During this weeks Game Developers Conference (GDC), the OnLive Game Service was unveiled. OnLive provides the user the ability to play games by servers streaming the gameplay to a set-top box or PC in your home, eliminating the use of physical media. With partners such as EA, Codemasters, Epic and Ubisoft, the service is set to launch this December.
Looking at the current trend of digital distribution of games and movies and the wish of the publishers looking at a way to eliminate piracy, etc., OnLive or future competitors is undoubtedly where gaming is headed and has inherent benefits such as never having to upgrade a system or worrying about it breaking down (i.e. RROD).
But is this technology, at a quality to satisfy gamers really almost upon us? The connection required for the service to stream gameplay data at 720p is about 5 Mb/sec. A consistent connection of this speed is not common, not to mention a large amount of the population is not even connected to the internet. I kind of have gotten used to playing in HD, 480p won’t cut it! Other potential issues game latency, ownership, IP bandwidth/download limits, bypassing retail for games, etc., may prove that such technology is not ready for primetime.
Myself, I’m not only skeptical of the quality that OnLive will provide (will it even be available in Canada???) , but personally, at this point in time, I’m still attached to physical media whether it’s games, movies, magazines, whatever. I like have the package in my hands, on my shelf and not having to worry about a server going down and not being able to play when I want to play.
It will be interesting to see if the next Xbox or Playstation will be a disc based system, use servers or both?