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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

The OnLive Desktop

Posted by BillMurphy Saturday January 14 2012 at 9:45AM
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When is OnLive going to be a game-playing system on the iPad and Android devices?  It's only a matter of time, right? The basics are available on Androids with iOS devices coming soon, but how long until we have the entire host of games and latest releases available to us?

If you guys aren't familiar with the service, OnLive is a game streaming subscription (and purchasing) platform that allows you to literally stream games over your broadband connect to play them.  No downloads, no hard-drive space taken up, and all the system resources are handled via the remote servers so a Netbook can suddenly play something like Crysis.  It's an extremely promising and quickly growing service.  You can even spend about $100 on a TV adapter so that you don't need to sit in front of your PC.  It effectively puts the industry's best and brightest games at your finger-tips without the cost of a console or gaming PC attached.  For less than the cost of you MMO subscription, you can play a host of stellar titles, buy access to them permanently (or at a minimum of three years as some games might stop being supported after a length of time) for 30% off, and you still never have to worry about system specs or dowloads or any of that.  All you need is a solid internet connection.  It's something I'd recommend to anyone who likes to try a lot of games without te investment of paying $50-$60 each time.

So it was with great interest that I downloaded to try out the OnLive Desktop App this week.  Basically a fully-functional Windows Desktop with some of the basic MS Office applications pre-installed, I was a little underwhelmed by what's currently available on the remote desktop itself.  I mean, I have Pages already on my iPad, so for writing I'm not sure I'd need the OnLive Desktop.  But then it hit me... they're streaming a Windows OS to people for free... to potentially millions of people for free.  You don't need a paid subscription to use this, just an iPad/tablet and a free account.  In time, OnLive will undoubtedly install more and more functionality onto the thin client they're using now.  

Heck, it's only on the iPad now, but it's coming to Androids and even the PC, Macs, and TVs soon.  With 2GB of free cloud space and a suite of Office apps, it's probably the most secure document management system you'll find for zero cost.  If I didn't already have Pages, I might not have downloaded it.  And what's more is that using OnLive Desktop I'll be able to access my documents from anywhere so long as I remember to use the Desktop to store them to the cloud.  

This post was kind of rambling and inessential... I just wanted to share with you my thoughts on how quickly "the cloud" seems to be becoming a part of our lives.  And it makes me wonder what the future holds for gaming in general.  How long will it be before the rigs I enjoy building are no longer a necessity?  

fenistil writes:

Not so excited about cloud computing tbh.


It is ancient Idea dating itself to 70-80's and Unix system.


Sure I can see it's uses, but in my own house I prefer having control, performance and reliability of my own PC.


Not to mention to avoid total monopoly of one OnLive company that would feed me all my content, programms,etc

Sat Jan 14 2012 10:48AM Report
Baowoulf writes: I'd have to agree with fenistil. I'm not excited about cloud computing either. I think it definitely has it's uses, but the way people act like it's going to be this huge thing which replaces are need for computers and game systems at home is bs. I don't want to give up my PC or the control of what's on my PC and game systems. Something that isn't in the owner's control isn't 100% reliable. Because the only person you can stop from doing something stupid that might disrupt your game time is yourself. And even then if you screw something up you still have somewhat of an idea of what you did so asking for help is most likely faster as well. Also last time I heard of OnLive the graphics were not the best. They weren't subpar(crappy?) but they were I think medium quality probably to keep things stable and not to overload things. Sat Jan 14 2012 12:27PM Report
Baowoulf writes: Sorry about my previous comment having no spaces. From the box above where I copied it from it looked like I had spaces but I guess when I pasted it they were taken out. Sat Jan 14 2012 12:28PM Report
AutemOx writes:

How the heck could you play games remotely without some seriously slow response times?  Maybe an RPG but an FPS really??

Sat Jan 14 2012 12:48PM Report
Brenelael writes:

I'm a Founding Member of the original On-Live service and even though I was very skeptical at first coming from a background of networking and programming I was quite surprised at how well the srvice works. I can see a definate future for this service especially in the smaller mobile device market. My fellow posters above seem to totally miss the point of this particular service...

You can have a Windows Desktop with preinstalled Office apps anywhere on any device! This will be huge as it will be the only way you're going to have Office or even basic Windows on an iPad or Android devices.

With smaller portable computing devices becoming more and more mainstream Cloud Computing is going to be a big part of the future of computing. Yes, Cloud Computing has been around since the days of the DARPA Net but it's advanced quite a bit since those days. Back then the networking technology made what you could do with it very limited. Now with advances in the associated tech Cloud Computing is poised to take over the future of computing.



Sat Jan 14 2012 4:49PM Report
redpins writes:

You opened Pandora's box to the hackers, scammers, and entitlement mentality crowds. Sure, 1 person can spend the $60 for the game, share it, the On LIVE takes their fee, and you get shafted by some 7 year olds in another state or even in Russia.

Sure it sounds darn good to the founding members or stock holders, another money sink in which to dig deep into the pockets of both developers and users a like. No negative feedback would be given by someone who has invested time and money into the idea. So sure, ask a dictionary salesman if his dictionary is good, you will get the same long winded answer.

I won't buy into the stupidity of the idea, unless I can validate that I as a developer would make money. The straight answer is really NO only On Live makes the big buck. Any validation other than the mindless drones that bought into it, or developed it about how it would actually be beneficial for either side? Sure, it is good for the cheap gamer, the one on a budget who is obsessed with saving money.

Like how netflix took down blockbuster and now is dying out to piracy, On Live seems to be taking the same road. No this isn't a forecast or doom and gloom post, it's to make sure you know that Netflix said and did similar trying to "innovate" the business but yet ended up shafting everyone that used it.

Enter mindless drone's response that completely makes no logical sense other than trying to convince 2 users out of their cash to try the service.

Sat Jan 14 2012 7:50PM Report
thekid1 writes:

Loading a webpage sometimes seems to take forever when not on Wifi. I don't see what the point is in having Onlive on a mobile device.

Sat Jan 14 2012 9:19PM Report
Brenelael writes:

What the hell are you talking about redpins? Your post doesn't make a whole lot of sense. All 'Founding Member' means is someone who was on the service since the early beta. It doesn't mean that I own stock in the company or anything like that. The only privilege Founding Members get really is no extra fees ever. All we have to pay is game fees(To rent or buy a game).

As for the rest of your post is shows a lack of basic knowledge about how these services work. No one shares anything with anyone else on the On-Live service. The only copy of the software is on the On-Live servers. The only way anyone could get 'hacked' is if the servers themselves were hacked and that is a risk you take with any online service including every MMO out there.

I'm really not sure what you're on about because as I said before your post doesn't make a whole lot of sense.



Sat Jan 14 2012 10:02PM Report
BarCrow writes:

Yeah. Founding members got in for free. When I heard about the service I signed up. When it went live I got free access with no fee. I think they since did away with fees and you pay for game rentals or ownership only tho I may be wrong.No investment. I too am a founder so i do pop on from time to time and watch others playing soem gaming Big I've also done quite a few demos and I tell looks and works great imo. The screen are not as crisp as they may be straight from your HD or console DVD but they still look great and never experienced any considerable lag.

Sun Jan 15 2012 11:19AM Report
Quizzical writes:

Here we go again.  Onlive is still an idea that sounds kind of nice at first glance, but is nearly impossible to make it work well enough to have a point.  Maybe Onlive could be good once we get sufficient bandwidth that ISPs don't care if you use several terabytes per month.  Or maybe it would have to wait for faster-than-light data transfer.  But neither of those are on the horizon.

Cloud computing has its uses.  Gaming just isn't one of them.  Onlive can't compete in image quality with modern integrated graphics, and is nearly guaranteed to only fall further behind as time passes.  And that's even ignoring the crippling latency and bandwidth problems.

If you want to get Windows on a tablet, then just get Windows on a tablet.  MSI and Acer will gladly sell you such tablets.  That will let you run nearly all of your normal Windows programs natively on the tablet, and run basically everything except for games better than Onlive could.

Also consider that if this turns into a way for people to get Windows without buying a license, Microsoft will change their EULA and shut it down.  If you have to pay $100 for a Windows license to use Onlive, in addition to whatever you have to pay Onlive, then suddenly that's not such a great deal anymore, is it?

Now, what might make sense is to have a game running on your desktop, and stream it from there to your tablet.  That gets you far more bandwidth than having the game rendered remotely, and much lower latency, so it might be possible to make it work pretty well.  But my understanding is that Onlive doesn't try to do this.

Sun Jan 15 2012 4:01PM Report
adam_nox writes:

Most people won't be able to connect within the next 10 years with a stable enough connection at sub 60ms pings.  Unfortunately that's what's required to play most games and not get infuriated.

And 3g and 4g services will possibly ban this type of usage, not to mention that their ping times and reliability are 100x worse than home internet connections.

Sun Jan 15 2012 5:14PM Report
Xondar123 writes:

I like the technological pessimists above me. Yeah, and the world's totally gonna end this year, so why bother with OnLive?

Mon Jan 16 2012 6:31AM Report writes:
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