March 24, 2009
| by Arlen Schweiger
The natural evolution of on-demand programming has extended its reach to gaming. The OnLive Game Service makes its debut this week with an expected official launch later this year, bringing you subscription games without the need for an Xbox or PlayStation and the like.
OnLive will let gamers choose from the console-neutral games stored on its servers in acting as a “virtual console”—you’ll be able to play the games on PCs or your big-screen TV.
“Were providing you with the latest high-end titles, the exact same ones you would see at Target or Best Buy, in the same release windows. But what is really cool is you don’t need any high-end hardware to play them,” OnLive founder and chief operating officer Steve Perlman told USA Today. “There’s no physical media. It’s an all-digital platform. You never need to upgrade your equipment at home.”
Gamers will maintain a user profile that lets them keep tabs and access games they’ve rented or purchased, as well as their status on those games. You can even save “brag clips” of some of your greatest gameplay hits.
The company says it will have the same releases as the major retailers, with supporting publishers counting Atari, Codemasters, Electronic Arts, Eidos, Epic Games, Take-Two Interactive Software, THQ, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Mirror’s Edge, Far Cry and Lego Batman are among the 16 titles shown so far for the service, which is being announced at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
The service will also let you tap into your TV with a microconsole box for USB or wireless connection, with those having 5-mbps or greater speeds gaining high-def-quality video.
There’s no word on the cost for monthly subscription or the microconsole box yet, nor a release date, but we’re guessing the buzz will get louder later this year. For now, check with www.onlive.com for potential beta testing.
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.