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Broadband May Kill The Game Console Wars
At least if a company named Onlive has their way...
by Karl Bode 11:15AM Tuesday Mar 24 2009
The increase in broadband speeds means we're increasingly offloading a lot of content from the local PC and into the Internet "cloud" -- your Google applications being just one example. Offloading gaming content so that the heavy lifting is done remotely (eliminating the need for costly in-home consoles or PC hardware) has long been a dream hampered by sluggish connectivity, but a new company by the name of Onlive hopes to change that. According to a flurry of coverage this morning (Extreme Tech, NY Times, CNET) the company hopes to launch a subscription service that allows users to play even the most graphically demanding games (like Crysis) on any TV or monitor.
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The core idea of OnLive is to make all modern games playable on any system. The actual heavy lifting of rendering, AI, and other gameplay is handled by big iron servers, which are loaded with multiple CPUs and high-end graphics chips (GPUs). The player has a simple, lightweight client running on a PC or Mac or, alternatively, may opt for what OnLive is calling a "MicroConsole" to play on a big screen TV.
The service is slated to launch later this year, and while it will cost a monthly fee, OnLive is considering giving the small client-side hardware unit away for free. A number of impediments to OnLive's dream come to mind, not least of which are bandwidth caps and rural broadband shortcomings -- but time will tell.

Offloading gaming into the cloud isn't exactly an original idea -- we were pitched the concept way back at E3 in 2001. It didn't happen then because user connections weren't ready for it. Even if DOCSIS 3.0 and FTTH make it more plausible now, it's hard to think this won't be a move dominated by industry giants Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo -- who have already invested so much in their online infrastructures.

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Scotch Plains, NJ

2 recommendations

I remember the first time this came out

It was called X Windows.

SexaT duorP
Saint Louis, MO

2 recommendations

reply to FFH

Re: Business plan neglects the broadband ISPs

said by FFH:

This is a really stupid business plan in that it transfers the heavy lifting(all that extra bandwidth consumed) to the broadband ISPs without any consideration of added costs on their part.

And any people playing games on this service will quickly hit the broadband caps that are becoming ever more prevalent.
You're totally right. Because the consumer AND "Onlive" aren't paying ISP's for their bandwidth.

Oh wait, they are.
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