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What's the Big Deal With OnLive?

As technology has progressed, especially over recent years, it seems that the media (and particularly the gaming industry) has done a fairly good job of keeping up.

As technology has progressed, especially over recent years, it seems that the media (and particularly the gaming industry) has done a fairly good job of keeping up. Nintendo introduced the Wii and brought motion sensitive controls back to gaming in a new and innovative way. Additionally, concepts like cloud computing are starting to affect the way the gaming industry operates.

What Is Cloud Computing?

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of cloud computing (which can seem a bit vague even for those who have heard the term before), Wikinvest.com provides an adequate description of it. According to Wikinvest, “Cloud computing allows consumers and businesses to use applications without installation and access their personal files at any computer with internet access. This technology allows for much more efficient computing by centralizing storage, memory, processing and bandwidth…A simple example of cloud computing is Yahoo email or Gmail etc. You dont need a software or a server to use them. All a consumer would need is just an internet connection and you can start sending emails.” Based on this, how is the gaming industry able to put a concept like cloud computing to work?

OnLive’s Solution

One good example of this is the OnLive® Game Service which is set to be available on June 17 of this year. According to OnLive, Inc., “a revolutionary, on-demand video game platform capable of delivering the latest and most advanced games instantly via a broadband connection on virtually any PC or Mac, via a small browser plug-in, or on an HDTV, via OnLive’s MicroConsole™ TV Adapter. The OnLive Game Service enables an entirely new way to discover, explore, purchase and experience video game content.” Basically, users will be able to experience a multitude of games, featuring high-end graphics, on their pc’s or Macs without the need for expensive hardware. All that is required is the plug-in or adapter and a [relatively] small monthly charge ($14.95 to be exact).

According to Steve Perlman, Founder and CEO of OnLive, “This marks a huge milestone for both OnLive and the interactive entertainment landscape as a whole, changing the way that video games are developed, marketed, accessed and played…We are opening the door to incredible experiences for gamers and enormous opportunities for developers and publishers.” While this might sound like a gamer’s dream come true, there are some who remain skeptical.

OnLive Skeptics

According to Eurogamer writer, Richard Leadbetter, who discusses the topic of OnLive’s innovative gaming concept, “There’s only one slight problem. Realistically, there is no way it can work to the extent suggested, and no way it can provide a gaming experience as good as the one you already have without inherent compromises. It’s a great idea, and an intriguing demo that is amazing in that it actually works at all. However, away from the concept and the tech demos running in controlled conditions, OnLive raises so many technical questions and seemingly overcomes so many impossible challenges that it can’t possibly work.”

Maximum PC writer, Nathan Grayson, said, “Love the idea to pieces or think it flies in the face of everything PC gaming stands for, you can’t deny that OnLive’s ambitions are a bit lofty. After all, saying that you’ll invite the PC back into the cool kids’ club is one thing, but converting big talk into much, much bigger action is something else entirely.”

All skepticism aside, however, one cannot help but admit that what OnLive is promising to provide is pretty amazing in and of itself. One can only guess at the kind of reception it will get once it is officially released to the public but, at the very least, OnLive will probably give the rest of the gaming industry a good run for its money.

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