Onlive gaming comes to iPad [UPDATED Video]

Cloud-based gaming service Onlive will soon be heading to a tablet near you.

The company says that its technology, which allows CPU-hungry games titles to be played on lesser hardware by doing much of the complex number crunching on its own cloud-based hardware rather than the host device, is a perfect fit for Apple's iPad, Android tablets, and even some smartphones.

Onlive claims that 'virtually all' of its current roster of games - which includes AAA titles like the [possibly] forthcoming Duke Nukem Forever and the Assassin's Creed series - will be perfectly playable on the hand-held devices.

You will, of course, need a pretty robust Wi-Fi connection to keep the frame rates up, but gamers put off by the prospect of having to use clanky on-screen controls need not worry. Apparently, Onlive's universal wireless controller will work with all of the games which make it to iOS and Android.

"The OnLive Player App for iPad and Android shows how with the power of the cloud, the question is not whether cloud gaming will be able to catch up to consoles, it will be whether consoles will be able to catch up to cloud gaming," Onlive's Steve Perlman told Euro Gamer.

The prospect of playing fully-specced PC games on an iPad is causing some drollage here in the thinq dungeon, but we have one slight misgiving.

The subscription-based service, which will no doubt make it onto Apple's slablet via a free app, will make lots of money for Onlive, but how is Apple going to get its slice of the pie?

As we all know, nothing makes it onto an iDevice without Apple grabbing its share (fair or otherwise) of the cash, so unless Onlive is planning to hammer out some kind of split-revenue deal with Steve Jobs' attack accountants, we can see the Cupertino company placing all sorts of obstacles in this one's way.

Android, on the other hand, lets any old riff-raff in, so we'll expect to see this week's Onlive mobile E3 demo running on Google-powered hardware rather than Apple's.

Onlive is currently only available in the USA but a wider launch including the UK has been promised for later in the year and you can sign up for a gamer tag right now.

[UPDATE]
We've discovered that UK users can get at Onlive's US servers, have a goold old snoop around, and even play tons of 30-minute demos of full games. Check out the back door here.

[UPDATE]

Onlive has just posted a demonstration video of its gaming service running on a tablet device which we've embedded below.