Friday, July 2, 2010

OnLive: I'm Offline

Instantly... but at what price?

Now that OnLive is available for both the Personal Computer and the Mac, I want to discuss where I stand in terms of this gaming service. When it was first announced, I thought that OnLive would revolutionize the industry if it truly works well. Having been on the beta, my decision was already made then: I will not be subscribing to the service. What is OnLive exactly? It's basically a live video streaming service but what it is broadcasting is you playing games. You are controlling the game by connecting to the game data center via the Internet and you don't even need to have a PC or a Mac to play: The MicroConsole TV Adapter will soon be released to accommodate those who just want to game straight on the television. What this means is that you don't have to spend any money on building a good PC rig: all you have to worry about is paying for the games and your subscription service. You also don't have to worry about lengthy download and installation because all the games are ready to be played.

The reason why I walked away disappointed from OnLive is the quality of the stream. True, there is hardly any noticeable lag while playing but the games are stuck at a washed out 720p and all the brilliant colors and sharpness you would normally expect from that resolution are lost. Worse still is that the "game data center" just cannot handle high level of details enabled on the games played. I assume that the graphics setting for the games are toned down to reduce potential latency.

Here's the bottom line: for those who own a good gaming PC, this service is totally unnecessary. Those who don't have a PC but would like to play PC games may want to check it out: The sad thing is that those same people would probably enjoy themselves more playing on the current generation consoles because of the graphical setbacks. Then, there is that concern over your access to the games that you paid for: you must continually subscribe to the service to be able to play them and some games may be available on the service for only 3 years. Who knows, at some point in the future, OnLive could mature into something significant alongside further developments of Internet technology but in its current form of infancy, it may not be able to survive very long.



Anonymous said...

Are you sure the top is 720p? That´s strange, i thought a veryhigh internet speed the resolution would be higher. For me 720p doesn´t justify the service ´cause i can play at 1400x900 (except for crysis).
Still preffer the old fashioned way. One day onlive will shut down and all the games colecction will be gone.

Loner Gamer said...

They only offer up to 720p stream resolution. You can always upscale it when playing on the PC desktop by enlarging the OnLive display window but that of course made things look much worse.

Anonymous said...

Upscaling sucks