OnLive Will Change Video Game Industry... Eventually

By March 27, 2009

Steve Perlman founded Rearden with the purpose of taking risks on wildly disruptive new business ideas. His newest may change the destinies of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. This idea is called OnLive, and was unveiled at the Game Developers Conference this week in San Francisco. Perlman (picture right) plans to whip up the technology necessary for recent video games to be accessed through a conventional broadband connection. The results: the latest title on any television, PC or Mac. This includes old and otherwise limited-purpose computers, while a television requires only a palm-sized “microprocessor” to access the service. Gaming systems, whether tricked-out CPU/GPU multi-processor madness or a five hundred dollar proprietary console are rendered obsolete.

Of course the problem is that this game-changing technology does not exist yet. The hosting service must communicate between the player and the remote host in a way that will result in no experienced lag time. This critical problem is one that keep online games from becoming what OnLive hopes to be right now.

Speculatively speaking, when this problem is solved, a number of player barriers dissolve. Users can skip the prohibitive cost of purchasing a current-generation gaming console. Content creators can concentrate on selling the product that actually makes the profit, instead of losing money marketing a console that is merely the stepping-stone to playing the game. In this situation, the screen and an Internet connection are the only prerequisites.

This hypothetical system could be years away, but it promises a simpler, more enjoyable workflow for users, manufacturers, and Mr. Perlman. In Fodor’s coverage , Perlman loaded up “Crysis,” an intensely processor-heavy title. The fully rendered scenery and action area promises an experience just as enjoyable as players are accustomed to. Fans can watch live games streamed to their home, as well as join in or share video clips.

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