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  • 'Top-Tier' Games Hit Mobile Devices



    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.
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. mjmacky's Avatar
      mjmacky -
      I'm guessing this is similar to how Skyfire's browsing service worked, everything is being rendered on a virtual machine, including your interactions, and it's being fed back via video stream.
    1. Quarterquack's Avatar
      Quarterquack -
      Correct, macky. I've used OnLive for months now, even though some features aren't supposed to be Canada-side. Even this release isn't Canada sanctioned. The apk is floating around though.
    1. Cabalo's Avatar
      Cabalo -
      And the games run as smooth as if they were being processed locally on your pc?I always found this an intriguing technology.
    1. Quarterquack's Avatar
      Quarterquack -
      So there's obvious downsides with their model:1) The games usually don't run as smooth as local processing. There's a little latency issue. However, when on 3G running off an ISPs backbone I experience this very minimally. I only noticed this latter fact during the past couple of days when I'd play on the bus or during downtime, so it may just be a gigantic issue of in-town routing issues that cause the latency. I'm definitely not the only person who experiences the problems, though. The servers they have are highly capable, their software is smooth etc. The problem lies with data transfer speeds to be honest.2) Their pricing structure. I don't believe in paying full price to play some games. Given that the copy is only around until they deem it expired, I don't understand what I stand to gain by paying them full price. This whole "play on your phone anywhere" structure is a move in the right direction for bang per buck, but I still don't know why their pricings seem so ... off. Especially since there's no possibility of resale value.

      I also forgot resolution. The resolution is utter shit. But I guess if you're playing on the go with an iPad or Android Phone it's acceptable.