Streaming Games Kill Hardware

OnLiveA new service was unveiled at GDC yesterday called OnLive which threatens to do away with the need for gaming hardware altogether. Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will be hiring hitmen as we speak because according to OnLive boss Steve Perlman demanding games can be run on remote hardware and streamed across the net to run on your television or a cheap laptop.

You will need to buy their tiny micro console if you want to just use your TV and of course you’ll need high speed broadband, at least 1.5 megabits per second for standard definition and 5 megabits for high definition.  They showed off Crysis running on a crappy laptop and it appears to work.

The possiblities are obvious, no more expensive upgrades so you can run the latest games, in fact what’s the point of a big console system taking up space in your living room either? All you need is a good connection and your controller of choice and your inputs control the action which is run on high end hardware miles away. Their micro console will cost less than any of the current generation consoles and sports two USB connections, support for four Bluetooth devices, audio, video and HDMI outputs.

This system also does away with installation and download times and unsurprisingly a bunch of the big publishers have jumped straight onboard. It will protect them from cross platform hassles and piracy.

They even claim lag won’t be a problem with a ping below 1 millisecond. They have developed extremely fast video compression techniques at Reardon Studios, in fact the micro console is just a video decoding control hub.

OnLive are planning to offer a monthly subscription service and if it works the potential is obviously massive. There is a beta test this summer and then it goes live later in the year. I wouldn’t throw out your hardware just yet but this is definitely worth keeping an eye on.


About Simon Hill

I'm addicted to gaming and have been since I was a wee boy. Worked in the industry as a tester, designer and producer. I'm now a full time freelance writer and editor.