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].

Advertisements

Special report: Xbox 720; The latest stage

Xbox logo

After much speculation last year, particularly at E3 (a major gaming event in Los Angeles California), Microsoft have released details of an announcement about the Xbox 720 is due in March 2013. Please note all information on this page is based on sourced, reasonable speculation or/and rumored features.

There are many assumptions to be found based on the successor, such as exactly what it will feature, the price and release date/month.

They have decided to go against announcing the arrival at this year’s E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) event, which is held on 11th to 13th June 2013. Instead in March an “Apple-like” event is to be held where they will announce Xbox 720 (code-name speculations include ‘Durango’ or ‘Kryptos’) to the world, and clearing up rumors once and for all.

(Update: Kazuo Hirai, CEO of Sony, has announced today (21st January) that it will let Microsoft make the first move. This could lead to Microsoft announcing the all new 720 at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California held on 25th to 29th March.

On the day of the announcement Pwnrsmanual will post a special blog featuring all the latest news.

The, soon to be a classic, Xbox 360 was launched in 2005 over 7 years ago, then retailing at $400 – around £279.99.

Popular video game website ‘Gamespot’ has said the following about the release date;

“Microsoft will hold dedicated events prior to the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo (June 11-13, 2013) to finally unveil these machines…Sony and Microsoft will hype the consoles during E3 2013 itself before shipping the systems to retail during October and November, respectively.”

While ‘Christian Post’ has estimated that the release date “could be as early as June 11”

With Xbox talking about Smart Glass and Kinect at last year’s E3 event it will be interesting to discover if these will feature on the new 720. It will certainly raise the bar once again for the gaming industry. ‘Tech hunter’ assume:

“…the Xbox is speculated to feature the much-awaited Blu-ray support, 8GB of RAM, directional audio, TV input and output and an innovative controller to increase the level of experience. The new controller is alleged to be similar to Nintendo Wii U’s second screen controller… The Xbox 720 is rumoured to operate on Kinect 2.0 and sport Augmented Reality (AR).”

With many Xbox games soon to be released on the 720, ‘Pocket-lint’ quote “Halo developer Bungie’s next game, a MMO first-person shooter called Destiny, will be released in Autumn 2013 for Xbox 360 and…the Xbox 720”, could this be the first game for 720?

One thing can be certain; all eyes will be on Microsoft Xbox at this year’s E3 event as they can rightfully show off the highly anticipated creation.

(Update: 17th January 2013 – Ubisoft have announced a new release date of August 2013 for the latest addition of the ever popular game ‘Splinter Cell’. It will be called ‘Splinter Cell: Blacklist’, where we will see the return once more of Sam Fisher. Could this new release date (originally announced ‘Spring 2013’) hint at a release date around October/November 2013? This will allow for people to still buy their game, which is available now to pre-order for Xbox360, PS3 and PC and save up some money for the console.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: 7th February 2013

If you have ever wanted your Xbox to understand what you are saying soon this might just become a reality! According to an IGN report, the latest rumour surrounding the Xbox720 is that it will be able to understand your own voice. So as well as using Kinect to motion detect you physically it will have Apple’s “Siri-like” technology and can understand any questions you may want to ask. Going even further, your Xbox will also respond back to you with answers to your queries with some form of automated voice. Quote from IGN;

The rumor seems to fall in line with reports last year, which included a Microsoft job listing for the next-generation of Kinect, focused on developing on the “future of user input.”

This does seem to be the ultimate conclusion with the “future of user input” ,it is hard to consider that they do mean something else.

Some other additional features which would be great I personally think are, Blu Ray, more powerful than before, HD graphics, exclusive games, a large hard drive and reasonable pricing.

Reminder

Don’t forget to check our website and this blog for new posts daily!

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/774884/Websites/claire/site/index.html

Sources;

Christian Post (2013) Xbox 720 Release Date Set for June 11, Specs to be Revealed at E3 2013. [online] Available at: http://www.christianpost.com/news/xbox-720-release-date-set-for-june-11-specs-to-be-revealed-at-e3-2013-87822/ [Accessed: 14 Jan 2013].

Examiner (2013) Xbox 720 specs and games revealed. [online] Available at: http://www.examiner.com/article/xbox-720-specs-and-games-revealed [Accessed: 14 Jan 2013].

Gameranx (2013) ‘Xbox 720 and PS4’ Set for a Reveal Near GDC In March – Rumor. [online] Available at: http://www.gameranx.com/updates/id/12001/article/xbox-720-and-ps4-set-for-a-reveal-near-gdc-in-march—rumor/ [Accessed: 14 Jan 2013].

Gamespot (2013) PS4, Xbox 720 announcements in March?. [online] Available at: http://uk.gamespot.com/news/ps4-xbox-720-announcements-in-march-6402358 [Accessed: 14 Jan 2013].

Gamespot (2013) Xbox 720, PS4 could start at $350. [online] Available at: http://uk.gamespot.com/news/xbox-720-ps4-could-start-at-350-says-analyst-6402356 [Accessed: 14 Jan 2013].

IGN (2012) What E3 2012 Told Us About Xbox 360’s Future – IGN. [online] Available at: http://uk.ign.com/articles/2012/06/15/what-e3-2012-told-us-about-xbox-360s-future [Accessed: 14 Jan 2013].

IGN (2013) Xbox 720 to Reportedly Feature Siri-Like Voice Control – IGN. [online] Available at: http://uk.ign.com/articles/2013/02/07/xbox-720-to-reportedly-feature-siri-like-voice-control [Accessed: 7 Feb 2013]

Now Gamer (2012) PS4 Launching October, Xbox 720 November. [online] Available at: http://www.nowgamer.com/news/1764494/ps4_launching_october_xbox_720_november_analyst.html [Accessed: 14 Jan 2013].

Pocket-lint (2013) Bungie Destiny contract reveals Xbox 720 will arrive in 2013 – E3 announcement? – Pocket-lint. [online] Available at: http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/45744/bungie-contract-reveals-xbox-720-for-2013 [Accessed: 14 Jan 2013].

Tech Hunter (2012) New Xbox Features Rumours Surface Through Microsoft’s Leaked Report. [online] Available at: http://www.techhunter.co.uk/gadgets/new-xbox-720-features-leaked/02629/ [Accessed: 14 Jan 2013].

The Guardian (2005) Xbox 360 UK price. [online] Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gamesblog/2005/aug/17/xbox360ukpri1 [Accessed: 14 Jan 2013].

Video Gamer (2013) Rumour: Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 to be revealed. [online] Available at: http://www.videogamer.com/news/rumour_xbox_720_and_playstation_4_to_be_revealed_around_gdc_in_march.html [Accessed: 14 Jan 2013].