apple iPad tablet via the OnLive service. HTC has yet to announce a tablet, although a recent report by DigiTmes said that HTC will ship a tablet at about the time that the Motorola Xoom launches." The deal comes alongside HTC's acquisition of a company involved with mobile video-on-demand, pointing to a renewed interest in bringing more types of content to mobile customers
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HTC Invests $40 Million In OnLive

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  • I hope this creates competition we could see better gaming experience as competition rise
    • Re:Competition! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @08:16AM (#35148952) Journal
      From the perspective of "competition", deals of this sort make me a touch nervous.

      It could be largely benign: "Company that makes devices incapable of playing PC level games sees potential in service that would change that, doesn't want it to die, does want to profit if it succeeds".

      However, the cellphone market is a bundling-riddled hellhole. Hardware exclusives are used to drive service subscriptions, certain carriers obtain "content exclusives", etc, etc. Seeing an "OnLive Go: Only from HTC" sticker in the near future would, let's say, entirely fail to surprise me.

      That may well light a fire under some of the on-device game producers, and the device makers whose hardware capabilities they depend on(though those already seem to be moving about as fast as the, quite competitive, ARM SoC market can carry them); but a deal between a handset maker and a potential handset content publisher is unlikely to aid competition much(particularly if OnLive has any juicy patents over important parts of their comparatively low-latency streaming stuff...)

      The situation it looks most similar to, to me, is when Microsoft or Sony eat an independent game developer in order to obtain an exclusive for their respective console. The amounts they are willing to pay to do so are certainly indicative of competition; but competition of a sort that is basically just a pain in the ass for buyers: many games are simply unavailable on one platform or the other, and those prices being paid then have to be ground out of the install base that they help generate...
      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        The problem at least here in the US is more and more carriers are going to metered billing to keep from actually having to reinvest their massive profits into their infrastructure and groups like Onlive are betting the farm on infrastructure that isn't there and likely won't be for the foreseeable future to most folks.

        Just look at the stink with Comcast wanting paid for allowing Netflix, now imagine a service that blows through bandwidth so hard it makes Netflix look like passing GIFs on BBS. Does anybod

    • by Ricken (797341)
      Yes, but OnLive could surely use a lot of more servers (world wide). I tried some demos, with a 100/100mbit optical fibre connection over here in Sweden the latency was unbearable, not to be unexpected as they only have servers situated in the U.S. amirite?
      • by Guspaz (556486)

        That'd be the distance, yes. I tried OnLive in Montreal (my ISP bounces me through Toronto), for a total path (by car) of ~1300KM. The recommended range of OnLive to their datacenters is ~1600KM. So, I'm not optimal, but I'm well within range.

        My experience was that latency was acceptable (I was surprised, really, how low it was) and that people at shorter ranges might even see latencies below a typical console game (console games tend to have massive input latency compared to PC games).

        However, the video qu

    • It's more like the starting of the race to define the "next-gen" of console gaming. All the content is going to be available as DLC only with some sort of subscription required to access/play. Question is will you even own the content or will it be rental only or some combination there of. But the idea of cloud gaming probably has a few bigwigs raising an eyebrow. One, all the games are hosted on the OnLive hardware. If it's only available via OnLive, that makes piracy MUCH harder. Secondly, you have

    • by alen (225700)

      yes, paying onlive to rent a game is so much better than buying it for the same price or less on my x-box or PS3. and my x-box/ps3 can be used for netflix, hulu, dvd, blu ray and other uses. onlive will just waste a HDMI port on my TV

      • by PingSpike (947548)

        I have no idea why OnLive is billed as a competitor to "buying an expensive gaming PC". It is clearly a competitor to buying a cheap console. And looked at objectively, it fails at every point in that match up (ongoing cost, selection of titles, performance, image quality, ease of use, reliability, versatility of experience, etc) except perhaps a barely lower initial cost and novelty.

        The gaming PC thing is a head scratcher. Let's forget that buying a Dell and plugging a $100 video card in it will get the jo

        • by MogNuts (97512)

          You're entirely correct. I can't believe no one has realized that it's a console competitor.

          But I have to disagree with you on graphics and ease of use. You buy or rent it, it just plays. Yes consoles are ridiculously easy. But this is even easier. Buy it, it plays. No shipping, waiting, popping in a disc, or even two button pressed to do a game patch update. And it's playable on any PC you own, across multiple ones.

          And the graphics. I recently got back into console gaming from the PC (I have a 360 and a PS

  • The money (Score:4, Funny)

    by ciderbrew (1860166) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @07:46AM (#35148828)
    I've no Idea if $40 Million is a lot of money for this project. I see so many huge numbers on the news about money that anything less than One... Hundred... BILLION DOLLARS! doesn't bother me.
    • It's all relative. If you only have $5 and spend $4 of it, then you've made a huge investment. If you have a $1B and spend $40M, it's like taking the spare change from the sofa and buying a couple lottery tickets.

      • by Mouldy (1322581)
        Is HTC's spare change a lot to OnLive? If OnLive were previously only sitting on $10m of funds, a boost of $40m gives them a huge incentive to make sure their service works well on HTC smart phones.
  • Is it really practical to play a PC or console game on a mobile or tablet? Talk about niche within a niche. Games designed specifically for a tablet will offer a far better experience, and it's as if the next-generation of tablets have a shortage of processing power. Maybe HTC fancies making its own OnLive box with some extra home-cooked features - Apple TV with games anyone?
    • by wintermute000 (928348) <johannlo1NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @08:57AM (#35149158)

      You're missing the bigger picture.

      Imagine a top of the line HTC tablet with a slide out joypad or included BT joypad, hardware optimised / accelerated stream decoding etc. that 'plug and play's anything from onlive. Sure you've still got game interface issues but as the portable gaming market grows more and more games will be designed with portables in mind, even AAA titles eventually. OK so 3G or 4G streaming online still sounds like scifi (that extra 100+ms latency.... oooooh) but could work very well with wifi. How about a Motorola atrix style dock next to your TV? Suddenly you have a tablet that doubles as an portable onlive machine that can dock into your HDTV for a full onlive experience, or you can take it round to your mates place.

      Without knowing HTC's balance sheet and cashflow don't know if 40 million is a big number for them but this could be far from a niche within a niche.

      • by Melchett (1992998)
        Some interesting ideas. I could see a tablet as a docking Onlive system, but would people pay extra for the functionality or be happy to have something dedicated sitting under their TV? The actual OnLive box is hardly obtrusive, is it? Way too many ifs and maybes in this equation for me, but it's interesting nonetheless. I like HTC, so I hope it leads to something fruitful.
        • Well if you could undock that tablet and play at your mates house for example (I'm assuming wifi .... 3g latency lol) it could be enough of a value add to justify buying instead of separate tablet and onlive box.

          Anyhow as a proud Nexus One owner I can only say GO HTC

      • by Y2KDragon (525979)
        HTC is also frequently rated very high for the quality and performance of their existing devices. HTC isn't just sitting back and running with what they already do. They are boldly going forward, bluring even further the line between devies and functionality. And besides, they could just know a good product when they see it.
    • by r0n0c (1795646)

      Maybe HTC fancies making its own OnLive box with some extra home-cooked features - Apple TV with games anyone?

      OnLive already sells this $99 box. http://www.onlive.com/game-system [onlive.com] I bought one during their CES promotion for $66. Worth it. I don't own a gaming console above my ps2, and my "gaming" pc is pretty old. (more than 4 years) This purchase has allowed me to play high res new games on my 50" plasma. I like it. However their service really needs a broader spectrum of games.

  • by jenningsthecat (1525947) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @08:53AM (#35149148)
    Now we're gonna have to worry about drivers playing games...
    • Now we're gonna have to worry about drivers playing games...

      It's better than having to worry about drivers before playing games !
      [/rimshot]

      (....and runs back to hide behind his stuffed Tux before anybody throws rotten tomatoes)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    About time this OnLive shit dies.

    We know it's technically flawed, because you simply can't beat the speed of light and the feeling of latent control. We know it's only getting members from cheap initial pricing (oh look, now you've got to pay more for the games you want!) and from throwing millions of dollars in the direction of advertising and backroom deals.

    If I'm not buying the hardware, I'm not playing ball. Fuck the cloud, dammit.

  • It's one example of something that's possible with android and much more difficult with iOS.

    As android is open source, any interested manufacturer can jump in an decide to develop this kind of support.

    Whereas, Saint Jobs tends to like his platform kept tightly controlled, and usually isn't very happy about anything that could bring uncontrolled content to it. (The ban on Applications able to interpret arbitrary code, run interactive flash games, etc.) They can demo it on an iPad, but they can't go live, un

    • by Microlith (54737)

      As android is open source, any interested manufacturer can jump in an decide to develop this kind of support.

      And they'll have to reimplement it every time Google moves the OS in a new direction. Not that this matters, seeing as how OnLive is all about streaming video and not actually executing anything.

  • I can run emacs with syntax highlight *ducks*
  • phones are getting better and better really confused on what to buy...
  • by Krneki (1192201) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @12:31PM (#35151420)
    Last time I checked mobile Internet sucks donkey balls when it come to latency. And reading the current news I don't see this changing anytime soon.
  • by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday February 09, 2011 @12:58PM (#35151766)

    It disheartens me to see people so excited over what OnLive promises, since in the end it's only "benefit" over properly designed games is to the publishers, via perfect and unbreakable DRM. You get "higher detail, higher resolution" games crammed down through heavy compression over a high latency network on to a tiny screen, so no real gain there. You get nasty control schemes forced upon you by lack of any real tactile controls.

    Never mind that OnLive's payment schemes keep shifting. I expect it will likely end up in the state of "pay retail (or near retail) for a game that requires a subscription to keep going." Which is where they initially chartered it.

    Oh and fuck this FIVE MINUTE DELAY BETWEEN POSTS!

    • by westlake (615356)

      It disheartens me to see people so excited over what OnLive promises, since in the end it's only "benefit" over properly designed games is to the publishers, via perfect and unbreakable DRM.

      Vizio will be adding an OnLive "app" to its Internet enabled HDTV suite.

      It is easy to imagine the OnLive client becoming as deeply embedded into the "home theater" market as Netflix and Pandora.

      But DRM isn't the only thing here that will ruffle the geek's feathers.

      The "app" bypasses the "standards based" browser as a platform - and it is the raw performance of the video codec and other essential technologies which matter - and not their freedom or openess.

  • I guess HTC is convinced enough to blow $40M on this, but this obsession with "streaming games from the cloud" really doesn't seem to have made much traction. I have to think that it makes even less sense on a cell phone because of how much bandwidth would be used.
    • by gmb61 (815164)
      It's just streaming video, so it's going to use the same amount of bandwidth, as say, Netflix does.
  • Could there be a more rediculously ineffecient way to waste bandwidth while at the same time locking customers into a subscription model and expensive data plans? With all the latency in a mobile environment the experience is sure to suck ass. It seems the winner here is NOT the customer.

    ...

    Mobile devices are getting incresingly sophisticated GPUs as a standard feature.. It costs nothing to use what you already have.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I would speculate that they are going to release a Google TV box with onlive. That would make far more sense...

     

  • ...I don't think it'd be practical. How are you going to emulate keyboard and mouse input? I don't think even emulating a gamepad on a touchscreen works well. Anyway, let them try...if they can make it work good for them

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