A little known startup called Onlive has announced that plans to change the face of online gaming forever by bringing the concept of cloud computing to the world of consoles.
The company made the announcement at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and is meant to give more details in a few hours as its site goes live.
In a scenario that is weirdly reminiscent of the infamous Phantom vapourware console from 2002, Onlive wants to use micro consoles, the equivalent of thin clients, to stream graphic-intensive titles over ultra fast internet connection. This, says Onlive, would make hardware requirements obsolete.
Using proprietary compression algorithms, the company says it will be able to eliminate problems associated with bandwidth and lag issues. The online gaming service was spun off from Rearden Studios, which will use its own servers to take away the burden of doing the heavy calculation.
Onlive has the backing of a number of big gaming firms including EA, Warner Bros. Interactive, Ubisoft and Take-Two and in an era where players have become acquainted with Content Distribution systems like Steam, Onlive could well become another platform to be reckoned with.
No pricing or availability have been confirmed by the company but we know already the system will run on Mac or Windows (no news about Linux compatibility). Don't expect Microsoft or Nintendo titles anytime soon for very obvious reasons.
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Good luck to them. We would dearly like to get a small firm kick the b*tt of the big companies but that's very, very unlikely to happen for a reason. It will jeopardise too many businesses. From Intel to Sony, the big guns have too much to lose. Onlive is certainly the kind of company content owners like Music labels, gaming companies and film studios appreciate.