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The Coolest Thing in Gaming

Too Bad Its Flawed

26
July
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While this years E3 might have focused on the upcoming motion controllers for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, the coolest piece of technology launched was OnLive. For those of you not familiar with OnLive, it is a micro-console and service that uses cloud computing to stream games over the Internet. OnLive eliminates the need for a gaming console, or a top of the line computer. All you need is a television, or a computer that is capable of streaming video. That?s it.

When I first heard about this service my jaw dropped to the floor. A video game console that could fit in my pocket, has unlimited storage, and I can play it on almost any machine in the world. Obviously, this is great for PC gamers, because they don?t need to constantly upgrade the hardware in their machine. However, after further researching the product I became quite disappointed with the features the service had to offer. The service initially was going to cost $14.95 a month, however a promotion with AT&T lowered the initial year to $4.95. This monthly fee is on-top of the $60 price tag for most games, and the initial cost of the console, controllers, etc. Now for a gamer that purchases an average of twelve games a year, the monthly cost is a reasonable premium. However, for someone who plans to only purchase five or six games using OnLive, then the monthly fees start to become a problem. OnLive is going to need to make a decision to either lower the cost of games, or lower their monthly fee, because the price point is way too high at the current time.

In addition to the premium price, I see two fundamental flaws that could impact the success of OnLive. The first is the need for an Internet connection that offers a consistent 5 Mbps download speed. Obviously, this isn?t a problem for most Americans. However, the ?cool? thing about cloud-computing is that you can access your information anywhere in the world, and it?s the same principle with OnLive. I can have all the luxuries of my living room, with me on the road. The problem is that most hotels have horrible Internet connections, making the use of OnLive nearly impossible. So, unless your staying at a luxury hotel every time you travel, then OnLive is not going to be for the gamer on the go. The second fundamental flaw is that OnLive appeals mostly to a PC gamer. Its not to say that traveling with an Xbox is a convenience, but a console doesn?t need upgrading. In order for a PC to play the most top of the line games, it is in constant need of an upgrade. When a consumer buys a console they don?t need to upgrade for at least four years. Thus, an investment in OnLive isn?t as appealing to the console gamer.

While I?m definitely critical of OnLive, I do think it?s a wondering step in the right direction for gaming. If the technology could be perfected so there is no chance of lag, and I could still play on Xbox Live, or the Playstation network then I think they might be on to something. However, at the present time I don?t see the appeal of paying a monthly fee to purchase games I can play on other machines.

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