By Jason Wadsworth
The brand new and game changing OnLive service was announced at the Game Developers Conference yesterday. OnLive is a gaming service that plans to provide gamers who have entry level home computers with access to games they would never be able to run on those machines. This is accomplished through cloud computing; where the heavy, hardware intensive processing needed for high-end gaming is done on central OnLive servers which then essentially stream the gameplay footage to users. Learn more about OnLive after the jump.
OnLive users will connect to the service through either their personal computer (either PC or Mac) or by an OnLive MicroConsole that will connect to their television and the internet. Once connected users can launch games and play them as usual. The only difference is that the users game input will be sent to the OnLive servers via the web where the game is actually running and the gameplay video feed will be streamed back to the user using some very slick and very low latency protocols.
Since latency of any kind would greatly hinder the experience, a broadband connection is essential for OnLive. Users with a connection of at least 6 Mbps will be able to stream games at HD quality (720p), whereas users with slower connections will only be able to stream games at standard definition.
Because the games being played are technically just streamed video feeds, OnLIve will include a few unique video sharing capabilities. Users will be able to record “Brag Clips” which will save a video of the last 15 seconds of gameplay anytime, at the touch of a button. The saved footage can then be shared with other users. Users will also be able to spectate, giving them the ability to watch the real-time gameplay footage of any player as they are playing the game (as long as the player has his privacy settings set to allow them to do so).
The goal is to make games available on the OnLive service as soon as they are released for retail sale, and OnLive has already partnered with several top-tier publishers, though no official announcements have been made about what games will be made available on the service. No word yet on how much the services will cost, although mention has been made of subscription/package type payment options. OnLive is set to launch in the Winter of this year, and a beta (which you can sign up for here) is set for this summer.