This week in Viz is a special episode covering everything about the exciting cloud gaming product from OnLive. OnLive was kind enough to send me a review unit and an account, and I put both the hardware unit and their software offering through the paces on some Duke Nukem Forever and F3AR, and the results are simply amazing.
OnLive is really scoring big at E3 this week, demonstrating their wares to show off some truly impressive gaming. One demonstration in particular really shows of what could be the future of gaming: Accessing “the cloud” for massive resources to view on your iPad.
OnLive even has a bluetooth controller they’ll make available, which should bring a more console-like experience for iPad users instead of having to use the touchscreen. Imagine pairing this with up with your HDTV via HDMI using the bluetooth controller, and you begin get a real sense of how truly awesome this could be.
Big news from GDC regarding the widely speculative OnLive remote gaming service. While speaking at GDC, Steve Perlmen stated that the system will go live on June 17th, during E3 2010, and cost gamers $14.95 a month for 720p gaming.
Speaking at the GamesBeat@GDC conference today, OnLive chief executive Steve Perlman said gamers will be able to subscribe to the PC or Mac games-on-demand service for $14.95 a month, and get access to a wide variety of current titles from major publishers. 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.
An impressive list of collaborators there, bringing some real A-list games to the table. Limiting it to 720p alleviates some of the bandwidth issues, but leaves incentive for players to go buy the actual games and consoles where they can play at 1080p. I had hoped the price would be closer to $10/month to compete with services like GameFly, but hopefully the price will fall as time passes.
OnLive has come out swinging against the bad report written by Ryan Shrout last week, claming that his experience is not representative of the actual product because of his distance to a suitable hosting center. Also, apparently the current version of the OnLive system hard-codes routes from users to specific hosting centers, so a user’s account is fixed to communicate only to one specific center.
The fact that Ryan Shrout was outside that area means, according to OnLive, there was no possibly way to give him a good experience. “The reason location is so critical is because of the speed of light. If you are more than 1,000 miles from an OnLive data center, then the round trip communications delay (‘ping’ time) between your home and OnLive will be too long for fast-action video games.”
Unfortunately, some other “anonymous” beta testers have come forward claiming that the experience isn’t much better in the “idea scenario”. Of course, they are unconfirmed and uncorroborated, so take it all with a grain of salt.
Ryan Shrout of PC Perspective got his hands on a coveted OnLive beta invite, the widely discussed but incredibly secretive remote gaming service, and put it through the paces on a few popular games and wrote up the experience. He was, sadly, unimpressed.
The games were running at 1280 by 720, and the expected issues became reality. “The input lag on UT3 was so noticeably bad with the mouse and keyboard that I would call [the] game simply unplayable. I often found myself overshooting the mouse movement by half a screen, moving well past my intended target because the cursor didn’t stop when I did.”
It’s worth pointing out that he did not receive the beta invite via official channels, rather via the age old ‘friend of a friend’. This is important since OnLive has long said that they would deploy multiple gaming centers, to maintain the required proximity to the end-user, and he may have been too far away, resulting in his degraded performance. In fact, it even warned him via the image shown to the right.
Guess we’ll just have to wait for a real review on an official invite.
PS: If any OnLive folks are reading, I’ld be happy to take one :)
Steve Perlman, CEO for remote-gaming company OnLive, recently gave a lengthy presentation at Columbia University about their technology, and the entire presentation is now online. In addition, there’s some news about the technology:
The potentially cap-obliterating service recently received funding from AT&T, and will require at least a 5 Mbps connection for 720p HD gaming, and you’ll have to live within 1,000 miles of an OnLive data center. Skip to minute 12 to bypass the network and software discussion and see the live demonstration.
In the presentation he also mentions that “all the major game publishers, except Activision” have signed up to provide games, along with several indie developers. See the presentation after the break.
OnLive, the popular but yet unreleased remote gaming technology company, reached an important milestone today by demonstrating their system working on an iPhone.
Today, at a Wedbush financial conference in New York I showed OnLive running simultaneously on 2 iPhones, a TV, and a computer. What is really cool is that all 4 devices had access to the full OnLive Game Service, so they could play the same games, spectate on each other’s (and Beta users’) game play, watch Brag Clips, check out Gamer Profiles, etc.
Now, they’re careful to note that the experience is tuned for Computers, and I have to admit I’m not so sure how the latest Modern Warfare 2 would work with nothing but a touchscreen interface. Nonetheless, it’s an important step towards bringing remote gaming to the masses.
At the Technology Review EmTech Conference at MID, Steve Perlman spent some time demonstrating the OnLive gaming service live in front of the audience and discussing some of the technology they use.
Perlman was willing to talk briefly about the hardware that powers things at the server level. The basic functional unit is a standard PC motherboard. Casual games get by on built-in video, while they’ll be using motherboards with high end hardware from NVIDIA and AMD for the current generation of games. The only custom hardware is a single add-on board that handles both compressing the video for transmission to the end users and smoothing over the inevitable network hiccups.
Via the OnLive Blog, they’ve just announced that they’ve pushed the service into beta and are letting real people log in and try out games. The purpose: gathering data on network latencies, speeds, and general bugfixes.
One of the key challenges that OnLive technology addresses is providing a high-quality, fast-response gaming experience over a wide range of situations: different speeds/locations/types of broadband services, a variety of different PC and Mac configurations, several kinds of input and display devices, etc. So, a major focus of OnLive Beta is to test as many of these different situations as we can
If you don’t recall what OnLive is, you can read our previous coverage of their impressive web-based remote-gaming technology via our OnLive tag.
NVidia’s second annual Emerging Companies Summit will be at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, CA from September 30 – October 2nd, and host talks from 60 start-ups around the world.
“This is the only event where start-ups utilizing GPUs for visual and compute-intensive applications can showcase their businesses to venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, analysts and others in the GPU computing ecosystem,” said Jeff Herbst, vice president of business development at NVIDIA. “The companies we have lined up represent a broad range of fields, extending from consumer applications to those utilized by the world’s most sophisticated researchers.”
So far they’ve got OnLive, the popular remote-gaming company, and RTT, a realtime visualization company, on tap along with several others.
VizWorld.com We cover visualization and graphics news from around the internet, including Scientific Visualization, Visual Effects, and Graphics Hardware. Read more on our About Page or learn about our Advertising Options Get updates via twitter from @VizWorld.