OnLive is out, and it works - for some

Tom Francis at

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The futuristic game streaming service OnLive is now a reality, so a massive question is about to be answered: does it work? OnLive claims to let you play any game on its service, however demanding, on your lowly laptop - even a Mac. The games run on servers their end, and the audio and video data is just streamed to you over the net.

Our US team have only just got back from E3, and OnLive isn't available here in the UK, but our indie developer friends Wolfire have been using the service. Jeff's put together a great analysis of how practical the service really is, and the most surprising part is that - for him at least - it works. Low latency, hi-fidelity gaming on a MacBook Pro, via Comcast's cheapest possible broadband package. Check out a video of him playing UT3 through the service, below the fold:

Jeff describes the latency for him as "definitely noticeable, but I quickly got used to it." He's also put up some comparisonscreens, so you can see the exact quality difference between running a game locally and streaming it via OnLive. But most interestingly, he offers some smart analysis about how the technical side of this seemingly sci-fi idea is practically possible. In a sense, it isn't: except for people who happen to live just a few router jumps from their nearest server.

We'll let you know our own thoughts on how well the service works once we've had a chance to test it properly. You can see the pricing and beta details in our last post on it here. What do you think? Is the lag shown here acceptable to you? Is the concept even appealing?


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