Streaming Games - OnLive, GaiKai, OTOY. Anyone else?

OnLive threw the gaming world into a tizzy this last Tuesday, and since then other names started crawling out of the woodwork. In case you haven't heard, OnLive just announced a subscription-based streaming games service. The company claims that by using either a web plugin, or their MicroConsole,...

OnLive threw the gaming world into a tizzy this last Tuesday, and since then other names started crawling out of the woodwork. In case you haven't heard, OnLive just announced a subscription-based streaming games service. The company claims that by using either a web plugin, or their MicroConsole, you will be able to run the newest PC games at HDTV resolutions with no downloads, and all on the most pathetic of computer hardware. We have a detailed look at the service in our feature over here .

If that wasn't astounding enough, David Perry of Acclaim (formerly of Shiny Entertainment) runs out and says me too! His company, an outfit by the name of GaiKai, just popped into public existence. Apparently he was planning on holding out until E3. Gaikai offers a similar service, except without the MicroConsole aspect that OnLive has(or at least until Perry says they have a little box as well). GaiKai calls their service Streaming Worlds and it only requires a web browser with Flash installed.

Then, we spoke with Jules Urbach, CEO of OTOY and Lightwave. His company basically offers up cloud computing (the technology behind these services) to the highest bidder. This essentially makes them a mercenary computing outfit of sorts, that has the side benefit of being able to stream games as well. In our conversation with him, he stated that his company is in talks with publishers and a whole host of other outfits that want to use the service.

If you're confused, you're not alone. All of these companies have a ways to go before we see them at a consumer level. There's a million questions out there and few answers to go with them. Now I'm just waiting for Valve to announce that Steam will henceforth be known as Stream. We've still got one more day - it could happen.

Written By

Discussion

108 comments
Kinren1
Kinren1

The problem of cloud gaming is lack of ownership.  The games I purchased from Onlive say they are gaureenteed until 2014.  Yes Its a long time but I may not be able to go back and play them ever again.  I currently went back and played oblivion and morrowind.  If I ddin't have a physical copy, I would not have been able to do that.  Another issue is the internet.  I logged on to onlive and went to play deus ex.  It was choppy and unplayable.  This dosent' happen all the time but it happens. 

 

Plus, graphics, you can't control the graphic settings.  I would not be able to play games on the highest setting ever.

 

I think it is a good service for on the go.  I wish they would release their technology to consumers.  Then I could stream my own games, from my own computer.  That way I would have a physical copy and live streaming.  I would be able to play from anywhere.

LinuxOS137
LinuxOS137

If this thing takes off, I think nvidia and ati are in BIG TROUBLE!

RedsnakePCgamer
RedsnakePCgamer

They may have to create a new 'flop' to describe the processing power required for this, and redevelop several small countries into power stations to provide the electricity. You know what they say on TopGear "Ambitious, but ......"

RedsnakePCgamer
RedsnakePCgamer

@MSW1234 Thanks for the reply. What I was trying get though was, 2 million users at any one time (out of an installed customer base of say 15 million? How many people play online regularly at the moment? how many are online at any one time?) across the world playing any number of games, from MMOs to FPSs and driving games, with processing demands as intensive as Crysis, which you would expect to become the standard if the hardware investment required is no longer a limiting factor for the end user, in fact I would expect it to be demanded or what's the point? (If it was ever able to work it would be interesting to see how end user expectations might drive the development of in game technoloies such as physics and AI since the ownice would no longer be on us to provide the processing power, with many more deeper ramifications to come I expect). OK so the end users would be spread out over several service providers (Steam would be a good place to start asking these questions maybe), but even with 100'000 simultanious players on one provider (how many people play WOW simultaniously?), you're looking at massive processing requirements, and massive bandwith (they're talking HD, not LCD panels resolutions like 1920 X 1200, and 720P would be accepted for only so long, people are going to want full 1080P HD), I don't think server farms are viable for this you'd be looking at Billions not hundreds of millions for a single server farm (how many users would each Blade be able to service? How many Blades in a rack, how many square feet per rack, how many watts per hour to cool each rack?), with reinvestment of similar amounts every 5 to 10 years to keep up with the increase in performance expected by us demanding end users. Then there's the broadband network, I don't think any country (except maybe South Korea) has a network capable of distributing the service yet, or will have it in the next 10 years, certainly the UK wont! There are too many questions to be answered, both financially, and technologically before this can be taken seriously. If everyone wanted to leave there PCs and consoles on all the time, you might be able to do this in a similar way to folding at home, drawing on everyone elses processing power and sharing the load, but now you run into latency issues because of the time it takes to send and recieve each packet down a fibre optice to the other side of the planet, as well as waiting for the PC or console at the other end to do the maths a send the answer back. I'd like Gamespot to speak to Steam and Blizzard about the figures and do a full analysis of the viability, if they don't hopefully someone else will.

tsduv21
tsduv21

It seems like an interesting service, if they actually manage to pull it off. I won't, however, start using it until it is well underway.

AngelCage-2
AngelCage-2

this is not possible in the near future... is some years maybe, but not for now. Now, ATI, NVIDIA, Nintendo, MS and SONY have time to counter this new trend and put on the houses inexpensive, well optimized RIGS and low the cost of buying a game ($60 is way too much for a crappy famili oriented game if you ask me) allowing to download the games on the next systems -digital distribution only- to greatly reduce the distribution costs of the games...

StingrayA
StingrayA

1 thing, especially for australian gamers, would this be availiable cheaply or at all (australia hasnt gotten netflix) and australian's do hav download limits unlyk the american and japanese counter parts, so how effective would this be wen most people have 10-30gb download limits a month and each game can take from 4-8gb each.

arkadiyk
arkadiyk

i want steam to do the same as well

Nagasnz
Nagasnz

One key question is going to be "How much is it to buy a game". There is no way they can charge the same price as one you buy in the store - there is no copying of CD, no printing of manuals, no shipping costs and no storage costs. Also, because the game you "buy" is not a physical copy, if you stop paying the subscription fee for the service (or they close down) you can't access the game, therefore you would pay less for that due to the risk. Of course, how many people are actually playing the same game a year after they buy it (or finish it)? Instead of the them charging us to use this new service, and then charge for the game, why don't they instead look at a bigger yearly subscription fee so you can access most/all of the games at minimal/no extra cost.

penpusher
penpusher

oh my,,,,if this takes off game consoles in particular are in for a rude shock :S But then having said that, this service may not take off, i mean i for one wont go for it, i mean all your games on a server? All well and good BUT what if the company maintaining the server goes bust? then your screwed cause all those games, your saves, hours of your time are completely gone. Thats my major worry

Stone_McPhone
Stone_McPhone

if the lack of professionalism in the writing here is not enough indication to you as to the fact that this is all fake then you are so gullible you're probably sending a Nigerian prince some money to save his wife. My only question then is how on earth are you going spend all that reward money?

tonicmole
tonicmole

One last thing, we still don't know how much this service costs. It's a little too earley to assume this or any service will compete with the retail gaming sector. So far they have said that we will pay for the service and then also pay for the games for a 5 day rental. So say $10 a month for the service and then $6 for a 5 day rental, and that is a best case scenario. The reality of it is probably more like $15 for 5 days, or an overall $30 a month for unlimited gaming. It's not going to be cheap. Nothing EVER is. All this and you still have nothing. Unless they can make exclusive games that a console can not play then this is pointless.

tonicmole
tonicmole

I imagine that the Xbox 360 will follow suit in a year or two, or at least try. Imagine streaming full sized demo's and so on. It would also allow the Xbox 360 to run the highest end games in the world. Of course the PS 3 and Wii could do the same thing ,but I don't think they are into that type of thing. Mainly because you have to have massive infrastructure in any location you want to provide the service. It would take 4 or 5 huge facilities just for the USA alone because the servers can only send the single so far before it's too slow for gaming. Not that M$ would do it well or anything, but they might try. Quality is not M$ strength and this type of tech depends heavily on it. In the end this type of service has a un-repairable flaw. If the service provider goes under you have nothing. Every thing is on their end. You pay hundreds of dollars yet physically own nothing. It's worse then Downloaded content. And this cannot be fixed because it's the whole point of the service. You get to play on the highest end console ever via the internet.

funkymonkey4710
funkymonkey4710

OnLive literally isn't the best idea out there, think about it you pay every month to play game on the console, but if you stop paying the subscription you no longer own those games. After awhile the money you spent isn't going to compensate for you not buying the game in the first place. The only benefit is that you wouldn't have to buy the expensive computer to play those games.

Link_Destined_1
Link_Destined_1

Looks interesting, but it does sound a bit too good to be true.

mrhuntin
mrhuntin

yea i OTOY a while ago but kind-of look promising

mathiasX
mathiasX

Figures...spies everywhere

kimvidard
kimvidard

------------------------------------------------------------ xdeiri Posted Mar 29, 2009 10:32 am GMT they will fail for one reason only, gaming world reacquired trust from illusive gamers, and those companies is not illegitimate, gaming world didnt benefit any thing from them, but rather they want to benefit from. ------------------------------------------------------------ Man, your comment is as irrelevant as it is poorly written. The "gaming world" is no mafia, no one cares about legitimacy, if it has nothing to do with piracy. The only thing that drives the industry (that's the word you were looking for) is MONEY. And Onlive and such offer tons of way to make money for the game developper/publisher. Cheap delivery service for the customer leading to more purchases going straight to the publisher or the developer's pocket... Man this model is going to please gamers and game makers ! It might not be the case with hardware manufacturer but hey, in the end, the hardcore consumer still want his rig to kick ass so they will be the market for GPUs at 400$. In the mean time, I'll play a different game every week, and it'll be painless, and cheap !

xdeiri
xdeiri

they will fail for one reason only, gaming world reacquired trust from illusive gamers, and those companies is not illegitimate, gaming world didnt benefit any thing from them, but rather they want to benefit from. now any one can provide a good gaming service, no matter how smart the way, but not any one can earn gamers trust like nintendo, microsoft and sony, did and contributed to gaming through the years. building trust in a time that already passed away and will never come back again . so on live is just giving micrsosft and sony ideas on how the next gen should be with zero research fees, dont get me wrong but i am afraid that gaming industry turns to be moor and moor specialized, inaccessible and hence extinct slowly or like what happened before the NES era , by the way this is the secret of nintendo's success( cheap technology, accessible to every one, and no extra fees), which is the opposite of those new services. so: long live big 3

salman06p0020
salman06p0020

This will never be possible here in India, lol, even SD resolution streaming has latency problems. But all is not lost, I see a light at he end of the tunnel.

xdeiri
xdeiri

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

They already have compeition, I thought it would be something of a unification thing. I guess one which backs most third party support will win among them.

vegeto69
vegeto69

@mastodonfatguy actually... You would be more likely to 'die out' than computer gamers... seeing as this is run on a computer... and has computer games. All OnLive is doing is making high end computer games more easily accessible to a greater number of people who would, otherwise, never be able to play many of the current generation games on their laptops and aging PC's. In fact, if they extend their service to console games it would probably impact consoles. Why buy a whole new console if you can just stream it to you HDTV with no bugs and no worries? Im not supporting the service or anything, mainly im just really impressed. If this actually works it will be brilliant.

Dawg9000
Dawg9000

Onlive will probably be the best because of the ability to go on the TV. And it has Crysis :)

mastodonfatguy
mastodonfatguy

bah . on live? w/e xbox ps3 wii and the other consoles arent going anywhere. have fun on ur pcs but WE wont die.

DonTonyDeluca
DonTonyDeluca

Onlive is to my knowledge the only one that has partners tho with major developers? Im really excited to see how this effects the game industrty and the methods of distribution. It could potentially change the media world for ever. I wonder how it will do at luanch

parazitu001
parazitu001

on onlive i can play console games?: and yeah i can play gta 4 on high detailes

Lordx67
Lordx67

I can finally play GTA IV and Crysis on my wretched little laptop. Thank you oh gods of gaming!

dkdk999
dkdk999

yakuza how can you say anything about this yet ? i think its pretty retarded to beleive something to be true or false based on pretty much nothing.

More_Dakka
More_Dakka

shani boy101: If Onlive does come to be a success, it could certainly monopolize in PC gaming- and potentially leave a big mark on the 360 and PS3... But the Wii would probably go completely unaffected methinks. I just don't see Onlive being capable of being that successful. As for the fact that Onlive has actual competition now... :| I'm just going to act totally indifferent... This is just... Typical...

NR1224
NR1224

Ok, Yakuz-A, we all get that this is simply hearsay as of right now. We ALL saw the demo, and I'm pretty sure we want to see it work out in the end. However, considering the fact that you know absolutly nothing about the platform, like me and most of the rest of the world, maybe you should just take a chill pill, and wait it out. The betas gonna it, and it either gonna work well, or it isn't. But you are not an internet streaming expert, and you don't understand the technology, like the rest of us, and you simply need to calm down, and let them prove themselves. If big names like EA and Ubisoft were convinced to put their reputations on this service, I have a feeling that what they say holds some truth to it.

NR1224
NR1224

Ok, Yakuz-A, we all get that this is simply hearsay as of right now. We ALL saw the demo, and I'm pretty sure we want to see it work out in the end. However, considering the fact that you know absolutely nothing about the platform, like me and most of the rest of the world, maybe you should just take a chill pill, and wait it out. The beta is gonna hit, and it's either gonna work well, or it isn't. But you are not an internet streaming expert, and you don't understand the technology, like the rest of us, and you simply need to calm down, and let them prove themselves. If big names like EA and Ubisoft were convinced to put their reputations on this service, I have a feeling that what they say holds some truth to it.

thermalcold
thermalcold

pyropice, I just know read your comments, sorry it took awhile. I appreciate the support. I do not remember exactly what I wrote, some loser deleted my post, so I cannot see how many thumbs down I received. As the only comment I received, which was positive, I can assume that no one was mature enough to ask for clarification. Thanx for your comments.

KingOfTheNubeis
KingOfTheNubeis

OnLive have been working on this for SEVEN years,backed by Steve Pearlmans Company. I remember him from when he headed up Quicktime development. I feel they have the lead on the other's for two reasons. 1.They backed and fronted by a man with a ongoing record of success, from Quicktime(Funn'ly enough in compression) to Mova and ongoing projects via Rearden Link below http://www.rearden.com/index.html 2.The big one... THE GOT MOST OF THE BIGGEST NAMES IN THE INDUSTRY TO PUT THEIR NAMES ON A AGREEMENT.!!!...........So what you say??? Now if you know any thing about bussines you know that most of the names on the list supporting the platform are hardcore Corperate entities. Were talking Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive Software, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, THQ Inc., Epic Games, Eidos, Atari Interactive and Codemasters.Thats the cream of the gamng world. No CEO from any of the above gonna sign on the botom line and associate them self with platform that DOESN'T work.This IS their reputation on the line. This is no easy sell,sometime,in some backroom they showed them something that was dammed convincing. That in itself makes me watch these guys with interest. The interest that says"they are MORE prob'ly the REAL deal.

KingOfTheNubeis
KingOfTheNubeis

OnLive have been working on this for SEVEN years,backed by Steve Pearlmans Company. I remember him from when he headed up Quicktime development. I feel they have the lead on the other's for two reasons. 1.They backed and fronted by a man with a ongoing record of success, from Quicktime(Funn'ly enough in compression) to Mova and ongoing projects via Rearden Link below http://www.rearden.com/index.html 2.The big one... THE GOT MOST OF THE BIGGEST NAMES IN THE INDUSTRY TO PUT THEIR NAMES ON A AGREEMENT.!!!...........So what you say??? Now if you know any thing about bussines you know that most of the names on the list supporting the platform are hardcore Corperate entities. Were talking Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive Software, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, THQ Inc., Epic Games, Eidos, Atari Interactive and Codemasters.Thats the cream of the gamng world. No CEO from any of the above gonna sign on the botom line and associate them self with platform that DOESN'T work.This IS their reputation on the line. This is no easy sell,sometime,in some backroom they showed them something that was dammed convincing. That in itself makes me watch these guys with interest. The interest that says"they are MORE THAN prob'ly the REAL deal.

Yakuz-A
Yakuz-A

07pops07, I'm sorry but you see I've been taught to be critical of things in my life, rather than blindly swallow the hype. Eurogamers aren't the only one who have criticized the ideas, if you actually check around you'll find out that there are many other experts who have criticized it too. I am fairly certain this concept will go the way of the infamous Phantom. I'd love to be proven wrong though. P.S. the quote I did in a second reply, from the article, was for those people who are too lazy to click links.

IAmTheFLu
IAmTheFLu

hassy94, the US is just chalk full of different internet providers. companies like Comcast limit their users, but i am a subscriber to COX (the most popular internet, cable, phone provider in the eastern US) and they don't limit us. it just depends on how much we are willing to spend. it comparison between me and you, you make more money than i do, no doubt.

hassy94
hassy94

Oh, and since OTOY is giving it for sale, I'll give 3 months maximum before Microsoft owns the technology. That will probably be a good thing though as they can't really fail and close down. I mean, with OnLive, if you've bought loads of games to be able to stream, and then the company shuts down, you've lost your games because you have no-one to stream from.

hassy94
hassy94

I think this would probably work in UK best considering most of our broadband connections have unlimited bandwidth, while it seems USA and AUS don't? Correct me if I'm wrong on this, but this is based on people's comments further down the page.

liquidvssolid
liquidvssolid

I think I like GaiKai a wee bit more...Have to see their product yet.

liquidvssolid
liquidvssolid

mjk_1 Posted Mar 28, 2009 3:53 am GMT I dunno about this... Bandwidth caps are a huge obstacle and I'm not a fan of subscriptions mjk_1......I like your thinking. I stand by both your statements: Bandwidth caps ARE a huge obstacle & I'm not a friggin' fan of subscriptions...Also, see those thumbs up u got there? One of them is from me, lol. Peace Prevail!

toadman682000
toadman682000

Hooray for competition! This will certainly help to keep prices down.

mjk_1
mjk_1

I dunno about this... Bandwidth caps are a huge obstacle and I'm not a fan of subscriptions...

shani_boy101
shani_boy101

Will never work in Australia until we get bandwidth limits and speeds similar to the US. With our current limits our limit for the months would be gone in a few hours. Modders won't be able to mod their games either. and if this does work and becomes the new standard, won't OnLive monopolize the industry?