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OnLive Opens Beta For Cloud Computing Game Service
OnLive Opens Beta For Cloud Computing Game Service
September 2, 2009 | By Brandon Sheffield

September 2, 2009 | By Brandon Sheffield
More: Console/PC

OnLive, which announced its cloud computing gaming service at GDC 2009, revealed today that it has entered open beta.

The service allows gamers to play PC titles through their own PCs or television sets, without needing to render the game on their own hardware -- rather, it is rendered remotely and sent frame-by-frame back to the local display device.

In a blog post, OnLive CEO Steve Perlman described the unique challenges of the beta rollout.

"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," he said.

"So, a major focus of OnLive Beta is to test as many of these different situations as we can."

Though there are competitors in the cloud computing game-service space, such as Dave Perry's Gaikai, OnLive is the first to enter into public beta.

OnLive requires a small download to function on PC, or a dongle called a MicroConsole in order to interact with televisions. It appears that at the present time, only the PC service is being beta tested.

The beta is ongoing, and still accepting new applicants on both Windows and Mac-based operating systems. "Beta is an awesome milestone for OnLive, capping many years of work," said Perlman. "We’re really looking forward to hearing what [users] think."

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Alexander Bruce
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This should be an interesting story to follow...

Lost C1tY
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Reminds me of Infinium Labs' Phantom.

From a technical standpoint, I'll be -very- surprised if this even works. And I'll be astounded if it can deliver PS3 and Xbox quality games, as the OnLive representatives are claiming.

Carl Chavez
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@Christian: One way I could see OnLive working with consoles is in games that support split-screen play. One console would need to render, and the OnLive service would distribute that frame to all players and watchers.

Whether or not OnLive works as a service is up in the air, but I believe the technology is adaptable to other applications. The one that popped into my head first was for spectating games. Currently, if one wants to watch a game, one must have special software for each individual game. However, people could watch an OnLive game without any special software other than OnLive's.

Mark Venturelli
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Christian, there is no "console" service. He is just making reference to the TV dongle that enables PC play on a regular TV.

Doug Poston
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I know a lot of people think "Infinium Labs' Phantom" when they hear OnLive, probably because it sounds to good to be true. But OnLive's CEO has a good track record of making the impossible happen, so I wouldn't discount it.

Also, this public beta should answer a lot of questions about vapor. :)

Mike Lopez
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Why would they only test the PC service? I guess the console service is not yet ready for prime time, but it seems like there is low consumer value to playing streamed PC games on the PC. Yes, I know that you can play with low power PCs, but still the real magic will not come until they launch the console service they showed off at GDC...

Aiden Eades
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@ Lost C1tY

I'd rather know where you read that on-live was aiming at 360 / ps3 quality games, because if anything i can't even remembering them promising HD only up to 1024 / 768 was the average which i recall being brought up.

I said it ages ago and i'll say it now. onLive most probably can work, far as i can tell its basically the next evolution of a steam type service, you buy games but instead of installing them on your pc they're streamed to you, not really the latest games but the oldies. This isn't aimed at the "hardcore" gamers, more at the people who'd rather play older games, doom, CS etc etc. At least thats what i believe their target is / should be. Anyway i'm rambling.

Doug Poston
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@Mike: "Why would they only test the PC service? I guess the console service is not yet ready for prime time..."

Because it is probably a lot easier to test with pre-existing hardware (home PCs) then shipping their 'MicroConsole' to out-of-house testers.

That said, if they can get it working in a web browser they shouldn't have too much trouble getting it to work on their MicroConsole.

Lost C1tY
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@Gomez Crumpett

@ Aiden Eades

Sorry about the delay in responding, I've been busy.

For the 720p 60fps claim and the X360/PS3 claim, here they are from the horses mouth at GDC09:

(0:41 - for 720p) -- (1:30 for X360/PS3)

There's a number of technical reasons why I doubt the purported functionality of the service, however, Eurogamer had a competent offering so I'll just point at that:

I'd really like to be proven wrong on this one, but I'll stick to my guns for now.