OnLive: a cloud gaming platform

onlive-logo

OnLive, an online gaming network for your PC,  laptop, mac, or more recently you can download their app.  You can play games instantly with no downloads or discs required, whats better is demo games are free!

Taking a step back from reviewing games or informing you of future events we thought we would introduce you to OnLive, a free way trial some of the latest games. It is gamers best kept secret.  Some gamers reading this blog post may already be aware of OnLive, if you are then please comment saying how you first discovered OnLive and share your thoughts.  I first came across OnLive last summer, 2012, and instantly loved this world where I could free trail a number of games to discover for myself what they were like, what the graphics looked like and the back story to the game. This is a great way to try out as many different games you want while deciding which ones are worth you purchasing.

Back story

First founded in 2009 by Steve Perlman (also the CEO), it was introduced at the GDC (Game devlopers Confrence), for the US and later released in September 2011 for England,

OnLive is an on-demand gaming service. It’s essentially the gaming version of cloud computing – everything is computed, rendered and housed online. In its simplest description, your controller inputs are uploaded, a high-end server takes your inputs and plays the game, and then a video stream of the output is sent back to your computer. Think of it as something like Youtube or Hulu for games.

It was set out to change the way we not only view, but also play our well loved video games.  I’m not going to get too technical with the system requirements however if you would like to know what they are a “system requirements” link will be posted at the end of this post.  Originally, OnLive was set out to charge a monthly-fee of $14.95 when it was first introduced, luckily now there is no monthly-fee instead you can pay to purchase a game (more to come on that soon!)

Just last year, in August 2012, Onlive went into a like-bankruptcy and was sold to aventure capital group for just $4.8m (£3m). This led to serval workers loosing their jobs and Steve Perlman stepped down to “focus on other projects”.

OnLive has said it had 1.5 million “active users” at the time of the sale – although reports suggest that only about 1,600 subscribers were using the service at any one time.

However there are still many OnLive fans out there

How to play

The service works with pretty much any Windows or Mac machine as a small browser plug-in.  To get access to the free trails just sign up to the OnLive website, download and then load up the game service, ‘OnLive Launcher’ and chose a game to play.  Depending on your system requirements and network connection speed the connection can be low, it is also common to see a message informing you they are experiencing a high number of players so you will have to wait a while to be connected.

This is a downside as sometimes you can wait much longer times than others, or sometimes you are allowed straight in.  you can view what games people are playing live in the arena,  or browse games and play any that state “free trail available”. Unfortunately OnLive do not always have the latest games available and the big name console titles do not include games from Activision and Electronic Arts.

However if there are a series of games available by the developer they may have an earlier game available with a free trial instead of the latest one, as is the case with Assassins Creed.  This does allow you to have a more general sense of the game.  Onlive is also a great place for new gamers to start, they can browse the many different games and explore what platforms they enjoy playing.  If you know someone, such as a friend  who has bought a game through OnLive, and a free trial is available for that game, they can host a multiplier game for you both to enjoy.  The length of a free trial can vary but it is roughly 30 minutes long.  Even if you decide to purchase the game for your Xbox or PS it is definitely worth a look.

Future

Hopefully an arrival of OnLive app for Android, such as the Kindle Fire, will be released soon.  An announcement was made in December 2011 and is still not released.  Although, an app has been released for many tablets and phones, see the link at the bottom of this blog.

Sources; 

BBC News (2012) OnLive’s founder leaves company. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19397037 [Accessed: 27 Jan 2013].

BBC News (2012) OnLive was sold for less than $5m. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19896362 [Accessed: 27 Jan 2013].

IGN (2011) Hands-on with OnLive’s New Tablet App. [online] Available at: http://uk.ign.com/articles/2011/12/08/hands-on-with-onlives-new-tablet-app [Accessed: 27 Jan 2013].

IGN (2009) GDC 09: OnLive Introduces The Future of Gaming – IGN. [online] Available at: http://uk.ign.com/articles/2009/03/24/gdc-09-onlive-introduces-the-future-of-gaming [Accessed: 27 Jan 2013].

IGN (2011) OnLive: A Beginner’s Guide – IGN. [online] Available at: http://uk.ign.com/articles/2011/08/10/onlive-a-beginners-guide [Accessed: 27 Jan 2013].

OnLive (2012) Devices Compatible with OnLive App for Android. [online] Available at: https://support.onlive.com/entries/22247662-devices-compatible-with-onlive-app-for-android [Accessed: 27 Jan 2013].

OnLive (2012) Computer and Internet Requirements for PC/Mac®. [online] Available at: https://support.onlive.com/entries/22264983-computer-and-internet-requirements-for-pc-mac [Accessed: 27 Jan 2013].

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