Oh, what’s that? I can play hardcore PC games on my crappy Dell Vostro now? Oh, what a relief!
Yup, it’s true. If you’ve got a low grade Dell computer (or something like it), like myself, you may now have a way of playing PC games such as Crysis – which would normally only work lag free on a l33t computer made specifically for gaming. Now, that’s an easy one grand I don’t have to spend – but what kind of product is going to shave off this kind of expense?
The bridge connecting PC gaming and crappy Dell Vostro laptops (or MacBooks!) is called OnLive. You heard of movies on demand? Well, it’s like that, except with video games. You might be able to play processor intensive, GPU demanding PC games, for a lowly cost parring with the Wii. Tempting, I know.
So, you’re probably wondering how, what, where, why, and when, right?
Kotaku Reviews says that following about it: “The concept is simple. Your controller input isn’t going from your hand to the controller to the machine in front of you, it’s going from your hand to the controller through the Internet to OnLive’s machines then back again as streamed video. Whether you’re using a USB gamepad, Bluetooth wireless controller, or tried and true keyboard and mouse, the processing and output happens on OnLive’s side, then is fed back to your terminal, with the game “perceptually” played locally”
So, just think of it as a controller, console, and TV – but just really far a part from each other, and bit more connections. Or, you can look at it as the OnLive headquarters harbouring super gaming computers, and hooking your monitor/TV up to them, but through Internet.
Kotaku also explains the technological mumbo jumbo that goes a long.
“Using patented video compression in tandem with algorithms that compensate for lag, jitter and packet loss, OnLive delivers video at up to 720p resolution at frame rates up to 60 frames per second. Of course, the quality of the video feed relies on your connection.
For standard definition television quality, a broadband connection of at least 1.5 megabits per second is required. For HDTV resolution, a connection of at least 5 mbps is needed.
What about lag, you say? OnLive’s technology “incubator” Rearden Studios claims that its servers will deliver video feeds that have a ping of less than one millisecond. Its patented video compression technique is also advertised as blazing fast, with video compression taking about one millisecond to process.”
Word on the street says that the speedy delivery of the video game content means video games on demand, no install times, cross-platform compatibility, the ability to try demos instantly, and an opportunity to rent or play games just like that. You could even watch others while they play their games.
“They’ll also be playable on OnLive’s micro console, a simple, low-cost device that’s about the size of your hand. It’s simple tech—there’s not even a GPU in the device. It simply acts as a video decoding control hub, with two USB inputs and support for four Bluetooth devices, and outputs audio and video via optical and HDMI connections. The micro console is expected to be priced competitively, “significantly less” than any current generation console on the market and potentially “free” with an OnLive service contract.” says Kotaku Reviews. So, you can take it on the go!
I’ve read several different opinions about this, and some have frowned upon it, saying the PC Gaming won’t be the same anymore, “turning the PC gaming world, upside down.” I think that change is a hard thing to deal with, but over time people will appreciate how affordable this is, and will open the PC Gaming doors to gamers who’ve always wanted to step in the PC Gaming world, but could never afford it.
It already has buy-in from major companies like EA, THQ, and others; there’s also a monthly fee talk that is similar to Xbox Live – with online features similar to Microsoft’s gaming community.
Look for OnLive Betas in the Summer, and possible news on a release.