Forget your PS3s and your Xbox 360s, soon you'll be getting your gaming fix on your TV, PC and even your iPad as the cloud gaming service OnLive UK launch draws nearer on the horizon.
Already making waves in the US, OnLive is partnering with BT to bring the gaming tech to the UK. But, just how does OnLive work? How much will it cost? If these are the kind of questions currently scrambling around in your head, fear not, as we take a look at the key things you need to know about the cloud gaming service.
OnLive: What is it?
OnLive is a cloud-based gaming on-demand service which allows customers to play the latest games over the internet on a HDTV, PC, Mac, iPad and Android tablets like the HTC Flyer. US television manufacturer Vizio already has the OnLive technology integrated into TVs, so a similiar setup could well launch with a major TV manufacturer in the UK too.
OnLive: How does it work?
Cloud-based gaming works by removing the gaming grunt from your home, instead, all the hard work is done by OnLive data centres. By removing the hardware from the home the customer never has to upgrade to a new console, OnLive will constantly update their hardware making sure it's the best it can be.
Because it is essentially what you could call 'interactive streaming', the hardware requirements are very small, which enables OnLive to be compatible with a range of devices.
In the US, OnLive advises a minimum broadband speed requiement of 2Mbps, which is good news for UK customers, as the average is 6.8Mbps according to peer-to-peer media distributor Pando Networks. However, many areas in the UK still suffer from slow internet speeds. A BT spokesperson has said a 5Mbps connection speed is needed to enjoy OnLive games in HD.
OnLive MicroConsole and controller
The main way you'll interact with OnLive is through the MicroConsole, the OnLive Wireless Controller and OnLive Universal Controller. The first is for use with a HDTV while the latter is designed to be compatible with PC, Mac, the iPad and Android tablets.
Could OnLive ever feature on the Xbox 360 or PS3? At the moment that seems like a no, however in an exclusive interview with T3, OnLive's CEO Steve Perlman did reveal that they'd been doing some testing and found that the likes of the PS3 and the Xbox 360 could run OnLive, it was simply a matter of getting those manufacturers on board. Perlman did also state that he did not believe that OnLive was a console competitor believing that there is room for both gaming platforms to exist.
Around 100 games are said to be ready for UK launch, and if the service follows suit with the launch over in the US we could expect extra games to be added on a weekly basis. Interestingly, according to OnLive CEO Steve Perlman, both Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 could land on OnLive in time for the UK launch.
OnLive offers not only full multiplayer on any game that already boasts it as a feature, but it also adds in its own features such as taking 'Brag Clips'. These are short clips you've recorded of your greatest moments in gaming, they can then be used to show off to mates or simply kept as a momento. Add to that chat and the ability to drop in and watch what your buddies are up to and you've got the full monty.
One of the great features of OnLive, because of its internet-based nature, is spectating. Catering for the gaming community, users can drop in and watch games being played live, whether it's to check out a prospective purchase or just to get some tips.
OnLive UK price
As yet there's no official pricing for the UK but we do know how it'll work. Becoming an account holder is free, which will give you access to the OnLive community and play demos. From there you can rent any game for three or five days or buy it outright. If you're perhaps more of a hardcore gamer then you can get the 'PlayBack Bundle' which is a monthly subscription allowing unlimited access to over 70 of their titles along with a discount on buying the others.
We spoke to a BT spokesperson who refused to go into detail about UK pricing but did say the service will be offered to both existing and new BT Broadband customers. New customers will be drawn in through a series of bundle packages, with payment of the OnLive MicroConsole, controller and monthly subscription being paid directly to BT. Existing customers may need to upgrade to a completely new contract altogether.
OnLive UK release date
The OnLive UK launch date has been set for September 22nd, so there's is not too long to wait to play it. Remember to keep your eyes glued to T3 for our OnLive review.
Are you excited about the launch of OnLive? Would you swap your console for it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.