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OnLive – Lagging Isn’t Just For Multiplayer Anymore

It has been a while since I just slammed out a blog post… lets change that.

So the news of the day is OnLive. A company that has been developing this product for 7 years and keeping it under tight wraps until today. Paving the way by already having Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Warner Bros., Take-Two, Eidos, and Atari on board. Soon to be all over the tech sites tomorrow as “the end of pc/console gaming”. Tech journalists love to think that some half assed “cloud computing” idea is going to change the way everyone does things forever. Remember those articles about Chrome replacing Windows? Google Docs replacing Office? Riiight.

So anyway, on paper, awesome idea. Playing PC games in HD with a service fee or getting the console experience with only a little gizmo and internet needed? On that big ol’ HDTV everyone has or even on a PC with as little processing power as a netbook? Nice. In reality, this thing is not going to make it. I’m calling it right now. Here is why.

This isn’t streaming content so you can’t just say “Hey you can watch TV in HD why can’t you stream games in HD?”. This is interactive content over the internet. I’ve remotely controlled PCs with every kind of remote control software from as far away as across the apartment to across the continent. Nothing has ever been quick enough to even consider gaming with, its frustrating enough working remotely just typing into the command prompt. So anyway, semi-related remote terminal experience aside, the initial specs on OnLive are 1.5 mbits for standard definition and 5 for HD (720p). Oh god did you hear that too?

The majority of the customer base here is not going to have connection speeds for HD from their modem let alone their router. The average family I imagine buying this gizmo for their kid or themselves are all probably working wireless on a network they don’t know how to configure. All they know is they have the internet and that fat friend of Jimmy’s set it up. If it breaks it better be around a holiday so they can guilt one of those youngins in the family over to come fix it. Imagine these familys having an adequate enough network getting 5 mbits wireless? That’s a long shot. Oh throw in shared living spaces like apartments and condos (aka shared wireless ranges), now its impossible.  So HD is out for the majority of the customer base who I see wanting this thing. Is it even possible over connections like DSL? Unless playing the latest PC games in horrible res is some fad I’ve missed this won’t go over well.

Don’t tell me for a second PC nerds are wanting this either. Most PC nerds love their hardware and getting a new rig. Most PC nerds hate DRM and pirate their games anyway. So PC nerds are out. I hear it now “But warning, I’m a PC Nerd I could have a netbook and save a gajillion dollars selling my PC and play all the dopest games with OnLive!”. Listen you could already do that, just game on a console, but that is what makes most a PC nerd. They haven’t done that yet.

Who does that leave to enjoy this thing? Say somehow this service works amazing. To the point where the lag of playing a game is the same as your average first person shooter firing lag. Which it won’t be because that would be ignoring the fact that now the rendering is no longer local, getting compressed/encoded, transmitted, decoded. Oh and dropping input, that’s not a common symptom of light terminals either. So say it all works amazing, where is the market share? Who is this for? FIOS subscribers with tech savvy parents. That is about all I can think of.

The bandwidth needs of this thing need to come way down to have a shot at succeeding. I know with the ISP I’m using now and the standard $30 internet package the ISP offers (that everyone I know in the area except me has) would fill its bandwidth quota in about 15 hours of gaming. Good luck with that.

Seacrest Out!

4 Responses to “OnLive – Lagging Isn’t Just For Multiplayer Anymore”

  1. Dan Waldron  Says:

    Hello. I was reading someone elses blog and saw you on their blogroll. Would you be interested in exchanging blog roll links? If so, feel free to email me.

    Thanks.

  2. [Ht]Mad  Says:

    Sure, however do you really want this post-apocalyptic bunker of an internet site listed on your site? Looks pretty corporate!

  3. [Ht]warning  Says:

    That might be spam?? Dunno, I haven’t cleaned up the comments color scheme or implemented the spam plugins yet cause I’m lazy :).

  4. O  Says:

    I disagree.

    I like playing video games. We have 5 computers in the house. But not a single one of them can play any of the recent games (as 4 of them are laptops and on of those is a netbook)

    And I can’t justify spending a ton of money on a gaming computer either.

    I do not own a console (wife hates them) and again, I do not want to spend hundreds of dollars on one.

    I just want to play a game every once in a while. I am not a hardcore gamer. There are tons of people like me. (After all, hardcore gamers are a small minority)

    Onlive has no intial cost. I played their demos on their site and the lag is minimal and not that noticeable. I can get a 3 day pass for a couple bucks (3.99 for some, just like renting a game from blockbuster) Or I can buy a game for just 20 dollars and play it whenever, wherever and on whatever computer I want (even on a Mac)
    and best of all, I can play them even on a netbook using wifi.

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