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OnLive Aiming To Become Netflix of Games 146

donniebaseball23 writes "OnLive may have its long-term sights on entertainment besides games, especially with the hiring of Pandora executive Etienne Handman, but for now the cloud-based service is laser focused on taking a chunk of the games market. It has launched a Netflix-inspired all-you-can-eat plan for $9.99/month. 'The meteoric growth of Netflix reflects the enormous consumer demand for flat-rate instant-play media,' said Steve Perlman, OnLive Founder and CEO. 'OnLive PlayPack is uniquely positioned to address this demand in the realm of high-performance video games, instantly delivering games ... to TVs, PCs, Macs and iPad, and soon Android tablets, smartphones and Blu-ray players.'"
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OnLive Aiming To Become Netflix of Games

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  • I had the Sega Channel back in '94.
    • by Onuma ( 947856 )
      Good point, but the Sega Channel seemed to be plagued by problems. Occasionally the unit would overheat, certain larger games were nearly impossible to download (Shadowrun and Phantasy Star IV come to mind), and had an lack of availability/support in many areas.

      I hope, and expect OnLive to be implemented much more strongly than SC ever was. You may need their hardware and/or software to run things (not sure about their current implementation plan), but you can play it on your device - no need to specif
  • If they can make it less effort to stream or download a film to watch than it is to pirate something then they may be onto something glaringly obvious that the big media companies seem to have failed to realise. However I suspect people may be subjected to DRM restrictions and too many hoops to jump through to cross that threshold of ease of use offered by many torrent sites.
    • >>>If they can make it less effort to stream or download than it is to pirate

      Perhaps, but I still prefer to own games. That way I can convert them back to cash when finished with them. As example: I bought Final Fantasy 13 for $45 sale price, beat it, and then sold to to some guy on ebay for $53.

      Made a nice profit. That happens with most of my games where I sell them for a few dollars more than I originally paid, so overall I am making money by owning (versus a $5 rental which I never get back)

      • Yes, but what was the cost of the console you used to play those games? For the cost of a PS3 at launch you'd get 5 years or so of play for that. With the more recent revisions you'd still get something like 30 months or so of play for that. And that's assuming you just buy the unit, the costs of the games are obviously going to increase that.

        So, I'm failing to see any actual savings there versus renting via onLive.

    • What they need to do is make it so you can pause, rewind, advance forward or backward a single frame, and take a screen capture as easily as you can with a movie played from a file on your hard drive. Also, they need to add the ability to edit the video and watch your new version of the video. And they need to guarantee you'll always be able to watch the current and your new edited version of the video. Then it will be as good as a video you have on disc.
    • by rwven ( 663186 )

      It's FAR easier and faster currently to rent and stream/download a film than it is to pirate it. I have an Apple TV, a PS3, and an XBOX 360. I can fire any of them up, rent a movie, and be watching almost instantly. At most I wait about 30 seconds for initial buffering. The Apple TV renting experience is particularly, brainlessly smooth.

      • I'd say the one step that makes renting on Apple TV more trouble than pirating is the "have an Apple TV" step. It's a weird almost-computer, almost-DVD-player, and I think for most people it falls squarely into the category of "I'm not buying it because I don't know what it's supposed to do".
        • by rwven ( 663186 )

          Well, then there's always the XBOX 360 or PS3 options.

          My samsung TV is pretty new and has the app support as well. There are at LEAST five different apps that you can rent movies directly to the TV through. CinemaNow being my favorite. Of course not everyone has a samsung TV that can do this though.

  • Is this plan new? I signed up for the "free monthly trial" of OnLive awhile back but it still required me to purchase (at retail prices) games in addition to the waived monthly fee. Why would I want to pay retail and a continuing monthly maintenance fee for a game, exactly?
    • by Shadis ( 934448 )
      This is new. This is a $9 a month fee to play all you want to play. You then don't have to pay for any of the games that are part of this program. As long as you keep paying the $9 a month you can play any of the games as much as you want. You can still pay the 'retail' price for a game if you don't want to pay a subscription fee as well.
    • You should keep current. They don't charge anything any more unless you want more than a trial of the game. They're charging $9.99 a month for unlimited play on a select number of games, and include service for those that want to buy a game from them.

      What you're saying is what they said at launch, but as of late last year they were able to balance their books and provide service without making everybody pay a maintenance fee. OnLive: Just Play for Free! []

  • What is it with subscriptions, everyone wants to sell you a contract for a service. It's like as if they have a dire fear of actually selling you a tangible product. Besides, my internet isn't reliable enough to instantly stream low res youtube.
    • Well, for what it's worth, you still have the option to buy the games outright. Again, it's on their service, so no disks or anything. But you do not have to subscribe. In fact, the way it stands now, not all games are available under the subscription plans.

      So, you can pay retail-ish prices for the games, and play them from now until the service shuts down (however many years that might be), or you can subscribe and get a dozen or more games to play without restriction which may or may not be the newest mo
    • "What is it with subscriptions..."

      money. like the gym membership you buy, keep, but don't use. It's a fixed, predictable revenue stream. Stability is key to long term growth of a business. being able to count on a steady income is a huge part of that. why not shoot for the business model that people have shown to be okay with (even if you aren't) and give yourself a chance at staying around.

  • After helping to develop Quicktime, Steve Perlman has made his living bilking investors and early adopters into technology that doesn't work. While Xband wasn't really his fault because bandwidth was lacking, he now has to contend with a greater technology hurdle:
    c itself.

    Check out youtube videos of any Unreal Tournament III match, and notice the inability of the player to hit all but the most stationary enemies. It's not going to work. Network lag + rendering lag + controller input lag + television
    • It's not going to work. Network lag + rendering lag + controller input lag + television input lag = an unplayable experience, unless you exclusively play turn-based strategy games.

      Yeah, lag is an initial concern, but in my experience has little impact for most games. I played through the entirety of just cause 2 and assassin's creed 2, and lag wasn't a problem. But it may be different for twitchier games like fps or racing. I recommend you give it a try and see if it's a deal breaker.

  • I feel Steam has a bigger chance of becoming the "Netflix of Games". Especially with Steam moving to the PS3 now as well...
    • Technically it's just Steamworks (not sure about voice chat) from what I understand of it...

      I'd be flat lined if Steam brought their store to the PS3 along with cross game/platform voice and they let me use the apps in my PC library that have PS3 equivalents, but for the update coming it's just enough Steam (cloud, updates and multiplayer) to support Portal 2 from my understanding.

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

      Steam only works with PC's. OnLive works with PC's, and also as a stand-alone console. That's a big deal to gamers like me who left behind the PC a long time ago to sit our lazy asses on the couch and leave behind the upgrade race.

      • Amusingly, the upgrade race is stalling (IMHO...) The games coming out are not really tapping into the performance of hardware today. I recently (August) upgraded my Core2Duo with 4GB and nVidia 6800GT that I bought in March 2005, but it still did everything I asked of it. Even though it was 5 years old, I gave it to a friend who still uses it. I expect my new machine (Corei7, 6GB, ATI5870) to last longer than that one did.

        Granted, it's not the "10 year" plan of the PS2, but it's not like I have to upgr

        • by Smauler ( 915644 )

          Personally I play all my PC games at native resolution... 1920 * 1200. People often complain about their PC games running slowly in comparison to console games, not realising that in many cases they're running at 1/4 the resolution.

  • by mykos ( 1627575 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @06:03AM (#35077998)
    Steve Perlman has made his living off of tech-deficient investors and hapless early adopters.

    With Xband, he had to contend with limited bandwidth.
    With WebTV, he had to contend with limited processing power
    With onlive, he has to contend with the biggest hurdle of all: the speed of light.

    Controller input lag + rendering lag + video compression lag + television input lag + stream decoding + network lag itself is not going to make for a great experience. Watch any youtube video with Onlive and Unreal Tournament III. Notice how the player is playing on the easiest settings and requires fairly stationary or predictable targets just to connect with a shot.

    This system will be great for people who play facebook apps and turn-based strategy games, but everyone else is just going to be frustrated.
    • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

      Most people I know say that UT3 is definitely playable (and I agree), but those "Facebook" games are the ones that seem to experience the most noticeable lag.

      In OnLive, there is a tiny amount of input-to-screen lag, but there is no gamer-to-gamer lag (the type where you're shooting one guy but he's actually 3 feet ahead of where he seems to be). So games that normally experience no lag like World of Goo seem to now be affected by input-to-screen lag, but games like UT3 actually have a reduced element of ga

      • While it is true that the actual game clients could experience little latency to each other, they can only do that if they happen to be in the same data center. Otherwise, they have lag just like any other. So if you live in California and connect to an Onlive data center there and you are playing against someone who lives in New York and connects to an Onlive data center there guess what? The clients in those data centers have lag to each other. No way around it. If you were to connect directly to the NY d

    • you've used it? I mean you clearly have experienced this lag in the games you've been playing in Onlive. Otherwise this is just speculation contrary to my actual experience and that of numerous journalists. I feel as a network engineer, a netcode debugger for multiplayer games, and a former pro CS player; I have a unique perspective on this particular claimed issue. Round trip latency, for me, falls within a 50ms to 100ms. It's noticeable to only the most competitive players, a large majority of FPS
      • by crossmr ( 957846 )

        With latency continually trending downwards, it will only be a short time before it's completely unnoticeable

        You don't sound like much of a network engineer. This is a physical impossibility. Any latency you notice is also likely to be doubled in a multiplayer game.
        You might get 50-100 on some servers, but now you've got to start off with getting that to Onlive, then you have to get that to a server doubling it. Latency is only going to go up as ISPs jerk around with traffic, oversell subscriptions, and gen

    • I'm starting to think people will just adapt to the slower response times. It's working for the XBox Kinect.
    • by tapo ( 855172 )

      Or you could just, you know, play it. The service lets you demo any game free for 30 minutes.

      While it clearly isn't great at games that require a twitch response, using a game controller masks latency very well. You simply don't notice it too much when playing on a PC with a 360 controller or their Microconsole. Third person action games are completely playable. I was able to go through all of Assassin's Creed II on OnLive (they gave it to me for free for signing up) and honestly, I had a pretty great exper

  • They need to get a LOT more games, and more recent games, before this will ever fly.

  • Unless their tech is based on magic there is no way they can get mass market appeal. No one is going to put up with games that feel unresponsive/laggy. Gamefly is a vastly better option.
    • Gamefly sucks. You have to buy an expensive console then wait for at least a week between games. Sure if you're living in areas that they're taking seriously the wait isn't that long, but the period that I subscribed it was an average of a week for a game to get from them to me.

      Also, there isn't any lag significant enough to cause problems, the requirements they have ensure that it's perfectly playable. The only times I've had problems with it have been right before the connection drops due to the ISP not b

  • Only the special 'playpack' games can be played with this monthly flat fee, which is a portion of their total selection. Oddly, some games are available via the playpack but can't be otherwise played (purchased/rented) via OnLive.

  • by ildon ( 413912 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @06:57AM (#35078154)

    It's called Gamefly.

    • they mean streaming-wise as netflix's new model is going to be streaming content...

      • by slyrat ( 1143997 )

        they mean streaming-wise as netflix's new model is going to be streaming content...

        Careful with statements like that. I may like the streaming ability of Netflix, but I certainly wouldn't do it without the ability to get the discs via mail. I like the better quality (especially with blu-ray) and the wider selection. I do think that if onlive joined up with gamefly there would be something really good going on.

      • they mean streaming-wise as netflix's new model is going to be streaming content...

        New model? Netflix has been doing streaming for over 3 years now.

        • Yes but they offer a "streaming only" option now and jacked the price up of getting DVDs in the mail.

          And their streaming options were significantly more limited.

      • And if they want to stream game content to my system, that'd actually be innovation. Steam tried to do that originally, and it was almost awesome -- for some perverse reason, it would always pause downloads while playing a game, even a single-player game, so as not to lag you, but despite that, you could still have the next Half-Life level download in less than 30 seconds. Combine that with a huge local cache and I think it's a winner -- and Steam could pull that off.

        The pricing model would be pretty cool,

    • Came here to say this.

  • Isn't this what Steam is already ... ?

    • Isn't this what Steam is already ... ?

      Not at all. Well, mostly-not-at-all - they'll probably end up with a similar delivery mechanism to Steam (and not persist with silly ideas like having the games execute remotely), but what this is really all about is the pricing scheme. TFA describes paying a fixed monthly amount to play anything on an entire catelogue. Steam gives you an indefinite subscription with after a seperate once-off payment for each individual game.

      • To clarify: What OnLive offers now is completely unlike Steam - when you play an OnLive game it actually runs on an OnLive server and sends each rendered frame to your computer through the Internet. That's great if you have an amazing Internet connection and a terrible computer; that's quite a technical achievement, but I don't feel that the advantages (low hardware requirement) compensate enough for the drawbacks (latency, heavy Internet requirement) and I personally think that a Steam-like delivery mechan
  • This would be a boon for linux gaming and a real threat for current gaming PC market overall.

    • Because OnLive cares about your petty OS wars?

    • Yes, I called them and gave them feedback that I want Linux support. The nice girl mentioned that she knew a lot of the engineers used it, and she had even tried a flavor of Ubuntu herself. I made the comment that the thing holding people back from Linux was games and this would be great. I know they very well may not ever, but someone is missing that boat as it sails.

      It isn't a war for me, as the "Squatter" suggests. It takes two to fight a war. If you refuse to play the game, you already wo

  • ... almost already did it

  • Comment explaining how it can't possibly work, from a games geek who insists on 100FPS with single frame latency, in 3... 2... 1... ... despite actual paying customers being satisfied with OnLive, from what I hear.

    I even have friends in the UK using the US servers, finding the lag occasionally annoying but not a deal breaker.

    • I would say this service is acceptable for single-player or slow paced multi-player games only. I tried it out about a month ago; hopped on a single-player game, and the while the latency wasn't too bad for that particular game, I would never attempt a fast paced multi-player game. The resolution it renders at isn't exactly spectacular either. It ends up looking like a high quality Youtube video.
    • Considering I can get 100FPS from my onboard card, it's not that much.

  • I have to say, they have a few very interesting titles on board. Unfortunately, most of those titles cost 5-10 bucks.

  • When I first heard of OnLive I thought the concept of a rent-a-game solution which removed the need for a decent pc or console was a great idea. Then I actually read about it, found out that the games had to be bought, the 'console' had to be bought, and then I had to pay a subscription to keep going. This completely killed any interest I had. The idea of 'buying' something then having to keep paying a subscription as well is still an absolute deal breaker to me.

    I like playing the odd new game, but actua
    • by whoop ( 194 )

      When I first heard of OnLive I thought the concept of a rent-a-game solution which removed the need for a decent pc or console was a great idea. Then I actually read about it, found out that the games had to be bought, the 'console' had to be bought, and then I had to pay a subscription to keep going. This completely killed any interest I had. The idea of 'buying' something then having to keep paying a subscription as well is still an absolute deal breaker to me.

      Most of those points have been taken care of. The console is only needed if you have no computer (Windows, Mac at last). The original subscription has been canceled. It is much more akin to Steam now, without the need for your computer to be at all powerful.

      I like playing the odd new game, but actually wouldn't care all that much about a rental service being a little behind 6-12 months. I've only just started Forza 3 (12+ months old), haven't opened Dragon Age: Origins, let alone actually bought Lego Batman, Batman: Arkham Asylum, any of ultimate alliance games. If a service like OnLive 'just works' tm, at £10pm I could see me moving away from buying physical media, and rent 'gaming' instead.

      OnLive's main benefit is to people who don't want to spend money every year to keep their graphics card and CPU up to date. It runs on anything. This Playpack service is also voluntary. You can subscribe for a month, then not subscribe for a couple

    • That hasn't been the case for quite some time. The base maintenance was eliminated some months ago and they've got both a single game rental system and an all you can eat plan for multiple games.

      I really wish people would double check these sorts of things before spreading those views, because it's not accurate at this point and is somewhat less than helpful.

  • Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crossmr ( 957846 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @07:45AM (#35078320) Journal

    How many times has onlive changed their payment plans in the last 6 months? How about the last week? This is just another desperate attempt for them to try and drum up business for a service which really has no market. The "game reviewers who will sit next door with a 100 MB fiber connection and give you a glorifying review" segment isn't that large.
    With an increasing number of ISPs decreasing their caps, inconsistent service, and the slightest hiccup breaking a game, this service benefits no one beyond those who really want to play super high end turn based games and would rather pay more per month to play them over the course of a few years than it would cost them to build a machine to play the games in the first place. Everyone else is taking a massive crap shoot and basically wasting money on rentals.

    All I really want out of this company is to know what they put in the water when they meet the venture capitalists.

    • You forget, you don't actually have to build a PC to play their games. Most of the games are available on console and actually look better on console than OnLive. So you can fork out $200-300 and just buy an X360 or PS3 and be able to play 90% of their library and tons of games they don't have. I think the biggest hurdle OnLive has is the changing PC marketplace. It used to be PC was the only place you could play shooters and had tons of big exclusives. Now all the mainstream games go cross platform an
    • by Darknight ( 8142 )

      How many times has onlive changed their payment plans in the last 6 months?

      Zero times.

      How about the last week?

      Also zero times. This "news" is a bit stale, but they recently added a new monthly plan to play a smaller list of available games on an unlimited basis. The base package still carries no monthly fees, but it does have one-time "unlocking" fees for each game to either rent short-term or longer-term (which I agree isn't the same as BUYING them, since you depend on this service for access).

      This is just another desperate attempt for them to try and drum up business for a service which really has no market. The "game reviewers who will sit next door with a 100 MB fiber connection and give you a glorifying review" segment isn't that large.

      Ah, yes. The ubiquitous "This can nevar work unless you are In teh Servar room! IR expart on such tings!" p

      • by crossmr ( 957846 )

        Zero times.

        This is the third or fourth story I've heard out of onlive with a new pricing "scheme" in very recent memory.

        Ah, yes. The ubiquitous "This can nevar work unless you are In teh Servar room! IR expart on such tings!" post whenever OnLive is brought up. It works fine on a residential DSL connection. Would I play a tournament-level game of COD on it? No. But it works just fine for everyday use with a wide variety of games.

        They simply cannot provide the quality and responsiveness of an actual machine,

        • by Darknight ( 8142 )

          Certainly not, now it's very obvious that you're a corporate shill/fanboy

          Ouch, you wound me. Nope, neither, just someone who has used the service and actually knows what they are talking about, and not an "internet expert" such as yourself.

          You have to live within designated service areas, which means being very close to the server to start with. There are people in the US who can't even get service yet, let alone "anywhere in the world". As I fire it up on my local 100 Mbps Fiber connection somewhere in the world, I'm told "We've detected a high latency connection and cannot proceed". My ping to the ISP is under 10 ms. You're so full of it your eyes are brown.

          OnLive no longer restricts signups by service area. As far as I know, this was only true during the beta. I believe the way they handle it now is they allow anyone to sign up for a free account, but will bounce you if you can't connect within a certain time period.

          Obviously I haven't tried everywhere, but I used the little OnLive console

          • by crossmr ( 957846 )

            OnLive no longer restricts signups by service area. As far as I know, this was only true during the beta. I believe the way they handle it now is they allow anyone to sign up for a free account, but will bounce you if you can't connect within a certain time period.

            Which is more or less the same thing. Distance adds latency.
            There is no way around it. More hops, more latency, more points of failure. All they're doing is opening it up on the chance you might get a low enough ping to the server to use it, but

  • I thought this service was generally accepted to have been a failure? If the technology doesn't work, what difference is different pricing models going to make?
    • According to who is onLive a failure? I've been using it, I've got a couple games and the miniconsole and it works just fine. It's only going to get better as time goes by. I hear a lot of people claiming that it failed, but the subscription figures keep increasing and it's still able to pay the bills.

      Personally, I do have a hard time using it, but mainly because Qwest sucks. Comcast isn't any better when it comes to latency, but that's going to improve over time. Even now it's quite playable and for those

  • just keep changing your business model!
  • ISPs will welcome this with open arms, and never think of extorting money from both ends - just like Netflix.
  • I'm definitely not against this type of system. It can allow many more people who can't afford to keep up with PC and console gaming by changing their hardware every so often - the GPU is not client-side, so the users only need enough bandwidth to handle the video and I/O for controls. So long as the servers are maintained in many locations, so as to leave latency as low as possible for the majority of OnLive customers, I can see this being a very plausible approach for the future of gaming; especially ca
  • $A_GAME_COMPANY has managed to get OnLive's domains seized via the DMCA on the basis that they are violating copyright by allowing people to play games without buying them in the manner prescribed by $A_GAME_COMPANY's business model.

  • Does this mean there will finally be some games for the PS3?
  • by seanalltogether ( 1071602 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @09:08AM (#35078676)
    I understand he's trying to draw an easy to quote analogy, but you can't just apply a magic codec to an application binary to turn it into a streaming game. The truth is that Steam is the Netflix of games, it's where everyone is going to buy their games now and gamers have the same love for Steam that people have for Netflix.
    • Wish I had mod points just for you mentioning the love gamers have for Steam. Some people don't understand the irrational attachment gamers form for their favorite game companies. Valve would need to seriously screw up to lose their fans.
      • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

        ... Not to mention Valve's subliminal in-game product placement...

        Bill: Watch out for that leaking hot steam!
        Zoey: Mmm, I loooooove Steam!
        Francis (who hates everything): Yeah, Steam's all right.

        (L4D Crash Course)

    • S'funny, I don't remember buying my copy of Super Mario Galaxy 2 on Steam.
    • Steam isn't a rental service though. It is a rental service in that they can revoke at any time your ability to play those games, but they don't sell games on a time limited basis. You can get a demo for some games, but you don't have the option to rent or play all the games you like in a given month.

      That being said, I really don't see how Steam is anywhere near an appropriate analogy for Netflix.

  • Where was this service two years ago when unlimited bandwidth broadband services still existed? Nowadays it sounds like a new way to put a direct funnel from my bank account to Comcast's.
    • by whoop ( 194 )

      Let Comcast know. Switch to another provider. I'm running on mere 5Mbit DSL currently without missing anything from Comcast. Currently, the busiest I've tested it was simultaneously streaming Hulu, OnLive, and playing World of Warcraft. They all ran quite well.

  • Keyword here is PlayPack.
    The $9.99 monthly subscription will give acces to select games, not their entire catalog. So yes, they are definitely similar to Netflix, where your streaming options are limited to many documentarys (many of which are excellent) and older movies.
    I actually purchased a few games through OnLive because I own a notebook -- the service works quite well. My gaming rig days are over, I'm not a DRM zealot and I will pay for convienence. And it is nice to just turn on a game without inst
  • I've heard of this "Netflix of games" already, its called GameFly. I'll keep their service and get first rate games delivered to my house, have the option to keep them for a good price, rather than streamed crap, thanks. Granted it costs more than their projected price, but its worth it to me.
    • I tried gamefly, and quite frankly it sucked. I live in WA state and it would routinely take over a week for a game to make its way from their warehouse to my house. Which isn't too bad if I'm playing a game for most of the month, but if I found that I didn't like a game, I would be without a game for nearly half the month.

  • I tried it and it is noticeably slow to your reactions. The video quality is a little low but that didn't really bother me. It was the slight delay when I moved the mouse to when the screen actually responded.

    I think some games are perfectly suited to this type of play style, just not FPS games.

  • I just hope that this doesn't become so popular that some games are offered exclusively through it. I like owning the data, being able to modify the data, being able to play without an internet connection, being able to play my games even if the company goes out of business, and being able to play even if some random server I don't want to connect to is down. It might help people with poor hardware, and I respect that, but I just hope that this doesn't become the new form of DRM for paranoid companies.

  • Biz Model NetFlix or Vudu [ [] ], which is better?

    I have a PS3 (presently DS is best, repeat), Linux PC, Comcast DVR hooked to a 32" screen.

    The PS3 now offers both NetFlix and Vudu. I checked both and decided to turn off my Vudu box and use the PS3 for Vudu service.

    I chose Vudu because of the pay-as-u-go model and user interface was for me a better solution. The NetFlix monthly-fee would be a waste or me.

    For online gaming I would probably pick a pay-as-u-go service provider before a monthl

  • I know it keeps getting pushed back and pushed back but here in the UK it doesn't really get mentioned outside of something like Slashdot. They're gonna have to do some serious advertising if they want people to pay attention here - especially if BT are gonna be the sole provider for it.
  • OnLive might have worked if US internet connections operated as advertised.

    But they don't.
  • I know everyone's talking about Gamefly, but Gametap does the same thing for PC games. Monthly fee, and you can download all you want. I used it for a year, but lately I realized that Steams sales have been more lucrative for me. Spend $30 on a sale, and I'll have it for ever. Lapse my gametap sub, and it's all gone.
  • Sorry to go against the grain of the generally held opinion that Onlive doesn't work but as someone in the UK who has tried the service out from my living room PC I have to say it is definitely a viable, workable platform for game delivery.

    I know that it isint really all that hot for FPS's but neither are consoles with their auto-aim and limited input controls. Thats why i have a PC.

    Meanwhile there are plenty of games that are pretty good, even with my 80ms lag to the us servers (lego batman just as an exam

  • Vizio is adding OnLive gaming to it's Internet suite for the HDTV.
    Which already includes thirty or so free and subscription services like Facebook, Netflix, Rhapsody, Pandora, Picassa and Twitter.

    The geek needs to be paying attention.

    His wife won't tolerate the mod or hack that bricks a $5000 investment in home theater hardware on Super Bowl Sunday. His kids won't take well to being cut off from on their online gaming and social networking accounts.

    He'll be sleeping in the basement for real - and it won't

    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      His wife won't tolerate the mod or hack that bricks a $5000 investment in home theater hardware on Super Bowl Sunday. His kids won't take well to being cut off from on their online gaming and social networking accounts.

      He should quit being a wuss, especially if he's paying the bills. Sexist gynocentrism be damned. If he's really a geek, the hack won't brick anything at all.

      The PS3 supports a webcam and printer. The Internet "app" can be built into any piece of hardware. The Denon receiver that supports digital broadcast and satellite radio. The Samsung Blu-Ray player.

      When sally asks for the $150 webcam and printer addons for her ps3, daddy geek says "we already have a printer for the computer. Use that."

      Content protection - "rights management?" No problem. Flash animation? No problem. The licensed HVEC decoder that delievers 1080p video or better and multichannel theater sound at half the bit rate of H.264 or WebM? No problem.

      When wifey asks/demands that he get her favorite show onto some non-aligned device made by a company that doesn't have an 'agreement' with the publisher, hubby geek says "That's why I told you to buy the disk and n

      • When sally asks for the $150 webcam and printer addons for her ps3, daddy geek says "we already have a printer for the computer. Use that."

        The PS3 has USB ports for a reason....try plugging in a regular non PS3 specific USB webcam and/or printer sometime.

  • I suspect that most of the Slashdoters who are hating on OnLive actually just hate this Perlman fellow, and have never actually tried OnLive.

    I've had a (free) OnLive since the beta and while I wouldn't pay money for it, it's not hard to imagine that lots of people would. When it works (which is subject to the whims of your ISP) it works surprisingly well and you quickly forget that it's a highly compressed video stream running at (for me) about 4Mbps. For RTSs, RPGs, puzzle games and the like (i.e., a ver

  • by Caerdwyn ( 829058 ) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @07:35PM (#35085534) Journal

    First: disclosure. I worked at OnLive as an engineer for two years; I do not currently work there; I do not have any financial stake or equity in the company. I have a very active Steam account, a Netflix account which I use almost exclusively through streaming to an AppleTV, as well as an OnLive account. I do most of my gaming through a dedicated gaming rig running Windows.

    Does OnLive "work"? Yes, very well, IF you have a high-quality broadband connection (you really need at least 5mbps for the best experience, though it will autoscale to deal with somewhat lower bandwidths). Video quality can be very good; though it is not quite the same as a direct video connection to a high-end gaming rig, for a large number of people it's good enough. The capture-encode part of the cycle is very fast, as is the decode-display part, typically in single-digits-of-milliseconds. All other latency is network latency, which brings up to geography and last-mile. You need to be within a few hundred miles of one of OnLive's data centers for the best experience. Your ISP has to not suck. The technology is certainly there, with the caveat of the geographical limitations. To be a mass-market success, OnLive will need many data centers. They aren't at that point yet; getting to that point will be a major part of whether OnLive truly succeeds, and major extended high-density metro areas will always come before rural. The idea of being able to play games that normally require a kilobuck computer, i.e. Crysis, on a cheapass computer with integrated video, is compelling for people who aren't willing or able to maintain and continually upgrade a dedicated gaming rig. Recall the recent announcement [] of Visio building an OnLive client natively into a TV. And if you need a demo of how little horsepower is actually needed... you can download an OnLive viewer for the iPad for free, and spectate on folks who are playing their games. (obviously, the latter is something best done over WiFi, for latency and bandwidth reasons, but the point is that a single-core ARM has all the oomph needed to get the job done. The client is truly lightweight.)

    Do you "own" the games? No. Neither do you "own" an MMO; it's the MMO subscription model rather than the retail physical-goods model. Whether that's good or bad depends upon your outlook, which is not a basis of factual discussion; it's perspective. There are excellent arguments for and against, and I ask that people with a strongly-held opinion one way or another recognize that people with different opinions have different needs than themselves. For some people, the subscription model is ideal. For others, it just doesn't work. This isn't intended to be one size fits all.

    Is it relevant to gamers with dedicated gaming PCs? To an extent. For some, the ability to play high-end games through legacy, entry-level computers (Shader model 2.0 or better and you're in!) is critical; there are far more people with such computers than dedicated gaming rigs. For others who own and maintain high-end gaming rigs, it's not a factor from a "what games can be played here" perspective. However, you just can't beat OnLive as an instant demo platform. Even if you have a liquid-cooled dual-580GTX SLI rig with an Intel Core i7 overclocked to 4.5GHz, there is value in the absolute immediacy of demos without downloads, install procedures, dealing with Starforce or SecuRom copy protection, pirated games coming with a "little extra software", and games of variable quality taking a dump all over your registry.

    Can OnLive succeed? I think so, though they (OnLive) need to recognize that OnLive is no longer a technological play. The tech is there, and though OnLive has a substantial lead, it is inevitable that there will be competitors trying to solve the same problem which will eventually become "good enough". OnLive will sink or swim on non-technical factors: whether they can get the game publishers to commit

  • and I have to say I'm impressed with the technology. I have a good Cable connection so don't experience much latency even though they recommend not using wireless.

    The service reminds me a lot of Netflix actually when they started streaming titles and there wan't much to choose from. The fact that Netflix has such a huge streaming library now is the reason it has become so successful and made many ditch the DVD service altogether. I hope OnLive continues to add new games, and they seem to be doing so. Being

Have you ever noticed that the people who are always trying to tell you `there's a time for work and a time for play' never find the time for play?