OnLive: Cloud-Based Gaming of the Future

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Does no-one else in this world live behind a "fair use policy" or "download limit" or similar? I've seen figures touting requirement of a 5Mbps connection required for an HD-quality game. If you're maxxing out that connection speed then lets do some quick maths:

8 bits to a byte: 5Mbps -> 0.625MBps

60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes to an hour: 3600s/hour

So gaming for an hour requires: 2250MB of data = 2.198GB.

I reckon I can get about two and a half hours of HD gaming per month.

Now there's a good chance that the connection speed required wont be the full 5Mbps, but the OnLive folks are hardly likely to be massively over-estimating the requirements in their own press releases.

I wonder how many people thought that transmitting one's voice over a wire was impossible.

How many people believed transmitting sound without wire was impossible. How many people believed that you couldn't transmit video over a wire, over the air, over a cable and on-demand.

How many people thought the Wii would fail because it's basically a compacted GameCube with motion controls?

No matter how many problems you enumerate it doesn't change the fact that there was a live, multiplayer game of Crysis demoed live in front of an audience at the GDC.

They claim to have two data centers currently and are working on another. They are also claiming that games will be playable from up to 1000mi away. Basically, they are saying they will have the US entirely within range of at least one data center.

Also, you don't HAVE to play in HD. I have a Wii, PS3 and a 360, only one of those is set up to output in HD with an HDMI (the PS3 for it's bluray capabilities) and I enjoy them all equally.

According to an engadget article:

Broadband connections of 1.5Mbps (71% of US homes have 2Mbps or greater) dials the image quality down to Wii levels while 4-5Mbps pipes are required for HD resolution.

You don't NEED to play in HD. 1.5Mbs isn't all that crazy. In fact, it's not really that demanding at all.

If this thing works I can clearly say that we exist in the Matrix where by a glitch in the system, OnLive can break the laws of physics and general laws of reality. But just in case it does break them, the thing itself requires a minimum of 1.5 mb constant speed. Here's another problem that pops up, so a short disconnection or simply a momentary flicker of power would end the game? Then comes another problem of how they're gonna actually control it if many people are active, Steam just downloads the game and let's you run it, this is the intention to hold the game constantly, which metaphorically speaking, will make the OnLive pull a muscle.

Blaxton:
According to an engadget article:

Broadband connections of 1.5Mbps (71% of US homes have 2Mbps or greater) dials the image quality down to Wii levels while 4-5Mbps pipes are required for HD resolution.

You don't NEED to play in HD. 1.5Mbs isn't all that crazy. In fact, it's not really that demanding at all.

Adjusting my maths for a 1.5Mbps connection means that 5GB of bandwidth is soaked up after less than 10 hours of gaming in a month. I am (courtesy of my landlord) on a connection from Tiscali (one of the UK's leading broadband providers) who regularly shaft my connection after 6pm on the basis that we (in a student house I share with some torrent-whores) have exceeded the company's limits on "fair-use". And by "shaft" I mean, YouTube isn't worth the effort.

We're all on a gaming forum so I'm guessing the propsect of 20 minutes of gaming per day seems rather low. Until the broadband networks over here are upgraded to the point where limitless use is available, OnLive will not succeed.

Imagine if your standard console or PC was 100 miles away from you and your controller and TV/monitor cables were 100 miles long. Then imagine that someone is standing around your console, upgrading it as necessary to run newer games. Now, replace the console with a super-powerful server that can do the same job for thousands of people simultaneously, then reroute the cables through the (already existing) high-speed internet cable network. That's OnLive's functionality in the crudest of terms. It's not impossible, it's just new and, as such, it is bound to run into problems, both anticipated and unforseen.

Whether it succeeds or not will depend on how they deal with those problems. I, for one, think it will work.

And people think that DRM is a bad way to handle piracy... I think you'd have a better gameplay experience with SecureROM munching on your processor than you would with this atavistic vision of gaming on dumb terminals.

No. Bad idea, one that relies not on cloud computing but cloud-cuckooland computing for any experience resembling today's A+ titles. Bad idea. No biscuit.

-- Steve

JemJar:

Blaxton:
According to an engadget article:

Broadband connections of 1.5Mbps (71% of US homes have 2Mbps or greater) dials the image quality down to Wii levels while 4-5Mbps pipes are required for HD resolution.

You don't NEED to play in HD. 1.5Mbs isn't all that crazy. In fact, it's not really that demanding at all.

Adjusting my maths for a 1.5Mbps connection means that 5GB of bandwidth is soaked up after less than 10 hours of gaming in a month. I am (courtesy of my landlord) on a connection from Tiscali (one of the UK's leading broadband providers) who regularly shaft my connection after 6pm on the basis that we (in a student house I share with some torrent-whores) have exceeded the company's limits on "fair-use". And by "shaft" I mean, YouTube isn't worth the effort.

We're all on a gaming forum so I'm guessing the propsect of 20 minutes of gaming per day seems rather low. Until the broadband networks over here are upgraded to the point where limitless use is available, OnLive will not succeed.

I'm not going to say that you're worries aren't justified, but the service appears to be starting in the US. It may not work for you right now but that doesn't mean it won't work in the future when they are able to create data centers in the UK. Perhaps by that time things will have changed for you and many others. Saying that it won't succeed in your market may be true but they haven't even announced plans to bring it to your market ye--so far as I'm aware.

It could be the feasibility studies showed that the US was the best place to start and that the UK was not an optimal region. If thats the case, and what you're saying is indicative of the situation in the UK as a whole, it seems to me they did their homework. Either that or they're just Americans starting in their home region. Who knows. At any rate, they have funding, publishers behind them, and a proof of concept video floating around from the GDC.

Also, sounds your "torrent whore" friends might be abusing your connection, which is why the limit exists in the first place. I don't agree with the ISPs, but that's the argument they've got on their side right there. You can't do something so simple as watch YouTube because of the effect of your roommates. I feel for you.

Would be a funny prank if you changed your router settings to cut out torrent traffic and blamed it on the ISP.

JemJar:

Blaxton:
According to an engadget article:

Broadband connections of 1.5Mbps (71% of US homes have 2Mbps or greater) dials the image quality down to Wii levels while 4-5Mbps pipes are required for HD resolution.

You don't NEED to play in HD. 1.5Mbs isn't all that crazy. In fact, it's not really that demanding at all.

Adjusting my maths for a 1.5Mbps connection means that 5GB of bandwidth is soaked up after less than 10 hours of gaming in a month. I am (courtesy of my landlord) on a connection from Tiscali (one of the UK's leading broadband providers) who regularly shaft my connection after 6pm on the basis that we (in a student house I share with some torrent-whores) have exceeded the company's limits on "fair-use". And by "shaft" I mean, YouTube isn't worth the effort.

We're all on a gaming forum so I'm guessing the propsect of 20 minutes of gaming per day seems rather low. Until the broadband networks over here are upgraded to the point where limitless use is available, OnLive will not succeed.

Don't know about you, but I haven't played a new PC game in 480p ever since I could go 800x600 or upwards.

Blaxton:
Also, sounds your "torrent whore" friends might be abusing your connection, which is why the limit exists in the first place. I don't agree with the ISPs, but that's the argument they've got on their side right there. You can't do something so simple as watch YouTube because of the effect of your roommates. I feel for you.

Would be a funny prank if you changed your router settings to cut out torrent traffic and blamed it on the ISP.

Yes, they are abusing the connection, it's what they do. It'll be interesting to see what happens to OnLive, I take your point that they're not launching in Europe yet - it's perfectly reasonable not to as an American company with a new technology - but I wonder if it's not just a step too far, too soon.

RAKtheUndead:
Don't know about you, but I haven't played a new PC game in 480p ever since I could go 800x600 or upwards.

But surely the whole point of having access to a remote super-rig to play Crysis on are so you can play it in glorious low-def graphics? Obviously

JemJar:

But surely the whole point of having access to a remote super-rig to play Crysis on are so you can play it in glorious low-def graphics? Obviously

I agree with you there, part of the allure of a game like Crysis is the graphics. But even my laptop from last Christmas, with a GeForce8600M GS (not the top of the line but not terrible), can't run the game on any level. It struggles with anything less than a few years old (except for WAR, which runs well). It would be nice to be able to play new games on a middle of the road laptop.

Also, think about playing on a netbook. It would be impossible to do without this kind of a service, and yet many people are jumping on that band wagon. That's a growing segment buying computers with specs far below current standard. I don't blame them, it doesn't take 2gigs of ram to check email and watch YouTube videos, but thats what you'll need to get Vista going at a decent pace. The standard netbook screen has about 600 vertical lines which puts it between 720p and standard def.

From my perspective, as a console gamer that occasionally buys a PC game. I can see myself using my computer to play games much more with a service like this. Hardcore, $4k rig gamers aren't going to eat this up I would think--but a much larger audience exists with computers that can't play new games.

I worked at a store where my boss was a huge gamer from back in the 70s. He has a 360 and a new computer, but it was a middle of the pack computer, not a gaming rig. To him, a $1k system should be enough to play any game, no matter how new, after all (and I know why the prices are mismatched, but he doesn't know the complexities of licensing, etc) his 360 was $250 and played games in HD. He bought Bioshock not realizing his system couldn't manage it. He could realistically be part of the market that picks up OnLive, but would never ever buy a computer priced over a couple thousand.

This might work, but I have to question the system itself.
What if you lag and die?
Some games require you to start from the very beginning of the game when this happens (Alien Hominid).

Considering the server is playing the game and you're just giving the inputs and watching a video this is quite possible. What if you reconfig keystrokes within the game, will OnLive notice this and pick up these keys as well?

Most importantly, what if the game crashes?

Where do save games go?

Can you use other controllers? Can I use a Xbox 360 Wireless controller?

Here's another one for you: CounterStrike, Desert Combat, Day of Defeat, ThreeWave CTF (old school reference)

These are just the short list of mods that would have never existed if OnLive was the prevailing game service (at least with our current information). Service providers (Steam, for example), only adopt user-made mods when they gain enough popularity to justify the cost of installation in order to draw more users. If those users can never see the game to begin with, it can never get that popularity, and will essentially never exist.

If a large majority of the PC gaming market were not even CAPABLE of playing a mod until after it had become popular with a large portion of the market... anybody see the catch here?

Also, imagine World of Warcraft with no custom UI mods. For those of you whose heads just exploded, I apologize.

p.s. I haven't seen anybody mention game stability. Anybody here play any games that never crash? That'll be fun with remote game boxes.

phirewind:
Here's another one for you: CounterStrike, Desert Combat, Day of Defeat, ThreeWave CTF (old school reference)

These are just the short list of mods that would have never existed if OnLive was the prevailing game service (at least with our current information). Service providers (Steam, for example), only adopt user-made mods when they gain enough popularity to justify the cost of installation in order to draw more users. If those users can never see the game to begin with, it can never get that popularity, and will essentially never exist.

If a large majority of the PC gaming market were not even CAPABLE of playing a mod until after it had become popular with a large portion of the market... anybody see the catch here?

Also, imagine World of Warcraft with no custom UI mods. For those of you whose heads just exploded, I apologize.

p.s. I haven't seen anybody mention game stability. Anybody here play any games that never crash? That'll be fun with remote game boxes.

Of course there will be trade offs. But no one is saying this is going to become the ONLY distribution method for games. If you're big into modding and modded games then maybe this service won't be for you. At this point, we don't know how that will be handled anyway, so it's all just conjecture.

Games do crash, but less so on consoles than on PCs. This has to do with the number of variables associated with different PC configurations and conflicting software. Games running on a standard set of systems at a data center should be more stable than running them on a home computer. They may even custom build systems for particular games (or sets of games, like Nvidia vs. ATI optimized software), but who knows at this point.

Ugghhh , April Fools ?

if this works out it just might end console wars (probably not)

but really.. what's the catch?

Sounds like a good idea on paper. But then again, so did video games based on movies.

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