Onlive Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Onlive RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network The Ghost of OnLive Calls Itself flarePlay https://www.gameskinny.com/exg70/the-ghost-of-onlive-calls-itself-flareplay https://www.gameskinny.com/exg70/the-ghost-of-onlive-calls-itself-flareplay Tue, 01 Sep 2015 02:30:01 -0400 Jason Russell

 Look Ma, No Media
Allow me to begin this article with a disclaimer: I don’t feel comfortable with video game consoles that lack honest-to-goodness physical media. Blame it on a cynical nature or perhaps the fact that I’ve been burned in the past by companies like Tiger Electronics with NetJet and Tectoy with Zeebo; when server and cloud-based game companies go belly-up, usually so too does their hardware’s functionality. And we have a name for consoles that can no longer play games: very expensive paperweights.


Bearing this in mind, logic would suggest I should despise OnLive and, while I’m not too happy with their having gone out of business and liquidating their patents to Sony, I was actually an intermittent fan of their hardware. In fact, and I don’t let just anyone in on this little secret, their Microconsole Adapter stands as the single piece of video gaming hardware most purchased by yours truly. I bought 4 of these things between 2010 and 2014! That works out to one a year for four consecutive years. We’ll get into that bizarre statistic momentarily but first let’s talk a bit about OnLive.

The concept can technically be traced back to the early 2000s when companies were seemingly locked in competition to see who could (not) create the best piece of vaporware. Budget DVD player maker Apex came up with something called the ApeXtreme, a start-up called Indrema proposed a Linux-based console called the L600, and most people know about the most famous of the lot - Infinium Labs’ Phantom.  The one thing all these systems had in common (besides the fact that they never saw the light of day) was that they attempted to bring the PC video game market into the living room in an era well before PCs started coming with HDMI outputs and Steam Machine was a slang way of describing a locomotive.

The one thing all these systems had in common (besides the fact that they never saw the light of day) was that they attempted to bring the PC video game market into the living room.

Additionally, most of them hinted toward a then-unthinkably high tech concept: broadband internet could theoretically eliminate the need for physical media altogether.  Games could be purchased, delivered and played right over the net.  Things happened fast, as such things usually tend to, and by the time the 7th Generation of home consoles was released a few years later, internet connectivity and its influence on purchasing and playing games had become an integral part of the television video gaming experience.  Further lessening the gap between PC and console gaming was the addition of HDMI inputs on high-def televisions and HDMI outputs on most desktop and laptops. Suddenly the idea of playing computer games on the living room 60” was as simple as connecting a single cord.

A Unique Approach

During all of this, a Mountain View, CA company calling itself OnLive had been quietly developing its own take on such concepts only theirs was a model not quite like any other before it. Rather than just deliver games over broadband internet, they had the notion that games could be stored, run and played via their own servers and only the audio and video streams of the game in action would need be sent to the TV or device. Compression would allow these data streams to travel as quickly and effortlessly as say, a Netflix video file. It seemed too outlandish to be true, but the company maintained

Compression would allow these data streams to travel as quickly and effortlessly as say, a Netflix video file.

that the lag in pressing a controller button on the other side of the country, its signal then being sent to the server, the server performing the in-game action, and the video of this being sent back to the user would be negligible.  The company announced (and demonstrated) the concept in action at GDC San Francisco 2009 and the service was taken to market by mid-2010.

A lot of its appeal stemmed from the fact that any device that could handle the small client could theoretically play top-of-the-line games as the actual processing and graphical demands were being performed by OnLive’s powerhouse servers. Running compressed video streams was something most phones, tablets, and outdated laptops could handle. I had been more interested in the concept of playing PC games, that were slightly beyond my PC’s ability, with a console-style controller and on the big screen. For such ambitions, OnLive offered its $99 MicroConsole TV Adapter on November 17th, 2010 and I placed my order the moment they would accept my credit card digits.

The unit arrived and in early 2011 I experienced the concept in all of its glory for the first time. When it worked, it worked pretty well. When it didn’t, well there was pixelization at best, completely unresponsive controls at regular intervals and total lock-ups at worst. Never could I sit down and attempt to play a game without worry of network trouble and, after a few such sessions, it was off to eBay to part ways with the system.

Accepting that my home network simply didn’t have the chops to do the OnLive experience justice, I tried to forget about the concept as best I could and use the funds from dumping the hardware on some games for the PS3. Of course the moment I upgraded to a faster cable internet bundle, it was off to eBay again, this time to buy another MicroConsole TV Adapter. A few lock-ups later and off it went via Priority Mail to its next hopeful owner. This process would repeat several more times as advancements in internet speeds (“Oh you just got FiOS fiber-optic internet, hold on while I swing by eBay”) coupled with ever-falling MicroConsole prices. The last one I purchased in late 2014 was new (minus the original box) and came with all of the original hookups, controller, rechargeable battery pack, even the HDMI cable and pair of Duracell batteries for a smooth $17.44.

I had intentions of traveling to friends’ houses with this one in the hopes of locating that one perfect zone where speeds were adequate, the network stable and latency non-existent. Sadly, this one would never even leave its packaging as the company immediately announced it would no longer be offering its monthly game packages and that it would be shutting down all services on April 30, 2015.

A look at the books reveal a very ugly downward spiral for the OnLive balance sheets- having narrowly avoided bankruptcy in August of 2012, being sold off for pennies on the dollar, then trying to make a go of it on borrowed funds for two more years. In the end, Sony picked up all of their patents for a small fraction of what the company owed its creditors and I ended up with a pair of brand new, fairly expensive paperweights.

Picking Up Where OnLive Left Off

I’d like to tell you that with the closing of OnLive, the remote streaming game concept was finally laid to rest but perhaps you’ve heard of a company called flarePlay and their console? Released in late 2013, the flarePlay cloud-based

I’d like to tell you that with the closing of OnLive, the remote streaming game concept was finally laid to rest but perhaps you’ve heard of a company called flarePlay?

service opened with a deal where if you paid for 3 months of service ($29.97 total for unlimited play), they gave you the Microconsole Adapter, controller and hookups on the house.  A similar deal can still be had today though their primary audience seems to be slightly younger than OnLive’s (they offer a Disney game bundle for $9.99 a month in addition to an adult Premium package for $9.99 a month. Of late there is a bundle option for access to every game they offer for $14.99/ month).

You’d think I’d have learned my lesson but I’ve ordered the 3-month package with the hopes of locating that perfect zone where speeds are adequate, the network stable and latency non-existent. I’ve since gotten an email from flare stating they were having some difficulty shipping the console to me and may have to cancel my order. Perhaps I should leave it at that and simply thank them for saving me the hassle of having to deal with eBay next week.

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Sony Acquires OnLive, What's Next? https://www.gameskinny.com/e12zv/sony-acquires-onlive-whats-next https://www.gameskinny.com/e12zv/sony-acquires-onlive-whats-next Fri, 03 Apr 2015 20:10:12 -0400 Ryan Mayle

It looks like Sony is doing more than just selling off many of its assets. In a recent announcement from game streaming service OnLive, Sony has just finished purchasing their company. People who own Sony's PlayStation products won't see much of a change with this acquisition until later down the line. However, OnLive users will stop receiving service as OnLive will be completely shut down April 30th, 2015 with all account records deleted.

This leads the question, "Why would Sony want to buy a company and then shut them down?" It's simple really: to acquire technology patents. Sony is making a big push with cloud gaming with its PlayStation Now service and this will give them the ability to do more with the service without the risks of any legal hurdles.

This purchase is very similar to the 2012 purchase of Gaikai, which was also a game streaming company. The technology they obtained from them helped pave the way to create PlayStation Now as it's used today.

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OnLive Aims to CloudLift Our Opinions https://www.gameskinny.com/maflx/onlive-aims-to-cloudlift-our-opinions https://www.gameskinny.com/maflx/onlive-aims-to-cloudlift-our-opinions Wed, 05 Mar 2014 12:37:09 -0500 Proto Foe

It was 2012 when OnLive was last pushed to market, now in 2014 they are looking to return in a big way. Make that two big ways. 

CloudLift

For £9.99/$14.99 a month, after a 7 day free trial, you can start playing a game on your PC and then stream any PC game you have purchased, be it digitally or physically, to devices such as a laptop, Smart TV, tablets and Macs.

How is this achieved? Simple. Well, simple for those who understand this kind of thing. OnLive will pair with your existing games library, then it will sync your save files, and then you play. Simple.

OnLive Go

Tired of those behemoth install sizes for MMOs? Well OnLive are partnering with Second Life and Warthunder to enable quicker access to their titles. With the size of MMOs ever-increasing, anyway to play them sooner is a good thing in my book.

With our new CloudLift service, and other exciting offerings in the works, we have created a win for all parties: gamers, publishers, digital distributors and OnLive. We’re defining a roadmap that keeps OnLive at the forefront of cloud gaming and cloud computing - Gary Lauder, OnLive's largest investor.

OnLive has continued to innovate in its technology and its business models.

PlayPack is Back

 It will cost £6.99/$9.99 a month and will offer over 250 games at relaunch. If you have missed out on any of the Batman Arkham series, well that is a crying shame, then you can play the trilogy via OnLive.

Publishers and Improvements

Codemasters, Deep Silver, Traveller's Tales and Warner Bros are the first to sign up to the reinvigorated OnLive service. No doubt the addition of new hardware and upgrades helped with the landing of these large players within the industry.

Have you ever used OnLive before? Will you return or try it for the first time after hearing the news of 2.0? Let us know in the comments below, and maybe I'll see you OnLive.

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Weekly Game Time #2 https://www.gameskinny.com/4le2y/weekly-game-time-2 https://www.gameskinny.com/4le2y/weekly-game-time-2 Mon, 08 Jul 2013 16:59:47 -0400 Germ_the_Nobody

Indigo Prophecy

Once I started getting into the game I couldn't help but think it could have been named "Heavy Snow", being the predecessor of Heavy Rain and it's always snowing. I expected a decent game from what I had read about it and had seen, but I definitely wasn't expecting it to be as good as it is. It's an older game and it shows. While the graphics are noticeably dated, it's also just easy to ignore because of the cinematic camera work, the story, and the music. I really think it still holds up very well with its beautiful aesthetics. I'm enjoying it just as much as I enjoyed Heavy Rain. It's really impressive and I've been totally immersed.

cinematic grave

You play as three different characters, two cops and a citizen. So far I really care about two of the characters, not so much for the black guy. Sadly he is totally a stereo-type and kind of boring because of it. I say kind of, because he is a cool dude, it's just sad what they did to him. Even when you play as him the music goes from a dark, moody yet beautiful sound, to 80's hip-hop/porn music. It doesn't necessarily ruin the character, but it did ruin the mood for me. Fortunately it doesn't happen every time you play as him. It was just very noticeable the first time it happened. The more I play, the more I enjoy each of them. But my favorite right now is the female cop.

opening credits

The game sucked me in right from the start. The opening credits were beautiful aesthetically. The music is wonderful. The story pretty much thrusts you right into a dramatic event. I always like that. I used to love stories that dragged out, but not anymore. This one's pacing is really nice. Of course there are also slow parts. I was just glad it started fast. It's deeply story-driven.

Getting started was a bit of a pain. The game won't recognize the right analog stick of my controller so I broke down and modified a few keybinds for the keyboard and I was good to go. It's working out pretty well. There have been a couple of quick-time-events that got me a bit stuck but once I learned how exactly they worked, it became easy. The mechanics of the QTEs are pretty neat and very similar to Heavy Rain. Since I'm playing on the keyboard they are a bit tricky but easy to get used to. Taking the place of the left analog stick on a controller, I have W, A, S, D as my movements. The camera moves while holding the right mouse button in most scenes, but some scenes don't allow you free reign on the camera. You can also go into first-person mode for a look around.

guitar

During the QTEs I have the arrow keys taking the place of the right analog stick of a controller. It probably sounds awkward, and it is a little, but it works out okay because during the QTEs you don't need the mouse or regular buttons. You have these Simon Says style colored button prompts to follow. Two different circles appear on the screen with four colors. Each circle represents each analog stick. Sounds weird doesn't it? See the screenshot above to get a better idea. It's actually pretty fun. And the QTE's aren't the typical ones you're used to in most games. These are a mix of sequences and timed cinematic events, very cool.

For the dialogue scenes you hold the left mouse button and drag the mouse left, right, up, and down for your different choices. For some of the action sequences you drag left, then up, or right, then up, and so on. It's frustrating at first, but it's really not that bad once you get used to it.

cinematic xp 2

If you've played and enjoyed Heavy Rain but, like me, you never experienced Indigo Prophecy, pick it up. You won't regret it. If you have not experienced Heavy Rain, go out of your way to do so. Play it at a friend's. And understand that these are interactive movies. They aren't shooters, they aren't hack-and-slash. They allow you to experience the story by interacting with the characters. Similar to The Walking Dead game but a hundred times more interactive. This isn't the kind of game you will jump into and just play. It's for when you're in the mood to experience a great story. So you'll want to be patient and ready to sit back and enjoy.

Since it's old, you may not want to pay $20 for it. I think it's definitely worth it. But I'm also a super cheap gamer. The game goes on sale maybe twice a year for $5. So when you see it on sale, just pick it up for the next time you're in a mood to enjoy a kickass interactive story.

Lost Planet

It took me awhile to finally pick this up. I read plenty of reviews that practically sold me on the game, but then I'd look at it and I would think it does look cool, but it also looks like just another shooter. It is just another shooter, but it's just another good one! I'm only a couple of hours into it but the story seems pretty decent. It has me interested. The aliens are crazy freaking awesome looking. And they're huge! Of course, the aliens come in assorted sizes. Some are bigger that a skyscraper, others are bigger than a house, and then some are human size or smaller. Most of the ones I've encountered so far are pretty big. I'm loving it!

alien

The game mechanic for health is interesting. I'm still not sure how it fully works. It's been explained in the game already but I have a terrible memory and I just don't care about the abilities names and such. I'm sure I'll start to remember it as I continue playing. You have a shield that's a part of some energy power you have. It slowly drains itself no matter what you do in the game. It's also depleted quicker by the damage you take from enemies. You replenish it by picking up energy from the enemies you kill. You can actually collect a whole crap-ton of this stuff and get a really large shield built up as long as you keep killing enemies.

Being able to get inside of a mech is also really cool. Besides the cool mech aspect, you have a Bionic Commando style grapple-hook. I haven't had to use it too much in my first few steps in the game, but I think it's pretty neat so far.

I just realized something I think is funny. This is another game with a lot of snow. While you can tell the graphics are dated, some of the in-game scenes I've seen early on are pretty dang amazing.

lost planet

Moto GP 13

I haven't played a motorcycle racing sim since I was in my early teens. I can't even remember the names of the ones I had played back then. This was an unexpected nice return to the genre. Of course, I wouldn't have played it if it wasn't added to OnLive cloud-gaming platforms PlayPack. This is their optional monthly subscription plan. If you want to know more about OnLive, feel free to read my article on it.

This isn't a game I would normally buy nowadays. Not because I don't have interest in it, but because I don't have as much interest in this type of game as I used to. I have enough racing games to play already and if I'm gonna buy a new one, I'd prefer one with more impressive graphics. Not that this game doesn't have nice graphics. I just wouldn't call them impressive.

Moto GP 13

With all of OnLive's new releases, I just throw myself into it and see what the newest game on the platform is like. I was surprised at how much fun I had in this one. It's a very serious technical racer. The fact that you need to use two different brakes threw me off quite a bit. But it also intrigued me. That was new to me, and I liked it. I still don't really understand how the brakes are supposed to work, but I have come to experience that using the front broke over the rear brake gives better control. That might depend on your riding style though, I'm not sure. I've only tried one riding style so far. There are several to choose from. I cannot explain them. I have no idea what they even mean. I just read the descriptions of each and picked the one I thought sounded neat.

It's definitely not a racing game I've been used to, since I haven't played a real sim in so long. Going from full speed to almost a full halt is weird. But I definitely like it. I still prefer my arcade racers and crazy play-style in games like Pure and MX vs ATV but I'm really liking this one so far. I'd appreciate any tips. I use the front brake as my hard brake and it usually works out well, but if I use it too late I tend to have the rear of my bike come off the ground and end up in a crash. It's pretty funny but I'd like to play better. I do alternate between the two and use both at the same time, but I still don't really understand how it works. When I use both brakes I, slide out of control often.

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

I made a brief return to the game. I'd completed it not long after the game was released. It's a wonderful game. If you haven't read my review on it, have a look.  I was just in the mood to do some shooting, and I wanted to do it in style. I love cartoon/comic-book style graphics in my games. I'm an artist so that style is special to me. I also hadn't started a New Game Plus yet since I completed it the first time.

I played about half an hour of New Game Plus on the True West difficulty. It's pretty neat, and definitely hard. I had a laugh at myself when I ran out of ammo and had no idea. Then I couldn't even get a new weapon so I had to start the mission all over again. I hadn't played in so long that I couldn't figure out why I couldn't pick up two guns. Apparently I was trying to hold two different guns of the same type, and the game doesn't let you do that. For example you can only hold one type of pistol, shotgun, or rifle. But for some reason the dual-wield hand-held shotguns count as pistols and I didn't realize that. It had been awhile since I played though so I forgot some things. Or, maybe it was just bugged? I dunno.

coj

One of my first steps back into the game had me killing three dudes at once with one shot from each of my duel-wielded shotguns. That was awesome. This game is a real blast!

Portal 2

Seven and a half hours slipped by without my knowing. I hadn't played the game in a month or two and I wasn't in any particular mood, I just wanted to play a game. So I figured why not play some Portal 2? I still haven't completed the first game. I got very far but then I just stopped. The reason I decided to move on to Portal 2 was just because the Steam Trading Card system offers cards for it. I will eventually return to 1 and finish it.

Portal 2

I always forget how awesome these games are. I'm not a big puzzle game fan. I don't mind puzzles or anything, but they're definitely not my favorite type of games. I really liked Portal, but 2 is ridiculously better. I cared about the robots in the first game, but now in the second game the creators have made me care even more. I even care for the super evil master robot. She makes me laugh every time she talks. They all do though. It's some great entertaining stuff. I don't think I've ever laughed as much as I have during this game as I have playing any other game. It's a pretty clever game. There's a nice mesh of puzzles that actually make sense, and puzzles that make absolutely zero sense at all, forcing you to think "outside of the box".

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How I Got Invited To E3 https://www.gameskinny.com/5s188/how-i-got-invited-to-e3 https://www.gameskinny.com/5s188/how-i-got-invited-to-e3 Tue, 02 Jul 2013 16:34:04 -0400 Germ_the_Nobody

OnLive
I've been addicted to "cloud gaming" for a couple of years now. Ever since I turned on and used the OnLive service I've done everything I can to be able to share my experience of it with other gamers. I just love it so much. I found a fan forum for it, which was basically the only place that accepted the platform. Everywhere else was just a bunch of gamers telling me it couldn't work. I knew better.

I've been using the service long enough to have talked to a few staff members from time to time, on the service, and rarely on other social media. Usually if I ever see a staff member online on the service I wish them a wonderful, fun day. I care about these people that contribute to giving me this awesome cloud gaming experience. Also, every time I've ever dealt with customer service they have been super friendly and eagerly helpful.

One staff member in particular, Nate Barsetti, also known as "OnLiveNate" is the one who usually handles OnLive's social media via Facebook and Twitter. He also handles all aspects of Customer Relations including Account Management, Customer Service and Community Management! He is a super cool dude. I've always thought of him to be a nice, friendly person, and pretty dang funny too. I could see it in the responses he gives to users. I think it's pretty amazing how he is able to consistently react professionally and kindly, when there are so many people being hateful.

Several months back OnLive did a neat event that offered up a rare profile avatar on their service if you participated in it. Currently, if you change your profile on the service, you need a staff member to re-upload your special avatar because it's not available from the regular avatar selection. A week-and-a-half or so before E3 was going live, I casually sent Nate a message asking if I could get an avatar fix for my OnLive profile. He responded that it would be no problem. I've bugged him about it a few times. I'm still always surprised and happy when I get a response from a staff member, you know?

Did He Just Say That? 

Then he asked me if I would like to get a pass to E3 for a day! Yeah, I don't know how many times I re-read that message to make sure I wasn't misunderstanding. It was clear as day but I still couldn't believe it. I'm not gonna lie, I cried. I can't remember ever crying happy tears in my life before. I've been on the verge of it, but never actually had it happen. This time the tears wouldn't stop, and of course the laughter. And of course, the more details I got, the more we talked about it, I couldn't stop crying. This went on for a few days. It was insane! I feel weird just talking about it, but I'll never forget it. 

I've been gaming for thirty years. This is my life. I love it. So, E3 was like one of those things I basically knew I'd never get to see in my life but would go nuts if I could. Imagine how you would feel, then multiply that by a billion, seriously! This was a dream come true.

Thinking about it all now still brings tears of joy to my eyes as I write this. After I had allowed myself to let it sink in, I was smiling every single day, all day long, up until the event, through the event, and even on my way home. This is definitely one of the most amazing things to happen to me in my life, other than getting to know, and speak with God. I know that's saying a lot, but that's how much this meant to me. Of course I was also praising and thanking God for it too.

Dealing With The Haters

I'll explain a little bit about the resistance I met with fans and non-fans alike, in order to share what led up to this. Since the second I tried the service, I went around everywhere I could to share my love for the OnLive platform. I was so excited about how the service worked. I visited and posted on many different gaming forums to discuss it. I don't remember how exactly, but I found a fan site called OnLive Fans and joined up. That site is now gone, but a new one has taken its place. (Thank you admins.) If you happen to register there, please use me as a referral!

OnLive has always been slow with its game releases. Long-time fans grew very bitter. I never blamed them for being mad about slow releases and lack of communication from the service. I do hold it against them for treating OnLive and its staff like they are enemies for it, though. I kept trying to point out, "Look, this is the only awesome service we can even do this on. On top of that, everybody else is trying to copy them!" But that was never good enough for them. I never denied the problems, I've just always seen the good outweigh the bad. Then, there are the people who insist it "won't work" even though they admit they've never even tried it. Yeah, makes me laugh too.

It was pretty frustrating constantly arguing (over a period of two years) with non-fans and so-called fans that only wanted to focus on the negative things of the only true cloud gaming service available to us. A lot of people who can't access OnLive where they live talk it down like it's trash. I understand that they can't use it, but that doesn't mean the service sucks, it just sucks that they can't use it right now.

I felt like an outcast for a very long time, because the most vocal people other than myself were people I considered "trolls". It never changed how I saw the service though; it couldn't. The video quality is perfect, coming from OnLive, and the quality only fluctuates depending on my internet connection. I still can't get over it, it's flipping amazing.

Fine, I'll Just Tell The World

I was past the point where I felt like I couldn't share my love for the service on different gaming forums anymore. Being tired of fighting off "trolls" and I guess "troll fans," I had decided to write every single thing I loved about the service and share my feelings about it that way. So even though I couldn't discuss my passion for it with fellow gamers who also loved it, I could at least tell people everything I loved about it and how it works. One hope I had was that it might clear some things up for people who haven't used it.

There is a lot of confusion regarding the service. Every new article about it is always a bit misinformed. Every article about the service would say there was a subscription requirement to use it, which currently isn't true. Most articles about the service were based on any recent news; for example, a newly added game or feature. So they would try to throw in little tidbits of information that just weren't correct. No big deal, but I did want to clear things up.

My article explains in detail exactly how the service works, and I'm pretty sure you can see my passion for the service in it. I definitely put all of my love into it. I couldn't change it now if I wanted to. I have nothing to add. I wrote it after using the platform for two years so it's pretty in-depth. My incredible sister formatted the article for me so that it would look good.

Why Me?

While going over some of the details of my trip to E3 I asked, "why me"? I knew I was always supportive and I do consider myself OnLive's #1 fan but I wanted to know. Nate said that part of the reason I got invited to E3 was because I was "by far the most consistently positive voice in the community". It was noticed! I was hoping that OnLive staff had seen my passion for the service because I expressed it daily for so long. I just never got any actual feedback from it, other than from other "fans" that repeatedly called me a "fanboy" for it. It was an incredible feeling to know that it was recognized. My article was what "sealed the deal".

I had posted this article on a few different sites. I wanted to share it with as many people as I could. This is where the awesome comes in. My article made its way around OnLive's office and their PR  department was impressed! It was also the first article I'd ever written about any of my gaming experiences. (Don't tell OnLive's PR department!)  I can't even express how being told that my article impressed the PR department of my most favorite gaming service made me feel. On top of that, so much that I would get invited to E3? I have tears in my eyes again.

It Gets Better

I was already beyond excited; I had already lost my mind just from being invited to E3. So... I was going over the details with Nate and I mentioned that I don't drive, but I would catch a bus if I had to, and I sure would have. I would have walked, I kid you not. I explained to him that I could probably get a friend to get me there. He asked me what I thought of a Town Car picking me up.

At this point I start shouting out loud "what the f*** is going on", "oh my gawd", and so on, repeatedly. My sister wished she had gotten it on camera. It was the first time in my life that I ever squealed with glee. It was strange, and totally awesome. I was being treated like a king, I don't know how else to describe it, that's exactly how I felt and I was just going bonkers. I'm a poor guy, ya know? I don't own a car because I can't afford to. I buy games cheap and on sale. So here I am, a poor, passionate gamer going to E3 and in a Town Car? I went straight back to believing "this can't be real, this isn't happening". It was impossible, and I still can't help but think of it as a miracle.

I believe I've reached the point where I can move on to my next article expressing how much fun the expo was, and my experience in general there. Thank you so much for reading, I hope you were entertained and could get a feeling of the experience I had, because I really wanted to share that with you.

I will never have enough words to express my gratitude for being able to experience this.

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Could You Soon Be Gaming on a Cloud? https://www.gameskinny.com/ju97q/could-you-soon-be-gaming-on-a-cloud https://www.gameskinny.com/ju97q/could-you-soon-be-gaming-on-a-cloud Wed, 12 Jun 2013 11:21:41 -0400 Capt. Eliza Creststeel

With each generation of game console, the capabilities increase, but so does the price. The next generation of units are starting at $399.99 to $499.99 

The most popular games now cost around $60-$70 each and efforts are being made to limit or eliminate game swapping or used game sales.

So, just getting started with a new system can set you back a lot of money, not to mention hefty subscription fees and accessories.

But, what if you didn't need all that?

What if you just needed a PC, laptop, smartphone, tablet or a TV-top device?

Cloud-Sourcing

The concept of streaming games in nothing new. It was pioneered several years ago, but making the idea practical and getting gamers behind it has taken a little time. Currently the race is on for companies to get their systems together and out to the public.

OnLive (www.onlive.com) - One of the pioneers in game streaming, the company was founded in 2003, but did not go live until June 2010. Now, they have millions of subscribers in the U.S. and Europe. They offer hundreds of well-known titles for a flat $9.99 a month service fee.

Gaikai (www.gaikai.com) - Now a subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment, Gaikai launched in June 2011 and had reached 11 million users by the end of the year. The company has major deals with with some heavy-hitting developers like EA, Capcom, Warner Bros, Machima, and Ubisoft. 

Ubitus (www.ubitus.net) - Another pioneer in cloud gaming and boasting the largest customer base, this Taiwanese company promises a large popular library ported to broadband users in the U.S. and Asia. And at E3, they just announced their new partnership with LG, one of the biggest producers of HDTVs. LG will be working with Ubitus for their next generation of SmartTVs.

CiiNOW (www.ciiNOW.com) - A relative newcomer, they claim to have pioneered a new approach called hybrid streaming. Hybrid streaming consists of streaming graphics primitives as well as video simultaneously. It utilizes some processing on the receiving client to achieve better quality at lower bandwidth.

Their website boasts speeds and latency that beats their competition. CiiNOW swears their connective is actually faster than a local X-Box 360.

GamingAnywhere (www.gaminganywhere) - This outfit just broke out on April 13th. They are promising an open source cloud gaming system. The concept of open development could garner them some quick attention.

Numerous other firms are looking into this potential frontier and many of the heaviest hitters are taking notice or already involved.

Just to clarify, on-demand companies like Valve's Steam are not cloud-sourced as they still require downloading and managing applications on your device.

It's All About the Games

Fortunately, many game developers seem to be getting behind this concept. Cloud gaming has its advantages for them too.

First, they don't have to produce a case, a game disc, manuals and other costly overhead. So, the cost per package drops dramatically. 

And developers can post DLC and updates whenever they're ready. No waiting for patches to download, install and take up precious space on your console. You would be running the patched version the next time you play.

Another barrier that would likely come down are the console-exclusive games. Certain titles have always been monopolized to either the X-Box, Playstation or Nintendo systems. But with Cloud Gaming, this could be a thing of the past. They could all be played from a single connection and play together nicely.

Bottled Lightning

So, how does this work? How can all your favorite titles be piped to you and run just as fast as your console?

Each brand has their own systems and software for doing so, but across the board each provider relies on some similar concepts.

Game Converter - Each title must be converted to a format the streaming system can port. For the most part these appear to be specific to each brand of cloud gaming application. 

Server-Side GPU (Graphics Processor Unit) - The game itself is converted to a stream at the starting end, since the game could be played on any supported outlet. So, the heavy lifting of processing must be done before it's sent to the user.

Streaming - This includes the bulk broadband streaming of game content and video streaming, but also game interaction to provide the needed controller feedback. And all of this is happening in milliseconds.

N-Screen - Converting the stream back into a visual format for the player(s) to perceive and respond to. This can be a critical juncture due to potential latency issues. All of the providers promise their systems are fast enough to produce smooth playing, but only time will tell if broadband loads can keep them at the needed peak.

Christmas May Never Be the Same

Receiving a new video game console at Christmas has become for many families as traditional as having egg nog. Many of us, young and old, have vivid memories of ripping off wrapping paper and bows to see Mario's face grinning at us.

The major console producers make their biggest splash each year on Black Friday and it makes up a large portion of their annual sales. 

Having that familiar box on the TV stand is a common sight. But, for how long?

Cloud gaming piped through your cable box, or maybe someday direct to your SmartTV, Blu-Ray, PC or mobile device may mean we'll have some shelf space open up. But, are many of us willing to give it up? 

Like many people who still prefer paper receipts and hard copies of their bills, some may not want to give up having the hardware and software in the flesh even if it costs more. After all, there is a certain prestige associated with having the latest and greatest on your entertainment center.

So, the real challenge to these cloud gaming companies may be convincing us that we don't.

]]>
Could You Soon Be Gaming on a Cloud? https://www.gameskinny.com/ju97q/could-you-soon-be-gaming-on-a-cloud https://www.gameskinny.com/ju97q/could-you-soon-be-gaming-on-a-cloud Wed, 12 Jun 2013 11:21:41 -0400 Capt. Eliza Creststeel

With each generation of game console, the capabilities increase, but so does the price. The next generation of units are starting at $399.99 to $499.99 

The most popular games now cost around $60-$70 each and efforts are being made to limit or eliminate game swapping or used game sales.

So, just getting started with a new system can set you back a lot of money, not to mention hefty subscription fees and accessories.

But, what if you didn't need all that?

What if you just needed a PC, laptop, smartphone, tablet or a TV-top device?

Cloud-Sourcing

The concept of streaming games in nothing new. It was pioneered several years ago, but making the idea practical and getting gamers behind it has taken a little time. Currently the race is on for companies to get their systems together and out to the public.

OnLive (www.onlive.com) - One of the pioneers in game streaming, the company was founded in 2003, but did not go live until June 2010. Now, they have millions of subscribers in the U.S. and Europe. They offer hundreds of well-known titles for a flat $9.99 a month service fee.

Gaikai (www.gaikai.com) - Now a subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment, Gaikai launched in June 2011 and had reached 11 million users by the end of the year. The company has major deals with with some heavy-hitting developers like EA, Capcom, Warner Bros, Machima, and Ubisoft. 

Ubitus (www.ubitus.net) - Another pioneer in cloud gaming and boasting the largest customer base, this Taiwanese company promises a large popular library ported to broadband users in the U.S. and Asia. And at E3, they just announced their new partnership with LG, one of the biggest producers of HDTVs. LG will be working with Ubitus for their next generation of SmartTVs.

CiiNOW (www.ciiNOW.com) - A relative newcomer, they claim to have pioneered a new approach called hybrid streaming. Hybrid streaming consists of streaming graphics primitives as well as video simultaneously. It utilizes some processing on the receiving client to achieve better quality at lower bandwidth.

Their website boasts speeds and latency that beats their competition. CiiNOW swears their connective is actually faster than a local X-Box 360.

GamingAnywhere (www.gaminganywhere) - This outfit just broke out on April 13th. They are promising an open source cloud gaming system. The concept of open development could garner them some quick attention.

Numerous other firms are looking into this potential frontier and many of the heaviest hitters are taking notice or already involved.

Just to clarify, on-demand companies like Valve's Steam are not cloud-sourced as they still require downloading and managing applications on your device.

It's All About the Games

Fortunately, many game developers seem to be getting behind this concept. Cloud gaming has its advantages for them too.

First, they don't have to produce a case, a game disc, manuals and other costly overhead. So, the cost per package drops dramatically. 

And developers can post DLC and updates whenever they're ready. No waiting for patches to download, install and take up precious space on your console. You would be running the patched version the next time you play.

Another barrier that would likely come down are the console-exclusive games. Certain titles have always been monopolized to either the X-Box, Playstation or Nintendo systems. But with Cloud Gaming, this could be a thing of the past. They could all be played from a single connection and play together nicely.

Bottled Lightning

So, how does this work? How can all your favorite titles be piped to you and run just as fast as your console?

Each brand has their own systems and software for doing so, but across the board each provider relies on some similar concepts.

Game Converter - Each title must be converted to a format the streaming system can port. For the most part these appear to be specific to each brand of cloud gaming application. 

Server-Side GPU (Graphics Processor Unit) - The game itself is converted to a stream at the starting end, since the game could be played on any supported outlet. So, the heavy lifting of processing must be done before it's sent to the user.

Streaming - This includes the bulk broadband streaming of game content and video streaming, but also game interaction to provide the needed controller feedback. And all of this is happening in milliseconds.

N-Screen - Converting the stream back into a visual format for the player(s) to perceive and respond to. This can be a critical juncture due to potential latency issues. All of the providers promise their systems are fast enough to produce smooth playing, but only time will tell if broadband loads can keep them at the needed peak.

Christmas May Never Be the Same

Receiving a new video game console at Christmas has become for many families as traditional as having egg nog. Many of us, young and old, have vivid memories of ripping off wrapping paper and bows to see Mario's face grinning at us.

The major console producers make their biggest splash each year on Black Friday and it makes up a large portion of their annual sales. 

Having that familiar box on the TV stand is a common sight. But, for how long?

Cloud gaming piped through your cable box, or maybe someday direct to your SmartTV, Blu-Ray, PC or mobile device may mean we'll have some shelf space open up. But, are many of us willing to give it up? 

Like many people who still prefer paper receipts and hard copies of their bills, some may not want to give up having the hardware and software in the flesh even if it costs more. After all, there is a certain prestige associated with having the latest and greatest on your entertainment center.

So, the real challenge to these cloud gaming companies may be convincing us that we don't.

]]>
Cloud Gaming: OnLive And What's So Awesome About It https://www.gameskinny.com/e1nx1/cloud-gaming-onlive-and-whats-so-awesome-about-it https://www.gameskinny.com/e1nx1/cloud-gaming-onlive-and-whats-so-awesome-about-it Fri, 31 May 2013 17:36:44 -0400 Germ_the_Nobody

OnLive: Instant Gaming

I love almost every video game I play in all genres.  As a kid, I played arcade games, and at one point in my life, I thought that Atari was God.  Then the consoles became more and more sophisticated, until finally, gaming became an interactive experience with online services like Xbox Live and MMORPGs like World of Warcraft.  OnLive is the next generation of gaming -- streaming games on the "cloud" that I can play with other people, or just sit back and watch, if I want to.  Other gamers can check out what I'm doing, and I can go see what they're up to.  I'm still in love with how OnLive performs even after two years of using it.

You only need a tiny client that's not even 7mb in size to access hundreds of AAA and Indie Video Games streaming through the internet to you, just like Youtube or Netflix videos do.  So you're not spending hours downloading and installing these 5g to 20g games onto your PC, it's instant gaming! Not only that but you have the same exact access to those same game saves and games on your android phone and tablet -- not all games have touch controls, though.  (Sadly, its apparent that Apple are little b****es or OnLive would have been accessible on the iOS already.  Sorry Apple users! You can get Androids pretty cheap though, if you want. /wink)

Subscriptions

Standard Purchases

Just like Amazon or Steam or any other similar digital purchases, you buy games from the service.  The normal prices do tend to be expensive (normal retail price) but they have their sales too and even giveaway events if you follow them on Facebook or Twitter.  These are only playable on the service, you do not get a downloadable version.  You are required to be connected to the internet since these games are streaming to you. The Witcher 2 is an exception and if you buy it you also get a copy from GoG.com.  They may have similar options in the future but at this point it's not normal.

PlayPack

This is the subscription option they have --  it has over 250 games now. Most of the games are older, but you're likely to enjoy at least half of them.  Even if you don't play them all the time, you'll be like, "Oh wow, I love these games!"  I would name the ones I enjoy on there but I don't feel like looking up the 100+ game titles right now.  I'll name a few hits, though: Bioshock, Borderlands, Tomb Raider(s), Hitman(s) -- there are a bunch of great Indie games too.  My favorite in the PlayPack is Advent Rising.  The PlayPack costs an optional $10 a month.  A major bonus to this subscription is you also get a 30% discount on everything in the Marketplace including accessories such as the Micro-console or controllers as long as you are subscribed!

Unique Features

Arena

A feature known as "Spectating" that allows you to view a large number of players currently live playing on the service.  It's basically watching someone stream a game but you can switch around to a multitude of streams and pick which game you want to view (that's available on the service, of course).  A select few games do not have the feature enabled but most do.

The default option of this feature is to allow access to any user to view you while you play a game.  You do have the option to disable it. Another feature of the Arena is the option to "cheer" or "jeer" someone as they play.  This is a reason why some people disable spectating, to stop a spam of "jeers" on their screens.  However you can also simply disable the notifications from showing up on your screen while still allowing people to spectate you.  The choice is yours.  There is also voice chat which is probably another reason people may disable spectating but so far I have never experienced an issue with anybody coming into my game and screaming into my headset. I also just don't wear my headset unless I know I'm going to be talking with someone.  So I haven't been bothered by that.

Brag Clips

I don't know how else to describe it other than super bad-ass awesomeness, but here are some words on it.  This feature allows you to record the last ten seconds of your game-play.  So if you just did something you thought was cool a few seconds ago you, just hit your key-bind Alt+B (if you're playing on the PC client, or there's a single button on the controller to hit (which I feel isn't in a very easy place to quickly reach and tap but you do get used to it)) and it creates a video clip of your game play.

They implemented a Facebook connect awhile back that allows all of your in game Brag Clips and Achievements (again your choice as to which you display) to post directly to Facebook.  There currently is no Youtube or Twitch connection, but that's of course possible in the future.  You are able to use RealPlayer to get your Brag Clips from Facebook onto Youtube if you want.  Currently you can save up to fifty Brag Clips onto your OnLive account that show up on your profile. (It used to be only ten -- oh my gosh!)

Multi-View (Beta)

Check this out: Multi-View shown off.

It's currently only use-able by beta testers which are under an NDA and those users cannot talk about it freely sadly.  It's all shown there though, pretty incredible right?  

Other Features

Free Trials

Almost every game on the service allows you to trial it for free for fifteen to thirty minutes and that trial is re-playable as many times as you want.  It will always be the first fifteen to thirty minutes of the game, though.  This will allow you to see if the service will be playable for you. You can even trial the games in your browser at their main website.

A Growing Library

The game library isn't currently near as big as any gamer would want it to be, but it does have a lot of really great games including The Darkness IIAssassins Creed 2 - RevelationsSleeping Dogs (my current fav game!), and Darksiders 2. It doesn't have every popular AAA but it certainly has a worthy amount of them. The library has always grown, but at a slow pace.

The Dark Side

Any service like this, no matter how awesome, is going to have a down side. With OnLive, your internet connection needs to be good.  Even if you "have good internet", you still need to be able to maintain a steady connection to OnLive, in order to play the games.  Thankfully, you can try the service completely free.  You can either go to OnLive.com and try their games in your browser, or you can sign up for a free account and download the tiny client to see how the full client works.  If the service doesn't currently work great for you now, but you think it's a cool idea, be sure to keep checking back with them.  When I first tried the service I couldn't connect properly for two months.  Of course, I wasn't trying every single day -- LOL -- it took me that long to finally see that I could connect and use it.  I feel fortunate that it didn't take longer.  =p And of course there’s the whole bandwidth issue which i’m fortunate enough to not have to deal with for now.

And Finally...

I love everything about the service.  I'ts been two years since I started using it, and it never fails to impress me.  I love just booting it up.  The service does encounter errors, but it's far less irritating when it's not taxing my own PC.  When it happens on OnLive, I'm just like, "Damnit! You bastards!", and I reboot the game. Unlike my PC, OnLive doesn't usually take ten minutes to reboot a game, or force me to reboot my computer, or urge me to smash my PC into itty bitty tiny pieces.  Anyways, the service does run into issues just like any service would, but it's still awesome.

OnLive filed for ABC bankruptcy and transferred ownership to a new company under the same name at the end of August 2012, but they are still alive and kickin', with zero interruption. However, anything can happen.  Be wary of it if you must, but at least check out how awesome cloud gaming can be and is going to be.  It still blows my mind.

A lot of OnLive’s features were part of Sony’s PS4 reveal. =)

The service has games that can be played by a younger audience but it does require you to be 18 to have an account.

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Cloud Gaming: How PlayStation 4's Gaikai Streaming Tech Could End Platform-Specific Gaming https://www.gameskinny.com/zpujy/cloud-gaming-how-playstation-4s-gaikai-streaming-tech-could-end-platform-specific-gaming https://www.gameskinny.com/zpujy/cloud-gaming-how-playstation-4s-gaikai-streaming-tech-could-end-platform-specific-gaming Thu, 21 Feb 2013 09:55:38 -0500 Mat Westhorpe

I approached watching last night's Playstation 2013 stream with caution, suspicious of the inevitable marketing spiel, buzzwords and bright lights. Sure enough, a procession of industry luminaries were rolled out to sell us their latest products, some of which looked interesting, but others seemed a bit limp for the “next gen” stage.

The PlayStation 4 was announced to the surprise of no-one and of course the processing clout and graphical ability is streets ahead of its predecessor – and about bloody time – consoles have been languishing in yesterday's technology for over half a decade.

A Brave New World of Vapourware

But it transpired that the key feature of the PlayStation 4 wasn't even specifically about the PlayStation 4, or even consoles. Sony has picked up on the quiet revolution of cloud gaming which has been slowly gathering pace for the last couple of years. Excuse the pun, but at first this all went over my head and I've got others to thank for enlightening me (thanks MR).

Sony's 2012 acquisition of cloud gaming platform Gaikai for $380m gave the corporation the facility to deliver streaming games without the need for high-end technology at the cost of the consumer. Most of the technology overhead and GPU demand is needed server-side. Essentially, if the gamer's device can watch NetFlix, then it can run streamed games.

What is really revolutionary about this concept is that, in theory, it renders platform-specific titles entirely redundant. If the streaming service provider (in Sony's case, Gaikai) has a given game in its library, then that game would be equally playable on any device capable of displaying the visual stream. There's no reason why it would need to be a PlayStation 4 - Sony is already touting the PS Vita as the mobile alternative, but why stop there? Why not use the PlayStation 3 or even a non-Sony platform?

To familiarise myself with the cloud gaming concept, I spent some time on my laptop playing Aliens vs Predator via the OnLive platform - it was a smooth and enjoyable gaming experience, so the technology clearly works even in its early form. Potentially the only limits are those imposed by the industry powerbrokers.

Who Controls the Clouds?

Ultimately, it will come down to licensing and artificial marketing constraints imposed by the likes of Sony. But with this streaming technology, there seems to be no technical reason why the latest triple-A “PlayStation 4” title could not be played on an OUYA. In theory.

Of course, there must clearly still be technical kinks in the process, otherwise gaming through streaming networks like OnLive and Gaikai would already be ubiquitous. The incomprehensible amount of processing power required to deliver high-end gaming to the masses must provide some kind of bottleneck. NVIDIA's GRID cloud gaming servers seem to be the industry standard and show that latency is not a major concern, but a cloud-based streaming game service would still be entirely at the mercy of the reliability and effectiveness of the internet connection, creating something of a geographical lottery.

So whilst the future of gaming may come down to paying NetHax or LoveGames $6.99 per month to play licensed Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft games, there are still some hurdles to overcome. This means that having some high-end technical clout at the user end for offline gaming is still very much a necessity to keep up with the Joneses and has thankfully been confirmed on the PlayStation 4.

But the future of platform-exclusive gaming is... clouded.

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Gaming for the Chronically Cash-Challenged: Part 2 https://www.gameskinny.com/i5u9b/gaming-for-the-chronically-cash-challenged-part-2 https://www.gameskinny.com/i5u9b/gaming-for-the-chronically-cash-challenged-part-2 Fri, 18 Jan 2013 03:03:15 -0500 Adrienne Brown

As I am sure you already know, gaming takes a financial investment. Sometimes, that investment is so large that it threatens marriages, results in utilities being shut off, and malnutrition. These consequences can be avoided, and I am here to show you how. This second installment of Gaming for the Chronically Cash-Challenged features a service that brings over 200 games that you actually want to play to you for the price of a medium cheese pizza. This is made possible through one of the newest and most innovative gaming models to hit the scene- Cloud Gaming.

Curious?

The service is called OnLive. It features games from most genres, including relatively current titles. Your can buy and own games with OnLive, but you won't be saving much money this way. Their true benefit is their cloud gaming feature. For $9.99, you have access to a large library. The downside is that you don't own the games. The upside is that OnLive lets you save your game progress in the cloud, allowing you to access it anywhere. Anywhere isn't an exaggeration either, as they support a range of devices including Smart HDTVs, Android enabled phones and tablets, Mac, and of course PC. Furthermore, unlike renting, there are no late fees, or chance of receiving a broken disc from that mailed services. Other benefits include game demos (those things that seem to be disappearing that let us see if we like a game before handing out moolah), a very cool dashboard, and the ability to cancel anytime.

Sounds good, right? So what's the catch?

Well, so far, I haven't found one that has completely turned me off. I should mention that they do sell a game console for televisions that runs for $99.99, and a wireless controller that costs $49.99. The controller is interesting, as it is compatible with several Smart HDTVs (LG Google TV for instance) as well as tablets and smartphones. I guess if forced to pick out just one negative, it is the absence of a FAQ from their website. It did make finding answers to simple questions a bit more challenging, but a quick click on the support page and a little research cleared most of that up.

The bottom line.

Basically, if you have a spare ten bucks, this is a great service to consider. The add-on peripherals are not needed for basic PC play making this a perfect candidate for my list of inexpensive gaming resources. One short download for over 200 games, most of which any gamer would definitely play, is a great deal. The ability to start on one device at home, and continue on a tablet while away is even better. OnLive has taken online game delivery to the next level, and for a price that won't cause you to go into debt.

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