OnLive, the pioneer streaming game service, yesterday (Dec. 8) launched an app for touch-screen tablets and smartphones, bringing casual gamers into the fold. The company has reprogrammed 25 of its games for handheld devices that were previously only available to PC and game console users.
“With today’s launch, gamers can experience the same instant-play, top-tier games on tablets and smartphones, despite the fact that these games require vastly higher performance than is achievable on a mobile device,” OnLive’s chief executive officer Steve Perlman said in a statement. The new app can run games on high-speed Verizon’s and ATT 4G LTE networks and Wi-Fi.
Casual gamers have flocked to games such as "Angry Birds" and "Words with Friends," games that use side-scrolling and text input for gameplay. OnLive hopes that this vast market is ready for more serious games. Headliners include popular third-person-shooter "L.A. Noire" from Rockstar games and the LEGO Harry Potter series. A new version of "Grand Theft Auto III" is scheduled for release on Dec. 15 as a native iOS and Android game.
Touch-screen virtual controls have been built into these new versions for play on tablets and some smartphones. OnLive games, which don’t yet have the virtual controls, can be played on mobile devices using OnLive’s universal controller, which will be available for $50 beginning Dec. 9.
OnLive has the tablet market covered with support for the iPad 2, HTC Flyer, HTC Jetstream, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom and the Amazon Kindle Fire.
However, the company is still waiting for approval on its new app from Apple. The Android version is live on Google's Android Market.
There are several advantages for hard-core gamers as well as casual gamers. Streaming games eliminate the need to buy hard copies of games and associated long download times. Because gameplay is saved on OnLive’s servers “in the cloud ,” players can easily switch from their phones or tablets back to a larger PC or TV screen and continue playing. OnLive members can rent games for around $2 for three to five days, buy them for $50 (which means they’ll always have access to the game) or subscribe to OnLive’s library for $10 a month.