John mentioned the announcement of OnLive, yesterday, on his Tech5 podcast. Here’s some info from the developing firm – and a link to someone who’s actually at the GDC:

A new online video game distribution network hopes to free players from buying game discs or the console systems and high-priced computers needed to play them.

The OnLive Game Service, expected to launch later this year — was officially announced today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco — lets subscribers choose from a on-demand catalog of new video games that can be played on Windows and Apple Macintosh computers or television sets.

Bypassing current console systems such as the Microsoft Xbox that play only games made for that specific platform, OnLive lets computers play games stored on its network of super-powerful data servers. These servers bounce game data back and forth from the player’s computer using proprietary compression technology to make the games run as if they are loaded on the computer.

To play over big-screen HDTVs, a small microconsole unit (the size of a deck of cards) that connects to home broadband networks is used. Game controllers and headsets can connect to the microconsole using USB or wireless connections…

The price of the microconsole needed for TV-based connectivity and monthly subscriptions will be announced later.

“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,” says OnLive founder and chief operating officer Steve Perlman. “There’s no physical media. It’s an all-digital platform. You never need to upgrade your equipment at home.”

I went looking for the most trustworthy person I can think of writing about gaming – Garnett Lee. At least at time of posting, he’s probably too busy crawling the booths at the GDC to get something in print about this. But, I found this link from Wagner James Au.

  1. Uncle Patso says:

    We have cheap ADSL that tops out at about 1.2 megabits, and I’m occasionally quite impressed at the detail and action my wife gets on Second Life at that speed. So with a minimum connection speed of 5 megabits, I can see how this could be a good gaming experience, as long as the company’s servers can keep up with demand. Any modern gaming machine (2GHz dual core or better, say) should be able to handle the compression/decompression algorithms and game play at the same time.

    Well, whaddya know? The browser _IS_ the new platform!

  2. Somebody_Else says:

    “Except this company is demoing actual working technology. Phantom never got to that point.”

    I’ll believe it when I see it in retail. The Phantom was “demoed” in public several times.

  3. GregA says:


    Um, But the Xbox, PS3 and Wii all do what the Phantom promised to do… And you have Steam, and D2D as an option as well…


    I guess I don’t get what you are trying to get at?

  4. steelcobra says:

    The Cloud concept is great… until you get to actual practical usage. The current “king” of it, Google Docs, while mostly holding good service, has already had multiple downtimes and security breaches forcing massive inconvenience to users that aren’t there for users of MS Office or OpenOffice.

    This is just an internet version of the “thin client” concept that keeps getting passed around but never really goes anywhere because, at some point, a computer has to do the calculations to perform the task, and you have to put the money for that somewhere. And full-fledged clients will always be faster and cheaper to repair/replace than a server.

    hard drives:
    SATA 3.5″, 500GB, 7200RPM: $65
    SAS 3.5″, 300GB, 15000RPM: $340