Perhaps this will put the vapourware accusations to rest.
OnLive, the streaming games start-up, has announced that it will begin rolling out its subscription service ($14.95 per-month plus the cost of purchasing or renting the games themselves) to customers on the 17th of June 2010 to coincide with this year’s E3 gaming conference.
It will be a US-only offering, however, at least for the foreseeable future, restricted to “to early registrants throughout the 48 contiguous United States”. This is in-line with their beta test program which requires users to be within 1000 miles of one of OnLive’s data centres.
The idea behind OnLive is that rather than having a powerful games console in your home, OnLive handles all of the heavy duty computation and graphics rendering. Then, a video stream of the game is sent back to your screen, and your controller inputs are sent back to them, and so on.
In other words, it is a thin client approach to video gaming, which has the advantage that OnLive can run on anything from a dedicated set-top box to a browser plugin. As such, the company states that OnLive will also work on Apple Mac computers. Given the recent announcement of Steam games, including the upcoming Portal 2, being published for OSX, it’s a very exciting time for wannabe Mac gamers.
What’s more, it’s reported that OnLive should function with no more than a 1.5Mbps internet connection, and HD gaming over 5Mbps.
Today’s announcement should quell accusations from the press that OnLive is vapourware. There has been at least one candid preview of OnLive to date, although OnLive are playing their cards so close to their chest that they requested all screen shots to be removed.
A concern from some gamers is that of title exclusivity. This isn’t a new problem, and OnLive’s press release states that “anticipated” titles include: Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age Origins, Assassin’s Creed II, Prince of Persia The Forgotten Sands, Borderlands and Metro 2033.
Although, anticipation is far from a guarantee.