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WTF is... cloud gaming?

Look, ma, no console!

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All Blighty then?

However, OnLive has been hard at work to bring its services to Blighty. In 2010, it announced a partnership with BT, with the telco taking a 2.6 per cent stake in the business. BT has the exclusive right to bundle OnLive with its broadband packages, and has already said the game service will be available to all its Total Broadband and Infinity customers. BT hasn't said how this will work, but a likely approach would see the telco send subscribers the compact OnLive MicroConsole adaptor and controller.

OnLive

How it works

The adaptor, which costs US-based users $100 (£62), plugs into a TV's HDMI port and comes with a wireless control pad and access to one game. This lets OnLive be accessed using any TV that doesn't have the software already embedded. Console-less gaming on your telly is here, now.

OnLive isn't the only cloud gaming player - half a dozen others are offering services of a similar nature. One, Gaikai, has now opened a public beta in the UK. Unlike OnLive, Gaikai operates through a Flash-enabled web browser not a GoLive-style app. This makes it potentially even more readily available, on multiple platforms.

That may prove central to its success. Games giant EA, for instance, has taken its titles off OnLive and now offers them through Gaikai. EA's CFO, Eric Brown, recently complained about OnLive being too expensive and that the service has too much latency for good gaming.

OnLive

MicroConsole and control pad

EA's interest in Gaikai may be because the service is more focused on presenting demos rather than offering full games. Gaikai actively encourages customers to still buy a copy rather than solely use its service to run a title.

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