What is OnLive?

What is OnLive you may ask? Well, I first heard about it due to the big Gamestop “fiasco” where the people over at gamestop were removing OnLive codes codes from the boxes of the game Deus Ex before resealing them and selling them on. More can be read on this here.

After hearing about this I had just presumed that Onlive was some kind of Steam alternative, similar to what EA’s Origin is trying to do. But just 2 days I ago I was on youtube and decided to go to a relatively popular youtuber’s page, TotalBiscuit. He has a series where called “WTF is…” where he reviews an indie game or a service that not too many people are familiar with.

The video on his page was that of the OnLive service and having heard of it but not knowing much about it, I decided to watch it. I will include the video at the bottom of this blog post but mind you, it’s fairly lengthy (37:44). So after watching it for a while he said that PC’s that aren’t that powerful would be able to stream game they wouldn’t normally be capable of playing. Intrigued by this, I paused the video less than 5 minutes in and decided to go download the OnLive client.

I downloaded it and had it opened and saw that the new Batman game was there, Batman: Arkham City, a game my laptop was definitely not capable of playing. So I opened up the batman page and saw that a free trial was available. I clicked the start free trial button and was absolutely shocked by what happened. The game opened, instantly. Bear in mind that this game is 11GB. After clicking it it allowed me to play 30 minutes of the game from the very start.

OnLive works by opening the game on servers and streaming the gameplay directly to your computer. You pressing buttons sends this information to their servers and they send you back the screen with VERY little lag. I was absolutely awestruck by this. I literally didn’t think anything like this, with this little lag, was even possible. Even with my slow-ish internet connection, 8 Mbps down 1Mbps up, I was able to play the game without the lag being too noticeable.Something even more amazing is that you can play all these games on your phone. Because it’s not about the power of your device and just your internet speed you are able to download the OnLive Android app and play these top tier PC games on your phone/tablet. I played Dirt 3, in full graphics, on my phone. My PC can’t do that. This stuff is mind boggling.

Would I use OnLive to buy my games though? The answer unfortunately, is no. While it is an amazing piece of technology, it would be impossible to play any sort of game competitively. Just imagine attempting to play Call of Duty or Battlefield where there was even a tiny delay between what you did with your mouse and what happened on-screen. The way I could imagine using this service best is to use it to play these 30 minute demos to find out whether or not you wish to buy the game somewhere else, which is definitely not what they intended.

It is amazing and you should definitely try it out but I would not use it to replace Steam.



TotalBiscuit’s WTF is… – Onlive video: