Ironic, given HD gaming will demolish AT&T's proposed caps...
Back in March
a company by the name of OnLive
unveiled their new broadband gaming service, which aims to replace the traditional game console with what's essentially a broadband-connected dumb terminal. Under the system, which has been proposed in various forums for years now, major title games are completely streamed over your broadband connection -- for a monthly subscription fee.
Initial demonstrations were on closed networks, and of course everyone wants to see this service in the real world -- where the company admits you'll need to live within 1,000 miles of a data center. For Standard-Definition gaming, OnLive says it needs a 1.5 Mbps connection. For HDTV resolution (720p60), at least
5 Mbps is required.
Earlier this month the company announced
they'd entered open beta, and today the company unveiled
they've received a third round of funding from a group of companies, including AT&T. It might be the biggest video-game related funding boost this year, and AT&T's instance instantly infuses Onlive with more credibility. At least in the business world -- nobody knows if this service will work as advertised yet.
Of course AT&T's investment is ironic, given they're testing metered billing in two markets
, imposing caps between 5-40GB with overages between $1-$1.50 per gig. It's not out of the question that a heavy Onlive HD gamer could blow through a thousand gigabytes a month. As such, you can look at AT&T's caps in two ways: a great way to capitalize on the bandwidth explosion as more data-intensive apps come to market, or a great way to cripple innovation as customers worry about having to take out second mortgages to play Team Fortress 2.