OnLive game service to launch on June 17 in the US for $15 a month

Speaking in an interview with MCV, OnLive Chief Operating Officer Mike McGarvey has confirmed a launch date of June 17 in the United States, with PC and Mac support included day one.

Subscriptions for the cloud-based service will cost $14.95 per month with games from THQ, Ubisoft and Electronic Arts being available at launch. Some of the titles include Assassin’s Creed II, Metro 2033, and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands.

"We’re very pleased with the degree of publisher support received to date and have seen a rise in publisher interest in the OnLive Game Service as their focus begins shifting dramatically toward digital distribution," said McGarvey.

"Individual titles will be available for purchase or rental on an a la carte basis. Specific game pricing, including rentals, purchases and loyalty programs, will be announced prior to the consumer launch event at E3."

"We’ll also be announcing additional loyalty and discount programs for consumers in the coming months."

The promised micro console for TV use will not be available when the service launches in June.

A European release date has yet to be announced.

OnLive is a gaming-on-demand game platform, first announced at the 2009 Game Developers Conference. The service is a gaming equivalent of cloud computing, allowing users with a low-end computer the ability to play graphic intensive games. A 1.5 Mbps connection will be required to display games in SDTV resolution (typical output of the Wii) while 4-5 Mbps will be needed for HDTV resolution, such as those output by the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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Just like many other things, location, location, location. This would be a two way sync issue, "if" your pings are steady, and "if" your pings are low, and "if" the software/hardware is as fast as it can be, then it could work out at best as 2x the lag of any same online type game with the same connection rate and lag. But we shall see.

Sounds like running games on a Citrix type farm...

Regarding resouce, I'd bet their environment is virtualised, meaning they get every bit of resource from each physical server. A medium sized company with 500 staff can happily run 60 servers on 3 physical boxes - including SQL, Exchange and Citrix etc... Start off with 100 physical boxes and employ a VDI / XenDesktop based solution with the ability for the hypervisor to access the GPU and your sorted.

Biggest challange won't be encoding graphics or anything at the datacentre, it will be users who can't understand the difference between connection speed and connection lag. Also it will be congestion at the backend of the ISP's networks.

Many companies - including my own - struggle with Citrix based solutions outside of the firewall due to the crap infrastructure used for broadband - at least in the UK. No QoS, no guarenteed performance, oversold connectivity and nobody to talk to about resolving issues...

Be interesting to see how it pans out, and I'd also be very interested to see what infrastructure they are running in their datacentres to deliver the service...!

If I want to play Crisis they'll need a PC at their end to run that game on, so if 100,000 people want to play it, then....

Flash games and PopCap releases is all I see from this, probably won't run anything better than a web browser can.

Nobody is going to pay $15 for this service. You can buy games for that amount of money and newer title for couple of those subscriptions.

Cloud Computing is the stupidest idea every IT came up with.

What about bandwidth limitation and ISP Caps? Some crazy ISP do offer fast Internet connection, but the faster they go, the lower the cap is....

Streaming games like that will take a toll on bandwidth limitation big time. I smell monthly overcharge from some ISP for heavy OnLive usage...

My god, some of the comments here are really dozy. If this was my site I'd be banning anyone who rushes in to type "FAIL", because most of those people don't what they're typing "fail" to.

Lamp0 said,
My god, some of the comments here are really dozy. If this was my site I'd be banning anyone who rushes in to type "FAIL", because most of those people don't what they're typing "fail" to.

the amount of pre-FAIL comments is because while OnLive indeed can work as expected but, very few persons trust on their isp provider. It is not the same to transmit +/- 256kbps (game online) versus >2mbps in Onlive, not at least for the ISP.

Magallanes said,

the amount of pre-FAIL comments is because while OnLive indeed can work as expected but, very few persons trust on their isp provider. It is not the same to transmit +/- 256kbps (game online) versus >2mbps in Onlive, not at least for the ISP.

Fair point. I generally just hate the over usage of "fail". It makes me just want to blow their head in with a shotgun.

It won't work. The latency in the controls will be unbearable, and I don't want to go back to SD to play games like Assassin's Creed 2 when I have an Xbox 360 and a HDTV in my room already.

what said,
It won't work. The latency in the controls will be unbearable, and I don't want to go back to SD to play games like Assassin's Creed 2 when I have an Xbox 360 and a HDTV in my room already.


they have stated in the live demos the latemcy is not that big of an issue with how ther system works and if you was for example to use the micro console unit and ther game pad or any K/M it be fine but this also depends on where your located. go to youtube or game trailers to watch some live demos

here is GDC 09s live coverage full presentation 54min http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGdecNDDr9g GameSpot @ GDC 09: OnLive Full Press Conference

Edited by notuptome2004, Mar 11 2010, 11:57am :

Live demos where the server is behind the wall, yes. You cannot control a game hosted hundreds of miles away from a controller over the internet, and then have the video sent back to you, without huge amounts of latency.

what said,
Live demos where the server is behind the wall, yes. You cannot control a game hosted hundreds of miles away from a controller over the internet, and then have the video sent back to you, without huge amounts of latency.


no the server was not behind the wall but was 50+ miles away

Well they have already got many developers onboard with this for 1 big Reason just like Apple giving 70% of the money made from Apps and games on the iphone/touch Development onlive lets 90% or more of the money go to the Developers and cuts out the middle men.

also while it depends on your connection they did state several times in the Live demos that prove it all works because they built a new infostrrcure for it not all areas will work well with OnLive

The middle man being the publisher, right? If I was a developer, I'd like that. I wouldn't want to have a name like 2K on my game.

KSib said,
The middle man being the publisher, right? If I was a developer, I'd like that. I wouldn't want to have a name like 2K on my game.

No the middle man being the retailers.

I think this us a stupid idea. With the money you would pay to use that service you would mind as well by a video card or a gaming computer... Why dose it seem these days companies have run all out of ideas?

The concept of cloud computing may be intuitive to people over 40, but no one is going to want to pay 100% a month for 20 mbps internet, just to play a console in crap quality.

Hold on a second. So I have to pay 15 bucks a month to have the "rights" to rent orbuy games (in other words pay extra for this)? What do I get out of my 15 bucks/month? nutting? No games bundled with the 15 bucks?

If I pay Gamefly I get a "given" number of games a week that I can rent. With Onlive service, besides the dubious claims it works, I still would have to pay more. no no no no. Not for me.

xUnix said,
Hold on a second. So I have to pay 15 bucks a month to have the "rights" to rent orbuy games (in other words pay extra for this)? What do I get out of my 15 bucks/month? nutting? No games bundled with the 15 bucks?

If I pay Gamefly I get a "given" number of games a week that I can rent. With Onlive service, besides the dubious claims it works, I still would have to pay more. no no no no. Not for me.

It seems to be marketed at people who have underpowered computer hardware, and gaming was an afterthought. It is 15 bucks/month because the games are rendered and controller input passes through a server computer that streams the video over the internet to the end user. Thus, making the end user's computer hardware (for the most part) irrelevant.

You never ever have to upgrade your PC/Console just to play the latest games. I believe they will also send you hardware for free in order to use the service.

ekw said,
You never ever have to upgrade your PC/Console just to play the latest games. I believe they will also send you hardware for free in order to use the service.

not there is not hardware, this is sold separately.

i definitely dont see this working for first person shooters and they shouldn't even bother trying to release it in australia with our data limits

omgbomb said,
i definitely dont see this working for first person shooters and they shouldn't even bother trying to release it in australia with our data limits

They haven't set or mentioned a release date for Australia though if it did, it could be possiblely be unmetered like some major games available on Steam (Bigpond, Internode etc). But yea, I don't think this would really work out, probs a last resort for those with crappy computers to play some of the newer and more recent titles.

Shadrack said,
I'll believe it when I see it. Prediction: lots of complaints about laggy controls.

I can't wait for this to finally come out so it can quickly fail and disappear.

mrp04 said,
I can't wait for this to finally come out so it can quickly fail and disappear.

You make it sound like OnLive killed your puppy! If anything, OnLive is an experiment that could potentially have huge benefits to gamers if it works; and even if it doesn't, someone had to try it.

Whats the difference between this and something like GameTap other than newer releases? I don't know, I guess I hope it works but it doesn't sound like it's for me.

soLoredd said,
Whats the difference between this and something like GameTap other than newer releases? I don't know, I guess I hope it works but it doesn't sound like it's for me.
The way this system works, you would be able to run a new modern game on an old P3 system just as well as someone with a top-end gaming rig would run it.

Or at least, that's how it would be if the system worked perfectly how they explain it, you would not need to upgrade your computer to play games over this system as long as it meets the minimum requirements for the service, as its basically processing controller input then displaying streaming video to your computer.

I personally do not think this type of software is going to work that good on current internet limits. Many people do not have connections fast enough to handle what they have planned with this software, and even if you do, there will be input latency and other factors that will definitely be much worse for fast-paced games. This is great service for companies like Ubisoft, it requires internet access to be able to play the game and as the client does not have the physical data for the game (or at least they do not have a majority of the data), which means they do not have to worry about pirates playing the game without buying it (no data to buy, instead you are paying a subscription to play the game, sort of like WoW, but with no client that you install).

I think this type of thing would work much better if any art assets were stored on the client, allowing the client to render real-time what the server is telling it to by loading the local asset files instead of compressing the image then sending it to the client which has to decompress the image (or lose quality). Then have all the game code except the graphic engine on the server, so people are required to connect for the game to actually do anything, but that has its own issues and what not.

10 years from now, this service may work to virtually stop piracy and not get complaints of input lag and what not, but for now there are too many issues for it to be worth the hassle IMO.

EDIT: After re-reading the article, it has a fairly low resolution output compared to high-end computers and monitors. 1080p isn't too bad at 1920x1080, but its lower than my 26" monitors at 1920x1200, and its much lower than 30" monitors at 2560x1600. The SDTV is just pitiful resolution compared to any modern gaming computer/monitor setup.

Edited by Nagisan, Mar 11 2010, 4:45am :

Nagisan said,
Then have all the game code except the graphic engine on the server, so people are required to connect for the game to actually do anything, but that has its own issues and what not.

The graphics engine is the part that most computers can't handle. Defeats the purpose of this service. Latency will kill it anyway.

mrp04 said,
The graphics engine is the part that most computers can't handle. Defeats the purpose of this service. Latency will kill it anyway.
That is true, but I see this service as being used better for DRM than because a computer cannot play a game. Most gamers can virtually play any game out there anyway, sure you will save them money with this service, but in the end it would serve better as DRM (once the service gets perfected that is) by having all the game code server-side, and only the assets client-side.

EDIT: Now, I completely oppose that type of DRM because some users would not be able to play a game period, but looking at Ubisofts recent DRM, its no wonder they were willing to partner up with OnLive. This allows them to do online DRM authentication without having to add it to the game specifically. As you would have to have an active OnLive account to play the game anyway.

Edited by Nagisan, Mar 11 2010, 3:28pm :

still1 said,
will this even work? not many will do this on subscription basis... more are pulled towards ps3 xbox and wii

Why not? Easier for people to drop $15/month than a few hundred bucks. And this will be playable on your TV, laptops, macs, low end computers, work computers, etc.

archer75 said,

Why not? Easier for people to drop $15/month than a few hundred bucks. And this will be playable on your TV, laptops, macs, low end computers, work computers, etc.

Laptops, macs, and low end computers still cost money. You will have to pay for the games. The controls go through the internet which is going to be some bad latency. I'd like to see what magic they have worked out to make this playable. If all that is coming to the end user is video, then there can't be any sort of client-side prediction coding to help reduce the effects of internet latency. Idk... seems sketchy. I will probably try it for a month just to see for myself, lol.

Shadrack said,

Laptops, macs, and low end computers still cost money. You will have to pay for the games. The controls go through the internet which is going to be some bad latency.

Yes, they do cost money. But people interested in this service likely already have said computers. You certainly wouldn't go out and buy a computer for this.

If it does have bad latency no one will pay for it and the service will fail. I would think they would have that ironed out by now. It is hard to imagine this working as advertised but i'll give them the benefit of the doubt until we get our hands on it.
I'm sure someone at GDC had a chance to play test it. I hope we can find some reports on it.

Edited by archer75, Mar 11 2010, 4:40am :

archer75 said,

Why not? Easier for people to drop $15/month than a few hundred bucks. And this will be playable on your TV, laptops, macs, low end computers, work computers, etc.

$15 a month plus ISP bandwidth costs. This wont be free bandwidth.

archer75 said,

...
If it does have bad latency no one will pay for it and the service will fail. I would think they would have that ironed out by now.
...

They can't "iron it out" though, it's a fact of the internet.

You could help it by putting the server directly in the person's home, but video quality is still going to be low (and then what's the point of OnLive?)

archer75 said,

Why not? Easier for people to drop $15/month than a few hundred bucks. And this will be playable on your TV, laptops, macs, low end computers, work computers, etc.


resolution of the game is what most look for and to get a high resolution you need at least 5mbps and with latency into consideration I would say it has high chance of failure.
A person has to upgrade a low bandwidth to at least 7 mbps to enjoy the HD. why not buy a ps3 or xbox

I don't know about that.

When I play games, it's like when you read a book.... I like the crisp graphics and details..... doing that will definitely cut on the quality....

throw away the idea of HD if they expect to compress games to being able to stream over 4-5 or 1.5Mbps. If anyone is going to do this properly without ruining the quality it's going to need easily fiber optic

Digitalx said,
throw away the idea of HD if they expect to compress games to being able to stream over 4-5 or 1.5Mbps. If anyone is going to do this properly without ruining the quality it's going to need easily fiber optic

I steam 720P content just fine on 5Mbps. 1080p gets caught buffering every now and then, but it isn't terrible.

Edited by shockz, Mar 11 2010, 3:39am :

One big problem (apart from the many small problems) is that they have to encode in real time (one pass), and they have to encode at a pretty low bitrate.

So the video is going to look like crap (and be out of sync due to latency issues)

Well the game play stream does more than just compress, a huge chunk of it is missing. But since you're moving around it is not noticeable at all!

lookie here, this guy explains it all
http://tv.seas.columbia.edu/videos/545/60/79?file=1&autostart=true

Blasius said,

I steam 720P content just fine on 5Mbps. 1080p gets caught buffering every now and then, but it isn't terrible.

Yeah that's going one way, this will have to go both ways for video and audio + input/output + standard internet latency is going to be quite bad unless you live next door to data center on FIOS within a KM of data center or have fiber optic otherwise you're going to have a build up of many laggy inputs and things due to latency on top of the poor transcoded video/audio.

Digitalx said,

Yeah that's going one way, this will have to go both ways for video and audio + input/output + standard internet latency is going to be quite bad unless you live next door to data center on FIOS within a KM of data center or have fiber optic otherwise you're going to have a build up of many laggy inputs and things due to latency on top of the poor transcoded video/audio.

Well I'm sure that these are all things that they will have taken into account, we'll just have to see how well this works in the real world.

Digitalx said,
throw away the idea of HD if they expect to compress games to being able to stream over 4-5 or 1.5Mbps. If anyone is going to do this properly without ruining the quality it's going to need easily fiber optic

Let's just wait and see shall we. Judging something you haven't even experienced or seen is premature. I'm sure they wouldn't be launching this thing and have all those publishers on board if it was crap.

SHoTTa35 said,
This was that service we heard about like 3yrs ago? Wow, guess it wasn't vaporware then!

I'm just as shocked. I was convinced that this wasn't going to happen. It just seemed a little too ambitious, and I would have bet good money that the technical difficulties and publishers would hold it back.

I'm glad I was proven wrong though :-)