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The future of gaming. With the current gen consoles well into their life span we can’t help but think ‘What’s Next?’ downloadable games are currently selling like hot cakes, Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, PSN store, Wiiware and virtual console games have provided a new way for us to access games without even getting off the couch (and that’s ok in my books). What if I told you that all your games could be accessed online, without downloading them, Not having any bulky accident prone consoles in your lounge and the ability to play with PC, Mac and console gamers? You would probably call me Andrew Ryan and tell me to get off your internets but Steve Perlman’s OnLive concept just might be enough to sway a few.

The concept of OnLive is simple enough.

1. Power up your ‘Microconsole’

2. Connect to the internet

3. Gain access to extensive game libraries

4. Play with your controller connected to high end gaming servers

So playing from your couch will be like controlling a PC/Console in a server farm far away with the results being streamed to your TV. Obviously accessing these games would require either a subscription service or pay per play system similar to the arcades of old.

Actually getting the thing in people’s homes will be the locked door keeping OnLive out of the gaming party. Gamers will be required to have a broadband connection of 2mbits or higher. This may seem like a simple enough feat to many but recent findings prove that a large amount of game consoles are still not connected to the internet. OnLive won’t deliver the highest definition graphics such as 1080p or 1080i which would require speeds of 10mbit + which in many countries is a luxury which consumers are made to pay out big dollars for.


So what’s the good news?

Piracy. Gone. This is great news for indie games trying to get their name out there. Without being stomped on by AAA games and pirates alike, it’s a jungle out there.

No more EB, GameStop. Ever. Gone would be the days of pre order pressure or day one supply demands. The rental business would go down the drain, with it these gaming tyrants.

This sounds great! Sign me up!

Hold your horses there tiger. Although many big name publishers have jumped on board such as Electronic Arts, THQ, Take-Two Interactive, Code masters, Eidos, Atari, Warner Bros., Epic Games and Ubisoft OnLive seems to have forgotten that there still will be more consoles to come yet.

“breaks the console cycle where a gamer has to buy a new machine every few years.”

This generation of consoles has been said to be the longest ever. Picking up a new console every 7-9 years isn’t a big deal and quite frankly… it’s bloody exciting.

‘’Game publishers could also frequently update their games on OnLive by changing the code running on the servers. If one part of a game is too hard, the publishers can simply patch that part and then everyone will play the new version the next time they log in. ‘”

Patching games is already an annoying excuse for developers to excuse unfinished or rushed games but logging on and already having your game patched is a great idea if we know what exactly is being patched Before we actually begin to stream the game.

OnLive is an incredibly interesting concept. Physical media is on the way out ITunes, XBL, PSN, Steam are all cutting out the middle man and selling directly to gamers. The entry level into the console war at the moment has been set so high with the Nintendo Wii still topping the NPD’s every month and 360 and PS3 also introducing their own online downloads of games and TV, movie and music streaming OnLive has a mighty wall to scale if it’s going to make an impact at all. So keep hold of those collectors’ editions figurines, maps, making of DVD’s and metal cases because they won’t be around for much longer. We can expect to see more of OnLive being demoed at GDC 2009.

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  1. This sounds like a great idea. I might actually have to upgrade my PC sometime soon if this catches on.

    Things like Steam are only good news for publishers. No DRM needed, no shrinkage due to retail theft, complete cutting of costs due to cutting out retail completely. Retail distribution may be a thing of the past if tons of huge publishers get on board.

    Think about it; one day you woke up and Blu-Ray ousted HD-DVD. One day in 10 years you might wake up and Best Buy doesn’t have a game section anymore.

  2. This idea sucks, I love buying games, I love manuals, I love game boxes. I LOVE BOX ART. NOOO!!

  3. It’s a great idea for some part, but generally it sucks. I can see what they are trying to do with this. The problem is, pre-ordering games, waiting in line for the stores to open at midnight, being able to say you got the first copy, collectors editions, just plain walking(or however you get there) to the store and buying a game is all fun! It can be thrilling too. His takes away half the excitement of playing a game.

  4. A very interesting idea, but I think it might be a bit too soon for such a huge change.

    I like the idea of ending piracy, however. The issue with me would be not being able to dust off an old game an pop into a game console to play whenever. The servers wouldn’t be up forever.

  5. I like/hate this idea all at the same time, as Yllier said, getting it is half the battle, and I enjoy it. But this does open a lot of options for indi games.

  6. It was something I mentioned a while back in my “Future of Gaming” feature, and I do believe it will be the next big step we see from console development. Personally, I can’t wait, as I’m onto my 3rd Xbox due to disc reading errors.
    Collector’s packs would still exist, a collector’s set isn’t just “ooh, it comes in a tin” it is art books, figures, clothing, lunchboxes, playing cards, and whatever else, these things would most certainly be available from places like once physical media is gone, developers will extinguish the connections they have for physical retailers and develop closer relationships with the current virtual retailers.
    One thing I wonder about also is what impact will we see on Pre-Owned/Rentals? Surely they would go out the window entirely with no physical media, and with the market being available only to those paying full price, will we see a dip or a rise in the profits the industry makes?

  7. Thats a good point about the pre used games. No of only them, but the billions upon billions of physical discs and cartridges containing games. What happens to them? They’ll pretty much never get out of the system, people will still want to play their NES sometime. Also, what happens to all the stores that solely sell video games? Do they just close? They have nothing to sell.

  8. I am still standing against this. Gamers need something solid. I love looking forward to new console and game releases. Unwrapping the cellophane and holding the game in my hands. All shiny and new. I wouldnt give that up. EVER.

  9. avatar silverwolf

    No disk, no way! It’s like you really don’t own anything at all. Besides who’s to say that the price for playing a game won’t be high as it is now? Yet you have nothing to show for it. No thank you I rather have my consoles and games stored in my possession than not having anything at all.

  10. The same was said about music, people said they would never trade in the quality of owning a CD, and yeah, you can still buy CDs but the popularity of MP3s has skyrocketed.
    You only have to look at Steam to see a model for no physical media is a model that can work.
    An area I don’t like the lack of physical media is books though, I include graphic novels in that too. Lots of things like the Kindle coming out, and other eBook readers, but I like the feel of the paper, and being able to get “hands on” with the art…that came out seedier than I meant it…

  11. avatar silverwolf

    On the PC I can see this working, no one likes to install 5 disk worth of data and going thru the troubles of DRM. On the console not so much… all you have to do is pop a disk in and you are ready to go.

    The popularity of MP3′s is a lot different and should not be compared to this. First MP3′s had a big edge on CD’s not in audio quality but in music storing capacity (no one likes to jog with a back pack full of CD’s). They are a LOT smaller in size and the power consumption is a lot better than CD players.

    And you don’t have to buy to whole damn CD when all you like is track number 3.

  12. Portable gaming is becoming increasingly popular, what with a third console being released for the DS brand. I’ve not really followed PSP in a while, but they’re like still alive or something. How about the idea of no physical media for portable gaming? Surely that is an inevitable first step into a realm of physical medias downfall?

  13. avatar jdawg78

    I will quit buying into video games if they go to that system. Half the fun in owning games is actually having something to own. I have been playing video games since the NES was around and i like having an actual game or disc that i can hold in my hand. These companies are getting greedy and they probally will not drop the prices either. They want total control of there properties. While i dont believe in piracy i think they should keep working on technology that is not availible for the pc. Most people that copy games have a dvd burner or a blu ray burner on there pc. With the right software and nowhow they can crack it and burn it. If they would make these games on a format that is not available to pc users then that would cut down on piracy. I mean you have to extract the data off of a disc to pirate it right? If you don’t have the means to do that then you can not copy them. The thing is you will never stop piracy all together. There are ways however to slow it down and not screw the guy buying there games. I don’t like it and will not buy it!!

  14. Is it really about greed, or advancing technology?
    I don’t think the leap away from CDs is about greed, nor do I think the change from game discs to just plain old memory is a big difference. If a PC game doesn’t require me to put the disc in to play it, I have probably lost this disc. And if it does require me to put it in, I’m generally annoyed at it.
    The idea that owning a game is half the fun, maybe it’s just not how I was raised, but I don’t see that. 90% of the games I play, I rent, once I’m done with the game, I’m done, not bothered about having a box, nor a manual, to me everything about a game is the data on the disc itself.

  15. avatar George

    I know all of you are thinking about the games but I see $$$ going to somebody. Just think about the internet bog down. Your not downloading but still streaming (remember Comcast 250GB cap, streaming counts towards that too I understand) This is also giving too much power to the people behind the clouds and you don’t even get to have a physical copy of anything. They say the set top box will be less than a Wii which means it will be $248.99. Just like Comcast does they could up the price, monthly fees anytime. What are you going to do? If you object they shut you down and everything you purchased is worthless. ISP’s would jump at upping their fees claiming bandwith usage problems. I see this getting very expensive in the long run. It would quickly get more expensive than a console. I’ve read some of the investors backing this. Big Names and they are going to want returns. Makes M$ look like Mother Theresa.

  16. I was thinking about subscription costs today which would be astronomical !. Even if it were pay for each seperate game they would provabally continue to be the same price anyway.

  17. avatar George

    On a brighter note, this is a dream for game developers though. Job security, easier workload, more money. This would be assuming OnLive monopolizes the industry. 360 people need PS3 people and vice versa. And the Wii too. I always see fanboy attacks on the internet but if it weren’t for three systems, gaming would get too expensive. As long as there is competition they have to be sure not to rip us off and charge whatever they please. OnLive seems like it could be a great new concept in theory but there needs to be a balance of power. We know its going to come to this cloud gaming but we saw what happened when an unstoppable force monopolizes an industry ($350 for Vista?, please).

    Scroll down, read ”The Phantom”.
    OnLive is another train wreck waiting to happen.

  19. avatar fykdig

    2 words sega channel

  20. I will continue commenting here revealing my outright rage against it. Say NO TO ONLINE!!

  21. The problem is to connect and play these games at the quality intended and the speed intended you will constantly have to upgrade your pc machine in order to do so.

    Yes you don’t have to buy one console for one game (MGS 4-PS3 IMO) but you will spend a ton on upgrades.

    No thanks, I’ll stick with consoles. If this actually happens Im boycotting games forever…

  22. @docdoom
    You make a good point. Here’s the worst case scenario (most likely this thing will be Phantom 2.0 but hey): OnLive succeeds, Microsoft and Sony don’t make a new console, and we don’t own our games anymore.

  23. avatar McShave 07

    One subject no one has touched on yet is broadband download limits.

    Fair enough I think online game streaming is something that will take off in the future but for the moment most people have to stick to a monthly limit. How much gaming could I do on a 20gb a month plan.

    If we were talking about a modern game with up to date graphics not much I suspect.

    • avatar Jotsingh

      I do graphics and web pages.Cruise the ienertnt for information and news.Come online and answer questions here on Yahoo.Search for Wallpapers and Images I can you for web pages.Download all kinds of software files.Dual boot to either Windows or Linux.

  24. avatar JOKER PEN TRICK

    The download speed issue would lock out the majority of the UK as our internet network blongs in a museum.

  25. avatar dangnabit

    serousily, get with the program i love my game and he cases what an instruction guide hmmmmm.

  26. avatar Tim

    Feb28Marvin My favorite is the prdoreer US Navy Seals Full Deployment deal from amazon where you get the game, the gun, the move controller, navigation controller, and PS eye. It’s a $200 value and you get free shipping with no tax. I’ll probably prdoreer that soon.

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