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Right now, the GDC (Game Developers Conference) is going on. I haven't been paying too much attention this year but it looks like I should be. The thing that's getting a lot of video game media attention right now is a service called Onlive. As far as I understand it, Onlive is a video game streaming service. Onlive's servers will (theoretically) be able to process even the most high end games and send them straight to your PC. If this works, you could be playing Crysis on a low end PC. This could revolutionize the way PC games are played, maybe even giving them the shot in the arm they need to keep PC gaming alive. Already, many of the major developers have signed on to do this. It will also have a "mini console" so this streaming could also go to your TV. The price point will be aimed at being less than the Wii's.

I, for one, am very excited. I do not have the funds to go out and try and get some super high end PC so I can play the good games, but with this service, I could have a small monthly subscription and I be able to play anything.

As a side note, the company developing this is named Rearden Companies, sound familiar? Their symbol is also very reminiscent of symbols I have seen on places like johngaltgifts.com for Objectivism. Could these developers possibly be Objectivists?

Rearden Companies Website

Onlive.com

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Sounds interesting. On a humorous aside, given the amount of time it took me to download the animations on the parent company website, I don't think I'll be playing streaming video games for quite some time.

EDIT:

About the name of the parent company, I did find this interview. And supposedly Rearden was first founded as Rearden Steel.

Edited by RussK
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"The name "Rearden Steel" may sound familiar to readers of Ayn Rand's objectivist novel "Atlas Shrugged," in which it is the name of the protagonist's company. Perlman declined to comment on the literary connection, but said the name was chosen for its Industrial Age associations."

Read that in this article. I searched on the forums and in another thread, someone commented that the logo from johngaltgifts actually seems to be taken from Rearden Companies.

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Doesn't sound like a good idea at all.

Edit: I remember liking the Sega Channel, if any of you remember that... but obviously things have come a long way.

This product seems like it would perform well at a conference, with a few people pulling games from the servers... but would severely slow down once it begins selling on the scale it proposes.

Edit 2: ... and if you remember, Sega Channel died.

Edit 3: Here are a list of promises currently on the FAQ section of their website that will be huge disappointments.

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How do I patch or update my games?

OnLive games are patched and updated automatically for you in the OnLive data center. So, games start up the instant you click on them.

#

How long does it take to download a game?

Trust us, it’s really fast – it’s instant, unlike anything you’ve tried.

(This implies client-side caching, and when high-end games are generally 5-10GB, nobody is going to download that much info "instant")

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How long until the newest games are available OnLive?

OnLive works with its partners to deliver the newest titles as soon as they’re released. No waiting in lines, pre-ordering, or waiting on shipments. Just connect and play!

(This won't happen until OnLive has established itself as a valuable outlet for gaming... most gamers don't want to pay a subscription... they like dumping their 50 bucks on a game and playing it for a few years... especially first person shooter types and mmo types. A lot of games being released still have a delay on when they will be available for Mac'n'trash computers.)

#

Can I try new games before buying?

Yes. You can play the latest and greatest demos, and even rent games to try them out. OnLive also lets you watch the top players as a way to discover new games and learn a few new tricks.

(The way it sounds, this will be a subscriber services like Sega Channel was, so you're not "trying out games before you buy them" you're just paying a monthly fee and getting access to them. When it comes down to it you'll find 2-3 games you like and your subscription will be more costly than just going out and buying a game after 4-5 months.)

Most of the rest is marketing junk, 4 claims is sufficient.

My position:

1) It won't be nearly as fast as it claims once a couple hundred thousand people get suckered into trying it.

2) It won't be a cost-effective way to play games because it will be a subscriber service.

I signed up for the beta though, to satisfy my own curiosity.

~~~ Another angle on all of this is whether or not PC builders and hobbyists like myself will be able to play with the people in OnLive.

Currently, Xbox-Live doesn't interface with PC gamers, so this could end up being "the next big thing" for all those Wii fans... which will leave the core of the gamer market largely unattracted.

Edited by Lucretius
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