Wednesday, March 25th 2009

New On-Demand Gaming Platform Threatens to Kill Gaming PC Upgrades

We all regard PC games, as an entertainment medium, but spend hundreds to even thousands of Dollars regularly, to keep our PCs up to date, to be able to play the latest PC games. Imagine a medium that rids us of that, and we are able to consume PC gaming like any other content, like the TV or radio. Well, that the potential a new on-demand gaming platform holds – to make you never have to buy/upgrade a gaming PC again.

Called OnLive, the on-demand platform consists of a web service, an internet connection, and a thin-client, called “micro-console” that connects your input (game controllers), and output (monitor/TV/HDTV). You control the game – whichever you’re subscribed to and playing – the client relays your input to the OnLive servers, that do the processing, including graphics rendering, and send back output to your client. The client then displays the output. Sounds familiar? Cloud computing? Exactly, but for PC gaming. The platform is conceptualized to be advanced-enough to handle any of today’s games, Crysis included. The work-model of this platform is what makes it tick with any game, and is far more future-proof than the present mode of PC gaming (where people own expensive hardware that are in requirement of upgrades, the costs of buying games, buying gaming services separate).

For standard definition television quality, a broadband connection of at least 1.5 megabits per second is required. For HDTV resolution, a connection of at least 5 mbps is needed. The service uses patented algorithms that work to counter lag caused by network constraints. The technology is already gaining attention from major publishers, including EA, THQ, Codemasters, Ubisoft, Atari, Warner Bros., Take-Two, and Epic. People can buy or rent a game to play it, the usage fees are expected not to be much more than the subscription fees for Xbox Live.

Source: Kokatu
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246 Comments on New On-Demand Gaming Platform Threatens to Kill Gaming PC Upgrades

#1
alexp999
Staff
Its not the server ping that would be the problem, its the connection to the server.

Imagine the lag if you're on wireless in the other end of the building to the router, which is connected to an ADSL modem, miles away from the local exchange.

It'd be a nightmare!
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#2
MilkyWay
all they are doing in theory is sending a video to your tv and you are sending the controls back through the internet

in theory this could work client side but at server end theyd need a lot of hardware and the network would get bogged down
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#3
imperialreign
meh . . .

I'd much rather keep my PC - at least I can tweak, adjust, modify my games. Sometimes, being able to modify a game, and play using other user's mods, makes the game really feel like it was worth the $50+


as to the bandwidth caps . . . oh, yeah! We only have two hi-speed providers here, and I can tell you that Cox Communications already caps user's speed, on top of having to deal with their ridiculous latency.

I think this kind of tech can win over the console communities . . . but I doubt it'd really make a dent in the PC gaming communities.
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#4
alexp999
Staff
Thats like what I said earlier, its just an interactive film.

I like amazing graphics cus I'm watching them be generated in real time, but stuff I have spent my hard earned money on.
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#5
Bull Dog
Ping, latency or whatever you want to call it, is going to make this a complete no-go.

On a good day this *might* work for slow games (like some RPGs and MMO games)


The internet is going to have to take a giant leap forward first.
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#6
OnBoard
DrPepper said:
I think this thing would be better as an add on card within a pc. That way we get to keep our rigs and get the benefit of this thing.
If it had PS3 games, I could try a card like that to get a Gran Turismo 5 fix :) It's the consoles you can't upgrade, nor play old games with.
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#7
alexp999
Staff
Bull Dog said:
Ping, latency or whatever you want to call it, is going to make this a complete no-go.

On a good day this *might* work for slow games (like some RPGs and MMO games)


The internet is going to have to take a giant leap forward first.
That reminds me, when I used to play EVE, the lag on that was unbearable at times. And all that had to communicate was the commands!
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#8
blkhogan
I love tinkering with my PC way to much to switch to something like this. Its an expensive hobby to have, but its one of the few I truly enjoy.
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#9
TheMailMan78
Big Member
Here is a hands on "review". Yall are welcome :D
The goal was to free up users from the bane of hardware requirements, providing a hassle-free option for PC gamers. The service will carry a subscription cost, and members will have the option of renting or purchasing the available games. Nearly every major publisher has signed on, with one notable exception being Activison Blizzard.

It sounds like one giant leap forward for PC gaming on paper, but many were skeptical of the technology following the announcement, thinking that the inevitable lag would result in an inferior gaming experience. After getting my hands on the thing, I can report that OnLive mostly works as advertised--but a few flaws may hold it back from being a home run.

The OnLive interface itself is as slick in motion as it looks in a screenshot, and the "Brag" replay feature and spectator modes worked as well as they claimed. But who cares about that stuff? I wanted to play a game, and see whether this thing lived up to the hype.

With several options to choose from, I eventually settled on BioShock--it being a game of high visual quality, and also a first-person shooter, which would give me a decent sense of the response time. Loading the title up, I at first had no sense the game was being streamed to the small PC laptop next to me. Menu response was fast, and 2K Boston's gem looked as it should.

But unfortunately, the illusion faded along with the loading screen. Once I was in the game itself, I immediately noticed the unwelcome signs of blocky compression. It wasn't so compressed that it was entirely distracting from the gameplay, but it was also worse than I expected. The visual quality was high, but the experience was marred by the considerable amount of splotchy pixels.

Playing around in Rapture, I found that response-time lag was mostly unnoticeable--mostly. When turning quickly, there were disappointing moments of hitching here and there. It was an impressive technical accomplishment, but at the same time unquestionably inferior to playing from a disc.

I asked OnLive representatives whether the connection at GDC was indicative of the optimal connection experience, and they replied in the affirmative. They stressed that three OnLive connections have been run on a single 6mbps Comcast connection in their tests, but I wondered whether any of that mattered.

Gaming has been firmly planted in the HD era for several years now, and most gamers are surely accustomed to seeing low pings in Counter-Strike at this point. While some people out there may not mind playing Crysis with a few blocky pixels and a couple hitches here and there, I'm not sure those same people were the sort interested in playing Crysis to begin with.

So while OnLive is truly an amazing piece of technology, it is also an imperfect solution. It may represent the future of PC gaming, but the visual and lag issues, subscription cost, online-only nature of the product and other caveats will hold it back from being an immediate no-brainer.

The service mainly delivers on its key features, and looks like an exciting option for those tired of constant hardware upgrads. But based on my demonstration--and as someone that demands the highest quality presentation of most games--I'd rather put the subscription cost toward an upgrade of my Nvidia card.

Developed in secret across the past seven years, OnLive's service will launch this fall.





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#10
ascstinger
so instead of paying tons of cash for my rig (and making something unique), now you can buy one of these boxes and pay all that cash for a good enough ISP instead :p
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#11
TheMailMan78
Big Member
In Soviet interwebz, games play you.
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#12
alexp999
Staff
I immediately noticed the unwelcome signs of blocky compression...the experience was marred by the considerable amount of splotchy pixels...unquestionably inferior to playing from a disc
= FAIL
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#13
CDdude55
Crazy 4 TPU!!!
ascstinger said:
so instead of paying tons of cash for my rig (and making something unique), now you can buy one of these boxes and pay all that cash for a good enough ISP instead :p
You only need one of those boxes for the TV(Microconsole), it comes with only an HDMI port on it but they said you may use a converter for SDTV's. If your using your OnLive account on a PC you don't need that box, its instead a plugin.
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#14
LiNKiN
Staff
Great idea and alternative for the softcore pc gamer who does not want to mess with upgrades. I sense a lot of negativity in this thread towards this idea. Actually it could help the PC Gaming market. It may pull in more game developers. I really doubt, for the immediate future, that it would "kill gaming pc upgrades". It may however light a fire under the arses of the two major graphics card makers to get more innovative with their products and release schedules.
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#15
Marineborn
TheMailMan78 said:
In Soviet interwebz, games play you.
LOL!!! love it, to quote....a cartoon...in soviet russia..car drives you..anyhow

i see major problems, dsl it no gonna be able to push this, alot of people are not gonna wanna play for that 1.5mb line, im pretty sure one of there precausiongs if you start to lag is that the visual quality of the game decreases kinda like streaming netflix to your computer or tv from your 360, all this crap i would rather have my leet computer and play my game and be able to mod it and have all the fun.
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#16
Random Murderer
The Anti-Midas
unfortunately, in order to have smooth gameplay, most people will need to significantly upgrade their internet bandwidth, and since that is a recurring monthly cost, you'd probably just be better off spending the money on a beefy computer/parts.
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#18
ShadowFold
"The Beginning of the End."
God dammit this sucks.
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#19
LiNKiN
Staff
ShadowFold said:
"The Beginning of the End."
God dammit this sucks.
Why are you so worried? As long as upgrades are being bought as well as the conventional means of game purchases, why would they bail out on that pot of gold?
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#20
Random Murderer
The Anti-Midas
ShadowFold said:
"The Beginning of the End."
God dammit this sucks.
fortunately, this will probably be the end of consoles and not pc.
pc gaming cannot be replaced. consoles have been the biggest threat to pc gaming, and look at how many people do both or are pc-only.
honestly, i see this as just another console. the hardcore gamer will stick with pc, while the people who have a console that want to play pc-only games but don't want to sink $1000 or more in a top of the line system will settle for one of these.
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#21
ShadowFold
LiNKiN said:
Why are you so worried? As long as upgrades are being bought as well as the conventional means of game purchases, why would they bail out on that?
Because the reason I like PC games over console games is the graphical and framerate quality. I can't stand anything under 50fps.. I doubt this thing could push out 1920x1080 8x AA and still pump out 50-60fps solid like my rig can :ohwell:

And if you think no one is going to jump on it.. Just wait until all the console people start seeing that they can play Crysis.....
Posted on Reply
#22
LiNKiN
Staff
ShadowFold said:
Because the reason I like PC games over console games is the graphical and framerate quality. I can't stand anything under 50fps.. I doubt this thing could push out 1920x1080 8x AA and still pump out 50-60fps solid like my rig can :ohwell:

And if you think no one is going to jump on it.. Just wait until all the console people start seeing that they can play Crysis.....
You missed my point completely. As long as you and I keep buying our upgrades and there is a market for pc gaming, it wont go away. :)
Posted on Reply
#23
farlex85
ShadowFold said:
Because the reason I like PC games over console games is the graphical and framerate quality. I can't stand anything under 50fps.. I doubt this thing could push out 1920x1080 8x AA and still pump out 50-60fps solid like my rig can :ohwell:

And if you think no one is going to jump on it.. Just wait until all the console people start seeing that they can play Crysis.....
As long as people are willing to pay for something, it will continue to sell. This will not completely replace what we have now (if it succeeds at all) until it can indeed provide an equivalent visual experience to gaming rigs, b/c if it doesn't, there will still be a demand for gaming rigs, thus they will still be sold. When network constraints allow perhaps it could do even better than your rig could, and much cheaper. ;)
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#24
ShadowFold
I guess you guys are right, I just don't like the idea at all. It's just getting me worried..
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#25
LiNKiN
Staff
Look at it this way, maybe it will take off and maybe it won't. Change is inevitable. I will be happy when my childhood dream of my own personal Holodeck Gaming System is released. :D
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