OnLive snubbing E3

COO Mike McGarvey says on-demand game-streaming service has no place at retailer-oriented event.

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OnLive set the industry atwitter when it unveiled its on-demand game-streaming service during this year's Game Developers Conference. By way of a PC and Mac software application or small TV plug-in device, OnLive promises to deliver new, top-tier titles from publishers such as Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Take-Two directly to gamers. However, many questions remain as to whether or not OnLive will deliver on its market-disrupting potential.

OnLive, now with more pictures.

Unforutnately, answers to those questions won't be coming out of the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo. In a post to the company's official blog, OnLive chief operating officer Mike McGarvey confirmed that his company would be skipping the Entertainment Software Association's annual event, and in the process derided the retail economic model that has thus far defined the gaming industry.

"Due to a number of different factors...the currently available distribution methods for video games present extreme challenges for developers and publishers," wrote McGarvey. "This isn't a new development by any means. For years, industry experts have been monitoring and predicting this outcome."

The former Eidos CEO went on to note that while development and distribution costs have skyrocketed in recent years, the retail price of games has remained relatively unchanged. The stagnant price point, he said, is further aggravated by piracy and game trade-ins, creating a situation in which it is incredibly difficult for publishers and developers to turn a profit on their products. This situation, McGarvey then quite naturally noted, is one that his company hopes to alleviate.

"We will be delivering the same top video games titles exclusively through broadband Internet, in the same release window they are available in retail, but with significant economic, convenience, and feature benefits to both publishers and gamers," he continued. "And, this is the main reason why OnLive won't have a booth at E3 this year. More than anything, E3 is a retail-oriented conference, both for retail platforms and retail publishers, and OnLive is neither."

OnLive is currently undergoing closed beta testing, with an open beta period planned for this summer. The service's full commercial launch is expected this winter. For more information on OnLive, check out GameSpot's extensive rundown of the service from this year's GDC.

Discussion

207 comments
Craft2299
Craft2299

I wonder how this will effect the consoles..

Mhmthetank
Mhmthetank

i have a Question how do we buy the games in onlive useing vesa and master card or it will be as the xbox 360 with points ?

Adam314-
Adam314-

Onlive is going to be the biggest fail since... never mind there is nothing that will fail more.

SSBFan12
SSBFan12

@PSFreak1: I agree it is.

ekimis
ekimis

bring it, this is the way gaming should go and if you haven't noticed is more or less going this way like it or not.

asian_pride69
asian_pride69

Saw it at GDC. Looks impressive, but I still want to see more of OnLive's capabilities.

PSFreak1
PSFreak1

onlive is revolutionary!!

gmax
gmax

OnLive is a pipe dream. If bandwidth caps don't stop it, the speed of light will.

VirtualTofu
VirtualTofu

My PC isn't even a year old and will barely run UTIII, so I'm happy to hear this. I'm buying this for sure. Forget future consoles!

IRoxxorUrSoxxor
IRoxxorUrSoxxor

Translation of PR man bull ****: "We are not even close to being ready for an E3 demonstration, so we've fed this canned line so we don't scare investors."

DarkNeoBahamut
DarkNeoBahamut

let's see some practical data, and then I may buy it

borninvincible
borninvincible

this sounds interesting, but i am not convinced yet.

Gamer4Iife
Gamer4Iife

Obviously... OnLive isn't a platform, it's just a service that lets you play PC games without owning a gaming rig.

shinian
shinian

I hate the idea of onlive. If it works it will eliminate the box game editions. As a collector I just can't stand it.

GuybrushAz
GuybrushAz

I'm happy with what I already got. but I hope anything succeeds in the industry so great devs will keep making great games!!!

pakhair
pakhair

On Live sounds incredible but still we can't say anything about it

-F-ail
-F-ail

Honestly, from the minute I saw it (then signed up for the beta) I've become an Onlive fanboy. I'm VERY disappointed to hear that it's not coming to this years E3, and I really do hope that everything goes as planned, because I want to see this "game-market-rocking"..."console" do what it is said to do...

hhap52
hhap52

this look so good in the beginning espicially with the cheap price. But with subscription payment? I think I'd rather buy a high-end console to complement my wii and DS and ill be fine.

Junior_AIN
Junior_AIN

I don't know how this gonna turn out. But so far I'm not interested.

Kai000001
Kai000001

XenoLair: I just thought I'd point out to those who don't know, "5 Mbps" is NOT "5 Megabytes Per Second", it's "5 Megabits Per Second" (MBps = Megabytes Per Second, Mbps = Megabits Per Second). So you need a connection capable of "640 Kilobytes Per Second" to get the game streamed in HD. For SD you need a connection capable of 192 Kilobytes Per Second. :) As for their server setup, they have the highest end possible gaming servers, upgraded at intervals (No extra fee when they upgrade) located in a datacenter where they've taken the time to get the servers response time down to microseconds (sub-milleseconds) to reduce the lag between the player and the server enough to hopefully have no noticable lag.

mpeg3s
mpeg3s

Only an American company would come out with a service product to test the waters to see if the service works. Sure they know it's the future and Star Trek's Warp drive? The only way this will do well if it remains FREE!

sequekhan
sequekhan

So everyone needs really good broadband in addition to a good pc to play games? Or a cable? Even then internet streaming sucks. This idea is dead already.

XenoLair
XenoLair

I still don't think this will work. More and more people today want true HD (gonna buy a new LCD for that "just the right" look) and HD via broadband means a good connection. Well lots of people have a good connection to be able to receive the signal with insignificant packet loss, but there are still a lot of people who have lets say a 360 or a PS3 and have a connection big enough to read email - they cant get the same quality they would with a console at home. The good side really is that you can play i.e. Crysis on a 15 year old computer or on any laptop. Its not gonna be the lead in the game industry, but a nice alternative. Since the computers processing all the data are not physically accessible it means 0% game piracy. Has anyone ever thought how powerful the computers have to be, or how many there have to be to make this work? When have you ever tried playing Crysis on fill def, recording the game screen and broadcasting the stream directly to the internet with just 10 people watching? Now try and run 10 games on high def, record the direct x output and broadcast it to 100 people :o you can't do that with a normal machine. Do they have 100k computers and an unlimited upload connection?

BullDog45
BullDog45

I like the hole idea of OnLive and i'd most likely want to try it out but i wondering what kind of bugs and glitches there could be on the day this product is allowed to be bought by the public

Fleeman6019
Fleeman6019

i hope it will actually come to Canada

tworkma
tworkma

We're all curious. I don't blame a fledgling company for saving money, shows cost, but then we are all waiting to see and experience it firsthand.

swimbearuk
swimbearuk

I'm not sure how well this is going to work. I expect that there is a lag on the video, which would leave a gap between controller input and on screen action. There is just a big difference in sending video from a console to a TV and actually sending the video down an internet connection; no matter how fast. I really hope it is possible, but I think online gaming is going to continue via consoles (and PCs) for now.

Evandemocracy
Evandemocracy

Now if we seen more out of the box theory of idea's like this every day Life would be bliss i do think this could go well not just to only pc gamers but also console just not as strong as pc will be at first but give some time cause playstation and Xbox' wont become obsolete any time soon. The prices might just be the thing to draw them towards Onlive no longer paying big bucks on games and the service sounds much better than Gamefly waiting days when you can play now - that drew me In because it sounds like a gaming version of netflix online i can see this fitting in the world with a new view in gaming.

Henninger
Henninger

OnLive has been tryin 2 get their show on the road 4 the last 7 years. & since video games r more & more becoming digital distribution orientened, i think that OnLive will compete against Sony & Microsoft. It may b slow @ 1st but if they have good games & the monthly fee isnt that bad, this could take off. Think about, all the games from some of the big names out there & u dont have 2 pay 60 bucks 4 each game 2 play or wait a week 4 the game 2 come in the mail if u get ur games in the mail or spending 8-10 bucks per game 2 rent it 4 a week. U pay the monthly fee & have unlimited access. Now i dont know bout yall but that sounds like a good plan 2 me.

subrosian
subrosian

Consider this "mark one" in a long list of skipped events, hazy release dates, and extended betas / delays before we ultimately received a WebTV-esque dissapointment - a failed product on the pathway to something far better from a far better company.

otanikun
otanikun

Considering this is relatively new I'm not gonna hold my breath on this, it's funny how they think that they stand a chance against the powerhouses known as Sony and Microsoft; they must have some big cajones. Even if they can pull it off, I don't see many "consoles" being sold or subscribers, since it's a pay to use service, they may as well be another Xbox Live, but with the ability to play games instead.

kramer_inc
kramer_inc

This is a pretty big claim i want to see if it can be done.

jaredcrazy3232
jaredcrazy3232

I like how they are sticking to their guns, however, skipping E3 is a pretty big deal... IDK but it could be a bad decision on their part. also on one hand I feel it is a bad move for them to offer a new console mid console cycle, yet with the economy the way it is, it could turn a profit with the people who are a little strapped for cash..... all in all this is a BIG gamble.

FluxZero
FluxZero

WOW, all I can think about is never needing to get a new console or ever upgrade my PC for games again. I can use my ultra portable to play the latest games at the highest settings. Moreover think of the possible graphics developers can create when they are not bound by hardware restrictions.

korpdawg
korpdawg

I hope this works. Imagine buying game's instantly and streaming it with no lag. Think of the money the publishers are being saved from distribution, and many other factors, some of that money would be spent on game development. With that, we'll see a huge leap in the quality of videogames being made.

nate1222
nate1222

@shani_boy101 I totally agree.

shani_boy101
shani_boy101

i agree with Ian_Michael and raghraghragh. i like something i can hold or at least see on my hard drive, cos if i had a 50 AAA game library and OnLive crashes, bye bye games forever. and theres no way this could possibly catch on until there's ultra-fast, cheap, unlimited internet everywhere where there's potential customers, and that won't happen in Australia for centuries.

Ian_Michael
Ian_Michael

It is an interesting concept, but I totally agree with raghraghragh I like the little joy of receiving my game from the ups guy and opening up the plastic wrap then reading the manual. I don't know how many people are out there that are like us, it's just nice to be able to hold the game in your hands. I dunno how long they will stay in business but I wish them luck I guess.

raghraghragh
raghraghragh

I like owning games. I like to have a tangible product, something I can hold, so I'm not very interested in OnLive other than my interest to see if they can pull it off. And in the back of my mind, this sounds sort of familiar of Infinium Labs' aptly-named Phantom.

Linkman0714
Linkman0714

i dont see how they are going to have enough bandwith to do this especially since some areas have more than others and i agree with education games are distributed exactly like everything else so wats the problem. i dont think this is going to work at all...just another EPIC FAIL

education
education

Semms like a good idea in theory. But not every town has high quality internet so theres no way it can ever dominate the consoles. In the future there will be pc gamers, console gamers, and gamers who use this box. Thats if it doesnt crash and burn. I personally hope they fail. The way they describe the problem with distributing games? Games are distributed just like anything else. Its been that way for ever and it will always be that way. Nothing will change.

ZippyDSMLee
ZippyDSMLee

Onlive still has major issues their service just is not for prime time they have sever bandwidth issues and the last live demo was not even hooked up to the net and they wanted a T1 or some special net connection for E3 so they skipped it. Its a good idea for any game that's a few years old, new games are going to be hell to run on it because they have to stream data back and forth and that's going to kill multiplayer...not that I can stand MP but I just can;t see this service using anythign slower than a 20-30Mbit service.....

berlindex
berlindex

It's normal for these guys to snub E3. Just think about it! E3 is for game makers mainly. These guys are only distributing them in a diferent way. That's it. That would be like Amazon going to the expo. What sense would that make?! Let them test this to perfection. I see the potencial and I may be in for it. Give them time and the answers to all our questions will emerge. In the proper place at the proper time.

Paladin_King
Paladin_King

don't care. Honestly, at this stage in its development, I can't see them having a lot more to show than they've already shown.

Blackmantra1243
Blackmantra1243

@TurboGuru also they havent thought that in some areas you cannot get a connection so that rules this out for them, also things like server updates arent a problem on other consoles because as you said about singleplayer but this will completely stop gaming.