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.
Next page: A-list titles
Not for meDon't like the terms and conditions. Even though they charge full price for the games they retain the right to remove that game from the system at any time if they feel it isn't getting enough players and don't have to credit you any money back. I like to go back and play games that I own at any time, only this week I found my old copy of FFVII and joyfully stuck it into my PS3 to play it through again. If you don't get the media for you to play with whenever you want then all you are doing is renting. If I am renting then there is no way I am paying the prices they ask for.
agree with this guyIndeed. While this service is a lot more playable than I expected, attempting to charge full price for an inferior product is not very smart in my view. No serious gamers are going to forsake their rigs for this connection-dependent lagfest, and casual gamers aren't going to part with the money these guys are asking. Shame really, because as the article says - this is a very impressive technical achievement.
Or meI tried it, bought SpaceMarine for a quid. It worked well enough (great game), but for me, it was the control lag that killed it, I did get largely used to it, but I had no chance in anything that required quick, precise movements. Also, the games in the playpack are (with a few exemptions) dire. It's inevitable that they have to remove games, they should offer a percentage credit or something when they do that.
Hmm, balancing a tablet on my lap while holding the controller? I'd rather just use my home console in that scenario.
Great news for PC gamers
While this will not be so appealing to PC gamers who have a gaming rig, what it does is increase the user base for PC versions of games. That is unless there start being games made specifically for the on-live system. PC games with mobile device user base numbers, that's a good thing right?