NA Onlive

Pax Prime 2011: Hands on OnLive… The Future of Gaming?

OnLive has a huge presence here at PAX. While onlive has been around for a while now most people have little to no clue what onlive is or what magic it brings to the table. The idea behind onlive is a bold one, cloud gaming. This means that your “virtual console” gives you the ability to play games without the use of a proper console. Wizardy you say!! onlive is the first company to really attempt cloud-console gaming and in theory its a great idea. Imagine not having to own an Xbox to play Gears of War, or a PS3 to play Uncharted… OnLive is looking to break the mold, and we love rule-breakers. Now it’s not just hocus-pocus, the console version of onlive requires a special piece of hardware (smaller than a bread-box) that they were actually giving away here at PAX en masse. This all sounds amazing… and then I got to play it.

Is it worth it? The controller felt solid enough and resembled a strange amalgam of both the Xbox and PS3 controller. onlive boasts about 100 different games with more being added daily. I booted up (edit) Street Fighter 4 and instantly noticed that the visuals were a bit muted, almost as if I was watching a high res internet video version of the game. Not good. Next, I discovered that onlive suffers from some major lag issues that made playing a precision game like Street Fighter 4 next to impossible. Also not good. Two things that modern games require are solid visuals and precision controls. Street Fighter 4 was next to impossible to play and simple moves, such as the Ryu fireball became a real challenge.

Cloud gaming may in fact be the future, but until OnLive can correct these issues you’re better off playing the real thing.

  • Warren

    OnLive has been out for over a year now and you’re just now trying it out? And we’re supposed to take your review seriously? That’s laughable.

  • Warren

    And you incorrectly claim it requires a special piece of hardware, it does not. Try getting your facts straight before you try to be cute with your ondead play on words nonsense.

  • If OnLive has been out for over a year, and there’s lag with a discernible graphics difference from current consoles, it makes me feel a bit skeptical. I’d wonder how this experience is different in the home or on a computer from the experience at a demo both on the show floor.

    If the premise is a smaller hardware footprint (or no hardware at all) and no discs to manage then maybe that’s the tradeoff. It also seems that some of the pricing is more comparable to PC pricing, along with subscription and rental options too.

    Record collectors scoffed at CDs, and CD collectors scoffed at the Cloud. Who knows how it’s all going to go down. Although I wonder how the seemingly unstoppable onset of bandwidth tiering and throttling in the home will impact services like these. Seems like only time will tell.

    • NA

      Playing onlive on the PC does not require hardware whereas playing console games does . Here is a link to the hardware discussed in the article http://www.onlive.com/game-system

    • Warren

      “I’d wonder how this experience is different in the home”

      Why are you wondering? Why don’t you try it for yourself right now? You don’t have to be at PAX, you don’t have to have a microconsole.

  • NA

    Warren – we’re sorry if our look at onlive rubbed you the wrong way.  We were simply restating what was told to us by the folks that worked the booth. My experience wasn’t entirely negative and I think with a great internet connection it could work quite well. Have a great PAX. 

    • Warren

      “onlive requires a special piece of hardware”

      How ’bout you correct that statement?