OnLive at E3: It Works

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OnLive at E3: It Works

We sit in on an OnLive site test a few blocks away from the bustle of the LA Convention Center.

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No, it's not perfect. I noticed both some slight input lag and minor degradation of the image quality resulting from compression.

I think it's fair to call this a flop now.

Edit: To be fair, I called exactly that. Input lag. Image quality isn't a major deal. Input lag is.

I prefer owning my games.

Good day OnLive.

This is huge, it could potentially eliminate the one major thing threatening the PC gaming industry, the rising PC specs that most people aren't willing to learn about. This will essentially put it on a level playing field with consoles as far as user friendliness.

vivaldiscool:
This is huge, it could potentially eliminate the one major thing threatening the PC gaming industry, the rising PC specs that most people aren't willing to learn about. This will essentially put it on a level playing field with consoles as far as user friendliness.

No, it's not huge.

Input lag is not acceptable in any form. You have no idea how terrible it is until you've played with it. Even a fifteenth of a second of input lag is absolutely devastating on so many levels. Any online FPS play becomes impossible... hell, any FPS play becomes impossible. Platforming games, racing games, fighting games... none of these work with input lag. RTS is just about the only type of game that slight input lag isn't a devastating deal in.

That's all very well for a single player experience but what happens when it come to multiplayer? I'm thinking that OnLive is going to have some serious strain under those conditions.
Also, I really can't see this working all that well here in Britain, maybe when the average connection speed matches that of the US, but not before.

Credge:

vivaldiscool:
This is huge, it could potentially eliminate the one major thing threatening the PC gaming industry, the rising PC specs that most people aren't willing to learn about. This will essentially put it on a level playing field with consoles as far as user friendliness.

No, it's not huge.

Input lag is not acceptable in any form. You have no idea how terrible it is until you've played with it. Even a fifteenth of a second of input lag is absolutely devastating on so many levels. Any online FPS play becomes impossible... hell, any FPS play becomes impossible. Platforming games, racing games, fighting games... none of these work with input lag. RTS is just about the only type of game that slight input lag isn't a devastating deal in.

Yes, it is huge. First of all, he said nothing about how bad or recurrent the input lag was. Secondly, of the myriad of games he tried, he said the problem was negligible, (And he's an experienced gamer) Thirdly, you can't ignore the millions of gamers whom the only thing keeping them about of PC gaming is tech requirements. Even if me or you don't want to use onlive, this will open up world for people who otherwise wouldn't get to experience this at all.

If onlive doesn't go anywhere, I'm guessing it'll be the skeptics who killed it.

Input lag matters an awful lot for some games, but not for others. SFII, yes. Quake, yes. Something like Sim City for example, who cares? Phantasy Star Online, who cares?

Plus, if they're to make this work, the developers will tweak gameplay to mask any lag.

Currently accessible to 100 participants and you already notice lag? I'm sorry, but what do you think it will be like when 1 million participants have access? How about 10 million? Please...

Onlive is a joke. I will never support it, and I pity the fool who does.

But it was clearly also an opportunity to show off their service to a new audience and to remind the naysayers that the technology is progressing as planned (unlike, say, Duke Nukem Forever or the Phantom Lapboard).

As soon as the article mentioned the "MiniConsole" I thought to myself "My gort, it's The Phantom reborn!" And then I laughed like mad.

As for people saying "it's got lag, it's failed completely right now", you have to realize, it's not finished. They still haven't said "This is it, this is exactly what you're getting and we're never going to change it." I still remember when Steam games had terrible lag when it first started out. And I can remember playing on dial-up, with terrible lag. System change, they evolve, they get better. Nothing starts out perfect.

How the hell will we in the Faeroe Islands be able to play? We got a 0.3-1.0 second delay! This will never work for us!!

No FPS games... T_T

Everyone making a big deal out of the input lag:

What did the OP actually say?

"But these faults hardly detracted from the overall experience..."

"...if their hardware continues to perform at the level it did last week - then OnLive very well could be the paradigm shift in gaming that it claims to be."

If the streaming hiccups actually detracted from playability in a significant way, then how do they have all the publishers signed on? Publishers aren't stupid.

These technical difficulties are probably rare and brief, and also completely dependent on your connection. If you get 4-5 mbps, then you probably won't have a problem.

The problems I see:
1. Scale. 100 or 1000 people are NOTHING. We can only see how it will REALLY perform when it's in the REAL situation. Especially what happens when demand exceeds supply. Will they only accept a certain number of subscribers? Will subscribers see WoW-esque waiting queues?

2. More importantly: What does it do for ME? Is there anything it solves for me? No more hardware upgrades? That is both pointless (because advances in PC gaming have already slowed down a ton and I haven't upgraded in years except for replacing a faulty graphics card with a cheap new one to get the PC operational again) and WRONG. Why wrong? You've seen it at E3: The other two console manufacturers are following Nintendo's lead. They're introducing motion controls. If OnLive wants to support motion controlled games it NEEDS a user-side hardware upgrade because the interface hardware changes, not the server hardware. If the user interface (both input and output) become the battleground of future game hardware development then OnLive will not be able to avoid hardware upgrades for the users.

OnLive is a solution in search of a problem. It's a technology that is being made for technology's sake, not for a need of the customer.

It's lagging at 100 players, 99 of which most likely aren't online?

GG nice try, time to move on.

Credge:

No, it's not perfect. I noticed both some slight input lag and minor degradation of the image quality resulting from compression.

I think it's fair to call this a flop now.

Edit: To be fair, I called exactly that. Input lag. Image quality isn't a major deal. Input lag is.

Because OnLive is gonna be released tomorrow, or what?

Being pissy about something lagging when it's not gonna be released for several months, is really being a moron.

xitel:

But it was clearly also an opportunity to show off their service to a new audience and to remind the naysayers that the technology is progressing as planned (unlike, say, Duke Nukem Forever or the Phantom Lapboard).

As soon as the article mentioned the "MiniConsole" I thought to myself "My gort, it's The Phantom reborn!" And then I laughed like mad.

As for people saying "it's got lag, it's failed completely right now", you have to realize, it's not finished. They still haven't said "This is it, this is exactly what you're getting and we're never going to change it." I still remember when Steam games had terrible lag when it first started out. And I can remember playing on dial-up, with terrible lag. System change, they evolve, they get better. Nothing starts out perfect.

Well, this thing is ambitious and people are extremely skeptical, so they're going to jump on any thing to claw at it.

However, I do agree with most of the other people. 100 people is no where NEAR enough to even make any noticeable changes or progresses. Something like maybe 10,000 people would be much more helpful, but at 100 people and still lag? And how many of them are actively playing on OnLive? And what is their connection, and where are they accessing it, and are they being given copious amounts of bandwidth, are they just OnLive employees?

Who knows what would happen when millions of people are playing it at once, no way could the OnLive headquarters have over a million computers or so to play the games for them or however they make it work.

While, I'll admit, it would be very nice to have this work so I'll finally be able to play computer games due to my crappy PC, I highly doubt it will work efficiently simply because developers like pushing the hardware envelope and doing even crazier stuff. If what I read is true, then the game is limited to how top notch the OnLive developer's PC rigs are.

Wow, because consoles never had any sort of errors a few YEARS PRIOR TO THEIR RELEASE.

KDR_11k:
The problems I see:
1. Scale. 100 or 1000 people are NOTHING. We can only see how it will REALLY perform when it's in the REAL situation. Especially what happens when demand exceeds supply. Will they only accept a certain number of subscribers? Will subscribers see WoW-esque waiting queues?

2. More importantly: What does it do for ME? Is there anything it solves for me? No more hardware upgrades? That is both pointless (because advances in PC gaming have already slowed down a ton and I haven't upgraded in years except for replacing a faulty graphics card with a cheap new one to get the PC operational again) and WRONG. Why wrong? You've seen it at E3: The other two console manufacturers are following Nintendo's lead. They're introducing motion controls. If OnLive wants to support motion controlled games it NEEDS a user-side hardware upgrade because the interface hardware changes, not the server hardware. If the user interface (both input and output) become the battleground of future game hardware development then OnLive will not be able to avoid hardware upgrades for the users.

OnLive is a solution in search of a problem. It's a technology that is being made for technology's sake, not for a need of the customer.

First of all, a proportionally small number of people have AAA computer's, if you've already upgraded enough to play games for the next 10 years, good for you. But most people haven't, so this isn't targeted at people like you.

Secondly (I sure seem to use this format alot) While most companies are looking into motion controls, I can hardly see them abandoning standard controls for a long time. It's still an experiment, nothing more. It's not like the PC is using motion controls at all anyway.

Seriously, what's with all the cynicism surrounding this? I should think most gamers would be happy about. All the complaints I've heard aren't even valid, just idle speculation. I mean, approaching an Idea like this with caution? Sure, that's a good thing. But with such fierce opposition? With bald-faced hatred? I just don't get it. This could be the best thing that's happened to PC gaming in years and you're against it? Why? Because you think there's a chance that it might not work despite empirical evidence otherwise. Why the hell do you want it not to work?

Input lag is a problem. A big problem we all fear. But I'm still willing to wait and see what eventually become of OnLive.

If I might add though, I don't like the thought of thinking that every game I've got will be digital. No physical media, no instructions booklets, no memorabilia, or limited editions.

...eerie...

I have only one problem with OnLive: the cost. It'll almost definitely be subscription based, and that means that if you can't afford it suddenly, your library of games just plummeted. Nope, not for me. Even a digital copy is better than no copy.

And, crucially, the service is currently accessible to 100 players in a closed beta that will soon expand to 1,000 participants.

The primary focus of a beta test is to discern problems such as minor input lag and eliminate them. Also, chances are their server beds are not yet nearly complete. They are testing how strong their servers will need to be to support 100 players with optimal quality, then increasing their test bed to 1000, and so on so they can project just what kind of server needs they will see for their estimated subscriber base.

I think Onlive is going to be a massive revolution in gaming. It won't replace consoles but it will create a new means of playing games (If it continues to work) for those who previously did not have access.

You all also have to take the limitations that they had in consideration. First of all, they used a connection speed that approximately 5-6 Mbps. A lot of people I know have over twice that. Also, the distance they played from their servers was very big. If it performed as well as this article said it did, then we might have something to look forward to.

vivaldiscool:
First of all, a proportionally small number of people have AAA computer's, if you've already upgraded enough to play games for the next 10 years, good for you. But most people haven't, so this isn't targeted at people like you.

This scrap bucket is hardly A, much less AAA (it's five years old and still plays new games and it wasn't even top of the line back then!). Gaming computers aren't massive multi-grand machines anymore. Then again noone wants to play PC games anyway when they can just play console games on their TV instead and I somehow doubt their subscription fee will be low enough to compete with buying a console.

Seriously, what does OnLive do for the customer? Why would a customer choose it over a console? If it wants to be some kind of paradigm shift it must do something the customer really wants. What need does it fill, what itch does it scratch?

Zephyr892:
Wow, because consoles never had any sort of errors a few YEARS PRIOR TO THEIR RELEASE.

Last I checked, OnLive is intended to release this winter 2009.

So, I hardly think it's intended to be years off from now ;)

I believe it was already revealed long ago that the subscriptions cost would be approximately $50 a year, thus making it more valuable than a 360.

KDR_11k:
Yes, it is huge. First of all, he said nothing about how bad or recurrent the input lag was. Secondly, of the myriad of games he tried, he said the problem was negligible, (And he's an experienced gamer) Thirdly, you can't ignore the millions of gamers whom the only thing keeping them about of PC gaming is tech requirements. Even if me or you don't want to use onlive, this will open up world for people who otherwise wouldn't get to experience this at all.

If onlive doesn't go anywhere, I'm guessing it'll be the skeptics who killed it.

He DID say how bad the input lag was.

No, it's not perfect. I noticed both some slight input lag...

Slight equates to an unacceptable amount.

Like the others, I am worried about input lag. Yes, I'm still a little skeptical about this, I am HOPING this will work out, as it is, quite frankly, a good idea.

They've still got 1 or 2 more years before this even gets released, so hopefully improvements will be made. The only real problem is that you're going to have to pay for a ridiculous amount of high speed internet connection in order to get equal graphics compared to a good PC or something.

i don't even download games off steam when they're dirt cheap. i like boxes on shelves, so what?

Anything that would let me play Crysis on my laptop, is good.

Wow it's amazing just how sceptical people are towards this. I personally had been thinking something like this should probably come along just before I'd heard about it. It just seems like a logical step, streaming services are becoming better and more common all the time. I have on-demand tv at home which is brilliant for watching shows at my convenience and I'm using spotify more than any other media player for music at the moment - again it's just so damn convenient. I know streaming games is technologically a whole lot more complicated and problematic than just streaming audio and video data but with big games companies behind this project and with the advances it's claiming, then I think this really could be huge.

Everyone who's worried about the slight input lag with so few playtesters needs to realise that the amount of people using it shouldn't be an issue (although I know it could be) - the lag mainly is the time it takes for data compression before it gets streamed which is only going to decrease as they improve the algorithm - If it's working suitably enough now for our unbiased escapist reviewer to say the faults hardly detract from the experience then I have very high hopes.

KDR_11k:

Seriously, what does OnLive do for the customer? Why would a customer choose it over a console? If it wants to be some kind of paradigm shift it must do something the customer really wants. What need does it fill, what itch does it scratch?

Here's a few things off the top of my head:
-Any game playable on any system regardless of specs. Crysis on full graphics on your eee pc, 'round your mates house.
-'Future proof' no new console every 5 years and no need to upgrade your pc
-Easy access to all your games anywhere - no need for disks or even HDD space to be taken up
-Multiplayer improvements - it'll provide super stable servers for any game and probably reduce lag when playing multiplayer because no single person will be able to affect the server with their connection.
-Convenience... you'd be able to pay for and play any game instantly, no download - it's just there. Likewise loading up a game you own will be instant wherever you are and whatever machine you're using.
-It'll be suscription based I imagine so there won't be the whole shelling out a large lump sum for a console, which is the put off for alot of people, instead you'd be able to try it for a bit to see if you like it and if not you've only lost a fraction of the cost compared to a console.

Maybe thats not enough to convince you, but I'm excited and I own a high end-pc and PS3 so I'm probably one of the people who stands to gain the least from this!

I'm still asking myself this question: Why are they trying to revive time-sharing, something that went mostly out of vogue in the late 1980s, by giving it a name like "cloud computing"? Time-sharing became obsolete around the time that personal computers finally became able to run business applications, and yet, today's software developers seem convinced that this outdated model is the answer to problems in the current computing world.

You see, the personal computer of today is more powerful than a supercomputer from the early 1990s, and that's just the floating-point performance of the main processor I'm talking about. That's not even counting the graphics card, which can now be used as a floating-point processor in its own right.

DRADIS C0ntact:
Currently accessible to 100 participants and you already notice lag? I'm sorry, but what do you think it will be like when 1 million participants have access? How about 10 million? Please...

Onlive is a joke. I will never support it, and I pity the fool who does.

you'll regret saying that if it actually works :P

Simalacrum:

DRADIS C0ntact:
Currently accessible to 100 participants and you already notice lag? I'm sorry, but what do you think it will be like when 1 million participants have access? How about 10 million? Please...

Onlive is a joke. I will never support it, and I pity the fool who does.

you'll regret saying that if it actually works :P

Eh...yeah you're probably right. But I still wouldn't buy it. I like to own my games. Even getting a game through a digital download service like Steam has that sense of ownership to it when you buy the game. It's forever tied to your account. Onlive seems more like a rental service. That just isn't appealing to me.

I'm proud, I'm glad, and I hope this is the "change" it's supposed to be.

This will only succeed if you iron out the input lag greatly, and doing that would most likely have such high costs and thus high monthly fees that you might as well buy a PC that can play Crysis on max settings.

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