Gamers, what's your take on OnLive?

This is the streaming video game thing that was revealed, I think, last year? Anyway, I guess it is finally going live this June and I’m wondering what you all think of it.

I’m curious to see how it performs in real life with 1000’s of people playing at the same time. I’m not sure how you could have, say, 5000 people all playing Crysis at max resolution off the same server without it going kaput. I also wonder how they will handle twitch games that require instant execution of your controller inputs. I can’t imagine playing SF4 or God of War where my controller inputs have to travel so far, and back, before being realized on my screen.

What do you think?

There’s been a beta running for a while now. Apparently for non twitch games it seems to work ok in terms of latency issues. But the verdict (for the beta at least) is that it’s not going to work very well with some types of games such as FPS, fighting games, etc. Anything requiring that latency to be very small.

Another issue is that the performance is going to be variable. It will depend on the quality of your internet service, the distance to their closes server farm, etc. I really don’t know how they are going to pull this off. As you yourself mentioned, how are they going to handle the type of processing requirements of thousands of high end games?

Some of the testers have also mentioned that the graphics are nothing to write home about. Apparently, settings are lowered compared to a decent computer, and sometimes even lower than what can be found on consoles.

Once they have the TV dongle thing going it might be competition for casual gamers, and maybe some console gamers. 720p and low end graphics + no ability to mod the games and no control over them will not attract many serious PC gamers, that’s for sure. It’s even more locked down and low end than consoles. 720p might look ok on a TV, but not on a monitor.

I want this to work. I want this to work badly. But I’m very skeptical.

Graphic fidelity doesn’t really matter to me but latency issues do, and I just don’t see how they’re going to be able to overcome those reliably. Strategy games, RPG’s and Adventure style games will probably be ok but I can’t see playing anything where reflexes matter.

I just don’t see it as being very viable for anything other than slow-paced games, as was mentioned. I live in Japan, and while my connection is great (100mbps fiber optics) there are occasional latency issues even when I play xbox live with friends in America, especially if we’re talking a lot. I don’t see how having to receive everything from a server farm would be viable at all

The proposed payment plan doesn’t sound promising either. It would be $15 a month with no games. You’d have to purchase or rent the games separately.

Kinthalis is right and this is a major hurdle for me personally. Given the nature of the service I know it’s irreconcilable, but I have a problem with paying separately for a game that I can’t access without a monthly fee. Call me old fashioned. :stuck_out_tongue:

What is the advantage of this over something like Gamefly, where you get the actual disks as if you’d bought them yourself and latency isn’t an issue? Seems the Gamefly pricing structure is cheaper too…

I don’t understand what you mean here.

With Live there is no need for a console of any kind. No hardware. You can theoretically play on a $200 netbook or on your TV via some small device which is essentially a network adapter, controller input, video output donggle. The question remains - will it be compelling enough, will it even work well enough for most consumers - or will you have to be within 50 miles of their data centers?

Yes, I don’t think this is technically feasible for most games. Even if you had a very good connection and something like a rock solid 60ms ping, that’s huge. It’s great in multiplayer games because your system is interpreting player position based on what they were doing until it gets new information, then it smoothly incorporates that new information. But all the processing is done locally, your inputs are never delayed (even if, depending on how the net code is configured, you aren’t quite where you think you are according to the server at any given time). But we’re talking about having a 60ms lag between any input you make and the response on the screen. It sounds minor - but it would be easily noticible to anyone used to any game that required responsiveness. It would feel sluggish and … off. Plus it’ll be low resolution and even beyond that the video will have to be compressed - which both adds to latency and lowers the quality of output.

Quite frankly, I don’t understand the appeal. I quite like having the machine processing my gaming being 2 feet to my right, instantly responding to me, giving me uncompressed, high resolution graphics, not sputtering to momentary problems with my internet connection. This is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. And I hope something like this doesn’t take off because it just seems like a massively inefficient way to manage data - if millions of people used this thing, we’d be clogging up the internet bandwidth with something that could and should be done at the end user.

You can usually pay for a decent (not top end) gaming PC which is about 20 to 30% of a office PC (you just need a better graphic card). I wonder what’s the appeal.

I meant, a gaming PC is about 20% to 30% more than an office PC; sorry that my sentence isn’t clear.

It seemed like a good idea when I first heard of it but, I kind of like having my computer do all the work. Some of the fun of gaming comes from using your computer to its fullest potential.

Plus, I have a shitty wireless connection.

The strange thing is if you go to their comment page, you would find lots of people expressing delight at the service. I wonder if they are seeing something that we don’t, or perhaps if they are a different demographics all together.

chances are they’re a different demographic or they just haven’t thought it through completely. The service sounds good on paper, and it might prove itself, but I just don’t see it being feasible with the average connection in America (cause the damn infrastructure there has lagged behind so badly. I’m in Japan sitting pretty with a 100mbps fios to my door :D)

That is impressive infrastructure. My door isn’t even on dial up yet.

Internet in Japan is amazing. I was in Shiodome (Tokyo) with 100mpbs until last year, and man, it was -blazing- fast. Rock solid to boot. Best internet experience I’ve ever had. Plus it was free (technically speaking it was part of my monthly management fee).

I’m with Virgin here in London and it’s pretty good, but not as good as it was in Tokyo. I hadn’t heard of OnLive yet, but looks interesting - might have to try it out.

Latency isnt a big deal as some make it out to be. I play online games with 150ms or so latency and its not a dealbreaker.

According to the onlive page you’ll need a 5mbps connection to do HD streaming. They dont recommend using wifi either. That’s quite a bit of bandwidth. I’d be more worried about hitting a transfer cap (comcast is 250gigs) than anything else.

I doubt it’ll have any of the response we’re used to and the video will be horribly compressed, but for casual players who dont play twitch FPS games, it might be doable. There’s a market out there for people who want to play PC games, but dont want to install a 600watt ps and a $150 dollar video card in their desktop (if they even own a desktop).

See what I said in post 9. The latency you play online games at is nothing at all like what we’re talking about. Having a 150ms ping to an internet server means it takes a while to get updates about where the players, objects in the world, etc. are. But your computer integrates them smoothly into the world - there’s lag prediction and other things to make things seem smoother to you. But the important part is - your game is still responding to you instantly. You move your mouse left, you turn left, instantly. In that scenario, you move your mouse left, and you don’t actually see yourself turning left for 150ms. It’s more like when you’re playing a console game on a TV or entertainment center that uses some sort of video processing that delays the signal, and being totally thrown off by the fact that your actions are happening later than you input them - only worse because it’s not as stable.

I’m pretty sure OnLive claimed the lag is no more than 80ms, roundtrip. I was at their GDC panel, and that’s what I remember hearing.

Yeah, I was just using his 150ms number. I’m not sure they can guarantee a latency better than that, but if they have data centers all over the place it’s possible. 80ms is still enough time to cause disorientation and I certainly personally have no interest in that kind of experience.

Incidentally, how are games paid for? If it was a flat rate of “pay us X per month and play any game in our library” I could start to see the appeal (even if the downsides were too great for me to consider it) - is that how it works?