OnLive announces CloudLift, can link with Steam to let subscribers play select games
When it comes to new technology, it helps if you can imagine a scenario in which it would be useful. That, I think, was the problem many faced with the old OnLive service. Streaming games from 'The Cloud' sounds cool, but in practice, was a poor choice when compared to a regular home installation. If you could do both, though, then you might have a system with some serious potential.
As of today, OnLive has announced that you can do both. Sort of. They've launched CloudLift, a service that lets you link your account directly to Steam. It means that, as long as a particular game is available through OnLive, you can buy it on Steam, play it on Steam, and both the game and its Cloud Save will automatically be available on OnLive too. The thinking is that, by purchasing a single copy of the game through Steam, you can still use OnLive as a 'companion app', accessing it through the streaming service when you're away, but returning to your regular installation at home.
Instantly, I can think of scenarios where that could be useful. When travelling with my antiquated laptop, I'd love to be able to play games that would normally melt its integrated graphics chip. In my case, though, I'm not away from home enough to make a purely streamed game purchase worthwhile.
Through CloudLift, I could be playing a game from my desktop hard-drive for the majority of the time, but for those few occasions when I'm away, continue the game - and my save - through OnLive. It's an instant process, requiring only that you link your two accounts. OnLive will automatically download your save, and apply any DLC already registered to your game. It's not just travelling, either. The OnLive client is available through Mac, making it an easy way to play Windows-only games through Apple's OS.
You may have spotted the "sort of" in the second paragraph, and it's an important caveat. OnLive's relaunch has the potential to be useful, but currently it doesn't have a catalogue to support that ambition. You can see the list of supported games here. It won't take you long to browse through the list.
The management team behind OnLive are hopeful that the catalogue will quickly expand. According to them, publishers are happier with not having to advertise for yet another platform, potentially cannibalising sales. They've also streamlined the process for signing new publishers, making them hopeful that they'll be announcing many more games over the next few weeks and months. Even so, it's worth waiting to see how that catalogue grows. The £10 per month subscription is a serious price for what's currently available on the CloudLift service.
OnLive also wants to broaden its retailer availability. In the future, they're hopeful that subscribers will also be able to link their Origin and Uplay accounts, giving a yet wider series of games for players to instantly undertake.
For more details, head over to the relaunched OnLive site, where the CloudLift open beta is now running.