Cloud gaming on your tablet and phone
Sometimes technology just blows your mind. When I reviewed the OnLive Game System, I was impressed by the simple fact that this "cloud gaming" kit worked at all – let alone that it worked so well.
Then the company invited me along to see its new iPad app and my jaw landed with a thud on the ground as they fired up the PC game Batman: Arkham City on my favourite fondleslab.
Pick your title
For an encore OnLive whipped out an Amazon Kindle Fire and ran the game on that too.
That was just before Christmas, and Apple’s control-freak approval process means that the iPad app still hasn’t seen the light of day on the App Store – although there is an OnLive Viewer app that allows you to be a spectator and watch other people playing games in OnLive’s Arena.
Get playing as if you were on a PC
However, the full Android app is now available in the Android Market. And while the iOS app only runs on the iPad, the Android version will run on both smartphones and tablets so long as they're running Android 2.3 Gingerbread or later. You can see the list of compatible devices on the apps' Market page.
OnLive says that these mobile apps require an internet connection running at 2Mb/s or more in order to provide decent graphics quality and gameplay. I tested it on a 5Mb/s connection and could detect no significant lag or pauses.
Touchscreen gaming is aided by on-screen control 'overlays'
Few of the PC games in the OnLive library were designed for a touchscreen, but OnLive has been working with a number of games developers to provide some titles with a touchscreen ‘overlay’ that provides virtual gamepad controls similar to those found in many native Android and iOS games.
This system doesn’t work for all games, but the app’s browser interface tells you what control options are supported by each game before taking your money. Many games also have a trial mode that allows you to play for 30 minutes for free, so you can check out the game controls and see how your broadband copes before spending any money.