"After seven years of stealth development, OnLive has finally been revealed -it is said that it will change the landscape of the games industry, I expect the worst"
Very few commercial ideas have a chance to revolutionize an industry but if entrepreneur Steve Perlman's OnLive lives up to its expectations and promises, the company will disrupt the entire video game industry - to the delight of both game publishers and gamers. Founded by noted technology guru Steve Perlman (WebTV, QuickTime) and incubated within the Rearden media and technology incubator, OnLive spent seven years in stealth development before officially unveiling in March of this year. This could be the future face of the gaming industry.
OnLive is launching the world's highest performance Games On Demand service, instantly delivering the latest high-end titles over home broadband Internet to the TV and entry-level PCs and Macs. The concept is fairly simplistic; the company, OnLive, hosts an endless amount of games off their overly powerful and expensive game servers. These game servers stream over internet connection creating what is known as a "Gaming Cloud".
This means that technically you are never playing the game on console locally, but on their servers instead - all that you are receiving is the video stream of the game itself. OnLive has found a way to super-compress video data and instantaneously transfer this data to your monitor. This results in the video streaming process being so fast that to the human eye it appears as if the game was being played on a console.
In the context of Leisure and Recreation this product appears overwhelming to those of the gaming community as it creates what is believed impossible. Instant high end title games, 'Lag free' environment and even portable gaming. On a more interesting note, OnLive eliminates the current issue of game piracy in today's society. Seeing as the games are run off OnLive's servers and aren't actually being played locally means that consoles can't be modded and re-crafted to run pirated copies of games that have been leaked onto the internet. This gives a sigh of relief to most high end PC gaming companies as their games are simply being downloaded rather than bought. A recent example of this was Stardock's PC game "Demigod" in which over 68% of online players had pirated copies.
As appealing as this new concept may sound, it does have its list of cons that do lead to its unfortunate, inevitable demise. OnLive will not only create an ethical controversy but it will cause chaos in the gaming community not to mention the personal impacts.
This product would create an ethical issue between companies that manufacture upgrades (like graphics cards and processing chips) for PCs and the company of OnLive. OnLive would make it so that these companies are not needed simply because any game can be played on any PC/Mac as long as it has an internet connection regardless of its interior. High selling graphics card suppliers, nVidia, have over one million graphics card shipments to the industry (gaming community) every month. If this product were to be successful in the gaming community, this one million card shipment would slowly disappear.
OnLive would create what is known today as a 'split focus market' in the gaming community. As of today, we have a spit between Sony and Microsoft in which Sony has exclusive games such as MGS4 and Killzone 2 whilst Microsoft has exclusive games such as Halo 3, Gears of War 2, Fable 2, etc. Even though this may be evident there is still a majority of games being spread over the two consoles. OnLive would then split the market again resulting in Microsoft and Sony having all games on their consoles exclusive to that console. This meaning that all high end titles that would come out on Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, wouldn't come to OnLive. On a more personal level, this means that gamers, who love a particular game, cannot purchase it if they don't have that game's exclusive console. I don't know about you, but I don't have the money to buy another console to play a particular game.
Foundations of Technology for a given product must be understood in order for said product to be successful within society. The interrelationship of technology, industry and society is what will cause this product to fail. I don't think the company of OnLive understands what this product will do if it is released into gaming society. Not only will it put all PC upgrade supplies in debt, but it will cause a very pissed off audience market.
OnLive at first may seem like a wonderful concept, but its effect on the world, ethical, social and personal, will lead to its inevitable failure. ◙ DJ