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A window into the future of content distribution?


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It's been discussed many times before via numerous heated debates; particularly on the DRM issues regarding Storm Eagle's Jutland.

Now we have what could be an economically viable distribution system for game publishers that not only delivers content online but supposedly removes the need for the consumer to invest in high-end hardware at home.

The general idea is that this on-demand gaming service will host games on their own servers while streaming just the display content in addition to user input over a broadband connection.

The user will be required to purchase a inexpensive small "console" that will serve to authenticate users. It has ports for fiber, cable and dsl so obviously a broadband connection will be needed.

As servers will be maintained and upgraded over time, there will be no need for the consumer to ever purchase additional equipment. Their old obsolete PC and Mac will, in theory, work just fine. The potential is staggering for other avenues of the market including 3D, video and high-resolution image manipulation - programs which have traditionally required a sizable investment by the end user for the hardware alone to operate effectively.

Of course, the mandatory condition of having to be online just to play is a controversial issue in itself, but the ramifications this has to erase the retail console market entirely in addition to curbing piracy altogether is where the more interesting aspect of this service lies in my opinion.

Although pricing and a full reliability assessment of the service have yet to be determined, if this endeavor succeeds, we could be looking at the distribution model of the future for all software.

Personally, for me this is a double-edged sword. I love the idea of not having to buy the latest and greatest gaming rig just to get reasonable frame-rates, but the notion of yielding all personal discretion directly to publishers who, after receiving payment, can determine through a simple switch (metaphorically speaking) as to whether you are still eligible to continue enjoying their products with ill regard to individual circumstances is most disturbing.

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Not for me at all...I purchase the software and expect it to be on my computer, without any need to log on to the internet to use anything, or to have some other software (like Steam) running in the background. I detest all these Orwellian rights schemes that put god knows what on your computer, and expect you to be running it while they can rummage around in your machine, for all we know.

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I'm a skeptic.


I get lag on games not because my PC doesn't meet requirements or the server doesn't meet requirements, I get lag because there are a lot of hops between my PC and the server. Introducing a component which may lag between input and display causes me to doubt. Playing a multiplayer game through ONLIVE seems like a compounded lag issue, if we're allowed to connect with non-ONLIVE members at all.

I can't imagine this working with the current network infrastructure. I love the ideas and technology involved, but I'm skeptical of it working without significant changes to our current delivery systems. I wonder at how many people can have their games running on a server at any one time, I wonder at the bandwidth costs, I wonder how many hops away from an ONLIVE server you'd have to be to get that vaunted 1ms response time, I wonder what my ISP would do? Internet outages would certainly be that much more frustrating, to be sure.

My ISP capped p2p, will I end up having to buy into expensive packages for ONLIVE to work? What would they do about ONLIVE if it starts eating up too much? So many questions. I really doubt cloud computing for gaming, for now, though I would love to see it work. I would sign up or the North American beta, but it ain't open to Canuckians. Drat, 'cause I'd love to have my doubts proven to be unfounded.

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I see something like this being only semi-successful with the more mainstream console players. PC gamers will brush this aside like the rubbish it really is. Since most console gamers know games look best on PC, so this is their chance to play console/PC games without having to buy high end rigs.

Wow, and for those thinking to login into Steam was bad, damn this is way worse. :eek:

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Basically BS.

All the horsepower in your gaming PC is used for 3D. You can't outsource that.

Web-based Java applets can have 3D graphics, with hardware acceleration. That's good. And games such as those don't need installation. But you still need ninja macho PC to run them, in fact even more than for a program written in a tight language like C++.

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