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OnLive up and running next year, says BT

The potential death of games consoles as we know them could be edging closer, as BT is planning to have its OnLive cloud gaming service up and running by the end of next year.

Speaking to PCR, a BT spokesperson said the company will, "announce further details about our launch plans later this year, but we would hope to make it available by the end of 2011."

BT is now clearly more optimistic about how long it will take to implement OnLive. When it first announced its deal with OnLive last month, the company told us that we may have to wait until 2012 until the service was up for grabs.

Unlike traditional games consoles that are packed with hardware, OnLive instead gets its processing power from banks of machines online. The resulting images are converted into a video stream that's sent to your PC, Mac or OnLive gaming device, enabling you to still play the game in real-time.

According to PCR, the BT spokesperson said the company expects "cloud-based distribution models for gaming to become increasingly attractive and mainstream," as more and more people get connected to broadband.

Connections could be a problem for OnLive over here, with many areas of the UK still struggling to get a 2Mb/sec broadband connection. BT says that OnLive will require a 5Mb/sec connection for its HD gaming service, while standard definition gaming will need a 1.5Mb/sec connection.

BT now owns a 2.6 per cent share in OnLive, and is the only ISP that will be able to offer the service as a part of a broadband package. The company says it plans to start trialling OnLive in the UK later this year.