OnLive Turns Laptops Into Super Computers

Holy bloody f-ing hell.  I have seen the future of gaming.  Who says nothing interesting happened at GDC?  Screw flying cars,  to hell with space exploration, given today’s news I’ll never want to go outside again. 

Thanks to seven years of research and hard work, the good folks at OnLive have MacGyver’d this very inexpensive laptop I’m typing on as… well, I type, into a tricked out rig capable of running Crysis, or any other game you can throw at it, at the highest settings.  How you ask?  Surely nothing short of the black arts can make such a dream possible.


Actually, it’s simpler than you think and quite ingenious to say the least.  Rather than you running the game on your own hardware and using your own hard drive space for the install, they run the game for you and send it back to your screen.  Looks like Logan can finally run Puzzle Quest Galactrix and not have to rage quit out of any more podcasts.

The service is more than just a convenient workaround to constantly upgrading graphics cards.  There is a wide range of planned community features for the service.  Chief amongst these will be spectating.  Provided the user has spectating on, you can check out anyone playing ANY game, regardless of if you have purchased the game or not.  What better way to appease that on-the-fence- potential purchase than to actually go in and watch the game in action?  This also has the potential to actually make the quality of these games better.  Publishers can use the spectating feature during open beta tests to see what is working and what needs work.  Speaking of publishers, OnLive already has support from companies like Electronic Arts, UbiSoft, THQ, Atari and others.   There are also first party and indy games in the works.  Other community features will include the “brag clip” that will save the last 15 seconds of game play in a recording, and integrated voice-over IP. 

Not all is peaches and cream however.  Potential problems can already be spotted.  First, the service will only be as good as your broadband connection.  A 5k connection promises uninterrupted Hi-Res gaming goodness, while a 1.5k will get you standard resolution.  Anything less and the service is not for you.  Also, every game on the service will be ported over from either a PC, 360, or PS3 version.  While it should not be a problem for publishers, especially in relation to PC games, history has shown that you can’t always trust publishers to make a faithful port. 

OnLive is scheduled to release in Winter of this year, with a beta sometime in the summer.  Pricing has not been nailed down but will include a subscription fee as well as an additional charge for the optional “mini-console” that would allow you to hook the service up to your tv. 

It remains to be seen how well this will be received by the gaming public, but this is shaping up to be a great alternative to buying that new overpriced ATI or NVidia card.

8 responses to “OnLive Turns Laptops Into Super Computers

  1. I can’t for the life of me get excited about this yet. I saw this on the Big 3 Blogs and while they had positive things to say about it and the time they played Crysis, they all are skeptical about how this will perform technically once it’s out in the wild. They also have no pricing set up when it’s less than a year away from launch (they hope). It can’t be cheap to run this service with the equipment, bandwidth, and licensing fees to publishers/developers so I can’t imagine it being cheap for us.

    Don’t get me wrong, I would love for this to be true, and it is indeed the future of gaming. I just don’t think it’s possible right now technically and I don’t think the general population is ready for it. Just my two cents.

  2. I can understand skepticism with any new technology. However, there is something to get excited about when this many pubishers are buying in as well as nearly everyone who saw it at GDC. Hopefully we can get on the beta and check it out. As far as pricing goes, nothing was nailed down but Kotaku reported the optional mini console wil be less than any current gen system and the subscription fee would be on par with XBOX Live. So if this service works, I put it to you, would you pay $50 a year?

    • If you look at my previous comment, I did say that the Big 3 do have positive things to say about it, but they are just as skeptical as I am when this thing goes live. It’s one thing for it to run smoothly with just a couple hundred users on a private network, but once they open those floodgates I just don’t think the tech is there to handle it. Our infrastructure is barely able to handle video streaming, how is it going to handle that in addition to precision input commands from a controller without everything feeling muddy as hell? It’s just a very hard pill to swollow at this point and time with so little information or no public betas at the moment.

      I can’t say that I would sign up for it without any information because it looks like it’s going to cost more than $50 technically. This is only because it doesn’t look like it gives you the ability to play any game for that fee. I’m going off of recollection from the video we had up that was yoinked from youtube, but it looked like every game had a “buy it/rent it” button which means that you’re still paying for the games. So what happens if you spend the $50 on a game and at the end of the year you decide to cancel the service? Do you still own that game? I pay $50 for Xbox Live begrudgingly because it’s the only way to play multiplayer which is a big part of my gaming. Something I don’t see this service being able to pull off very well technically either.

      So I guess until some more information and maybe some video of gameplay comes out, I can’t say I’m interested. If it wasn’t for the publishers that are behind it, I would compare it to the Phantom. However, publishers will put their games on any platform just so they can make a bit more money nowadays.

      • I imagine this is similar to the naysayers who scoffed when they first saw the cotton gin or an automobile. You will rue the day you tried ruining this for me. I will have no remorse when I gloat over your defeat and laugh… on into ze night.

        • Oh, don’t get me wrong, I would love for something like this to happen and I’m on their side on this. I personally won’t stop upgrading my computer and going through that routine myself because I love it. I just think that technically there’s going to be some ball busting issues with the service and I can’t get my hopes up just yet.

  3. I just don’t see it happening here (in the UK at least) we just plain don’t have the infrastructure in place for extremely heavy broadband services yet, some peoples are only just getting digital tv and broadband, and even then with hefty fair use policies…

    I know it’s being supported by publishers with the best intentions in the world, but we get big ideas like this in gaming all the time so I am not going to hold my breath, I just don’t see how it could work in the real in regards to latency and lag.

    They can colour me truely impressed if it works out though.

  4. This has Phantom written all over it, but I for it if it works. The spectating thing we take for granted cause its mandatory while waiting for spawn times to end, and the bragging rights is like you tube built into the game if you want to be impressed or learn how to beat a certain part.

    the idea sounds great, and the publishers behind it are showing that it has some promise. It just sounds too good to be true, but if people bite on this technology it just might work. But for now we have to be skeptical I agree

    • They have a little black box that you have to buy to but this isnt that bad. Look if this thing takes off and I REALLY hope it does, it will help the PC gaming. I love pc gaming and being able to run awesome games on my laptop while also on my desktop is great. No more emulators itll be a good refresher. The way this will fail is either by the company sucking ass or people not understanding that this is SERVER side not USER side.

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