OnLive gets demoed, feels laggy


You know OnLive? That service promising to let gamers play Crysis-grade titles on the lowest of low-end hardware through the magic of the internet? Well, it's been in beta testing for a little while, and Ryan Shrout of PC Perspective managed to get a bite of the wild, free-range OnLive experience. And apparently, it tasted a bit like pie-in-the-sky.

In his lengthy (but fascinating) write-up, Shrout tested Burnout Paradise, Unreal Tournament 3, and Tom Clancy's HAWX over the remote gaming service (which handles all the processing and hardware-intensive graphics server-side while streaming video feedback to the player), then compared the experience with playing the same games on a local, appropriately beefy home PC.

The verdict was mixed. While OnLive itself was as easy to start up and get into as promised, the issues that more skeptical onlookers were wary of, namely input lag and graphical downgrading (since OnLive compresses the video stream to get it to you quickly), raised their heads. The lag issue was especially acute with "twitchier" games like Unreal Tournament 3, with Shrout reporting it "nearly unplayable" with a mouse and keyboard. Switching to "slower" input devices like gamepads made the experience more consistent, though.

Now, before you write OnLive off as a failure, note that there are considerable caveats. Shrout himself had no beta account, and played through a friend's login data, thus making the conditions he operated under unoptimized. After all, some of the criteria for entering OnLive's testing in the first place included being located relatively close to one of their datacenters in California.

So no, it's not time to throw out your console or abandon your plans to upgrade, not yet at least. Still, he was playing Burnout Paradise at decent quality on a dinky laptop. That's certainly something to be said for cloud-based gaming.

OnLive demoed: Lag, graphics are a problem [PC perspective via Ars Technica]

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Josh Tolentino
Josh TolentinoAnime Editor   gamer profile

When not posting about Japanese games or Star Trek, Josh serves as Managing Editor for Japanator, Dtoid's sister site for the best in anime, manga, and cool news from Glorious Nippon. Disclosure... more + disclosures



Filed under... #Beta #OnLive #PC



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