OnLive cloud gaming comes to Android and iPhone

News Ben Griffin 10:11, 8 Dec 2011

A glimpse of the future is here: OnLive has announced the release of its cloud-based gaming service that works on Android and iOS devices

OnLive has announced its new OnLive app, which allows you to play video games through your iOS or Android device as well as a television or monitor.

The application is now available for download on the Android Market and will soon land on the App Store.

Thanks to the wonders of cloud technology, OnLive does all the work of running video games for you. Graphics processing, game saves – it’s all done on hardware remotely so you don’t even need discs or a console clogging up your front room.

All you need is an Internet connection capable of around 5MB, if you plan to output to a HD television, and between 2MB and 3MB for an Android tablet like the Motorola Xoom, Amazon Kindle Fire or Apple’s iPad 2, and you are good to go. Connection speed requirements are even less if you play through a smartphone.

What’s most clever about OnLive is that all you need is a display to see the game. You don’t need a monster PC with liquid cooling and twin-graphics cards because OnLive takes care of all that. And that means you can be playing Batman: Arkham Asylum or Rockstar's LA Noire on your iPad 2, which is, frankly, incredible. No longer is hardware a limitation – you only need a compatible device.

You might be thinking - do I have to use touch controls? Well, the answer is yes and no. Around 25 games have been adapted to include touch controls, including Lego Batman (which incidentally will be given away free to subscribers) on a case-by-case basis, so the option is there for titles deemed appropriate.

If you would rather avoid touch controls like the plague, though, OnLive has been wise in its approach to the market because you can use the controller for every game. This does mean you need to lug a controller around if you plan on travelling but that’s a small price for gaining what is essentially an Xbox controller with an orange logo that connects via Wi-Fi.

OnLive

So how do you get the games?

There are a number of ways, one of which involves renting a game for three to five days. Alternatively, you can buy a game or opt-in to pay for an all-you-can-eat service, which means you can access any game you like when you like.

Speaking to OnLive’s UK General Manager Bruce Grove, we asked whether OnLive would be a factor in the decline of the games console. He said he hoped the service would play a role in the future of gaming and that ‘the next generation of consoles will certainly include tech like it.’

He went on to say the limitations are still an issue, though, such as connection speeds: ‘You still need a good broadband connection,’ something he admitted a lot of the UK doesn’t yet have.

We’ve not had a chance to put the service properly through its paces but we are certainly very excited about the prospect of playing premium video games on just about anything. At the least, OnLive hints at a future where the physical games console as we know and love it is but a distant memory.

Whether this will play out as OnLive envisages remains to be seen, but we think this could be a very big deal in the coming year. No doubt Microsoft, Apple and Sony are all eyeing the technology and how it could affect their respective sales and market positions.  

If curious, it’s free to sign-up so you can check out the service yourself. iOS users - you'll have to wait as the app is still awaiting approval.

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