30 Dec 2011

The OnLive gaming platform continues to grow with its collection of games.  As I've commented in some of our Podcasts, I personally play a few games on the system and find it to be an enjoyable experience.  I've commented on how the graphics are solid, though not quite as "sharp" as PC counter-parts.  I decided to grab a few screenshots from both the PC and the OnLive system and compare.  In both cases the original resolution was 1920x1080, but to show more detail I have cropped them on particular areas.

Before we get to the comparison here are some details on the OnLive experience and requirements.

To play a game you simply have to go to their site and sign up for a free user account.  Once you have an account you can then try virtually every game they have in their library with the demo option, usually a 30 minute timed demo. 

To run on a PC their Minimum requirements are as follows:

  • 2 Mbps wired or Wi-Fi connection
  • Windows 7 or Vista (x64 or x86) or XP SP3 (32-bit), Mac OS X 10.5.8 or greater
  • Hardware:  Virtually any PC or netbook or Intel-based Mac
  • Screen:  1024x576

Recommended configurations:

  • 5 Mbps wired or Wi-Fi
  • Hardware:  Dual-Core PCs and all Intel-based Macs
  • Screen:  1280x720

For my tests below, I'm using Comcast, with a download pipe of around 23 Mbps and upload at 3.5 Mbps.  OnLive does all the work on their end, on their own Servers, basically sending you a video stream to your PC or Smartphone.  The result is pretty smooth and has low latency.

OnLive also supports a wide variety of controllers (as well as keyboard and mouse).  I personally use an Xbox 360 Wireless Controller with Xbox 360 Wireless Receiver for PC and it is solid, just like playing on an Xbox.

OnLive also has a mini-console you can get, if you don't want to use a PC (or SmartPhone or Tablet).

They also have a Universal OnLive Wireless Controller you can buy that will work on PC, tablets, smartphones and Macs.

Onlive recently released apps for Android and eventually for iOS as well.  They claim console gaming quality on the small screen even over 3G.  Its truly fantastic to be able to play on the portable device, then pick up in your game where you left off on a big screen at home.  One video on Youtube shows an example with a Nook Tablet:

Screen comparisons between PC and OnLive

 Batman:  Arkham Asylum










Batman:  Arkham City





As you can see, the PC version is sharper... but not by leaps and bounds in my opinion.  Hopefully over time,OnLive can fine tune their setup so that the differences are indistinguishable.

Either way, OnLive is clearly going to be the way of the future and is pretty good the way things are today.  Definitely worth checking out if you haven't had the opportunity thus far.

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