Rather good new that makes me rather sad....


Earlier today while watching G4s coverage of GDC 09 they were interviewing a spokesperson about a new product called OnLive.
For those that don't know as I didn't earlier today what this is, is a small device that plugs into your computer and allow you to play games on an online service. Whats unusual about the device is that the games are run on a server system and only a streamed video goes to your computer. This means theoretically you'd be able to play a game like Crysis Warhead on maxed everything on a cheap walmart computer, with a moderatly good internet connection. Rumors say that it will cost less than a Wii and have a monthly fee comparable to Xbox Live.

While I find this an amazing concept I'm a bit depressed. A few years ago this would have me foaming at the mouth and laughing in triump at the potential blow to the console industry but now it just makes me sad.

Now though, a year and a half from building my first computer and my first plunge into overclocking I find myself hoping that this project will fail miserably. Not because I think that I've wasted my money now but it feels like my pc gaming experience will be less fun now. I enjoy pushing my system to play better games until the overclock becomes unstable or overheats. I enjoy adding a new part or uprading a part and then pushing that one even farther. I find I enjoy it almost as much as most games but now it seems like it will become pointless to do this if I can just play all the games maxed out with this service if its this affordable.


Am I crazy?


Techgage Staff
Staff member
To me, that sounds like renting a computer, except worse. Why would I pay any kind of monthly fee just to use their service and play their game, when I can save more by building a computer up front and running it locally? Even if you rented a computer, eventually you get to keep the computer (after paying 2-3x the original price). For this, you just pay for access rights.

To use their service, should you ever stop paying you suddenly lose access to all your games with them. Buying into a permanent monthly fee cycle just to keep playing games you own or bought doesn't seem right. Also Steam shares quite a few simularities here... but anyone that uses Steam knows how stable their network is. Every week I notice their friends network goes down a few times during prime time, or just before. Even if I was remotely inclined, I'm not going to pay a monthly fee for a service that doesn't guarantee 24/7 stable access.


Tech Junkie
ur not crazzy! lol! i build my new PC last yr and nothing thrills me more than to upgrade my parts wen they 'run out of steam to play games on Max.' i cant wait to start overclocking too!

Rob Williams

Staff member
I meant to respond to this before, but forgot. Truth is, I have so much to say about this, that it'd exceed the word count allowed in a post, so I don't really want to talk about it now. I'd like to get an interview with these guys though, because I have a whack of questions I'd like to ask them. From what I've seen (I'm still working through the hour-long keynote), it's an impressive product, but... it has a long list of caveats as well.

Here's a quick list of what I see as a pro and con here:

Quick access to a wide-variety of games.
"Instant" load times... no worrying about patches.
Simple product installation.
No large console beside your TV... just a box the size of a remote (excludes the PC service).
Ability to pause a game anywhere and pick it up months later at the same spot.

You never really "own" the game, because if this service ever failed, you'd have nothing. It's in the air.
No hacking... with no access to the game itself, you couldn't play around or mod it. WYSIWYG.
Inability to crank the graphics. You'd be fixed to 1280x720 and whatever settings OnLive would set.
Bandwidth... at 5Mbit/s for HD gaming, that's 2.25GB an hour. Those with low bandwidth caps lose.
Subscription fee. Imagine buying a game, and then to play it months down the road, you'd have to sign back up to their service. Ouch.

I could go on forever about this, and I might actually write an article based around OnLive and other solutions. The subject is great for conversation though, and it will be mighty interesting to see where OnLive goes with this.