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Some more thoughts about OnLive

Jimmy_ScytheJimmy_Scythe Macomb, ILPosts: 3,586Member Common

I've found myself playing games through OnLive quite a bit over the last week. Mostly this was due to the Halloween specials that landed me full access to Dawn of War 2 for $1 and free three day rentals of Metro 2033, Orcs Must Die, and Darksiders. Having spent more than a thirty minute demo with the service, I've decided that I'm okay with it. But there are some arguements against OnLive that I feel I have to adress for the purpose of self validation.

First, I've done cloud gaming before. I had a lifetime subscription to Gametap and I was a big supporter of Instant Action when it was still live. And I'm probably not the only person here that's ever wasted time on Kongregate. The idea of playing single player games online is nothing new to me and that probably has a lot to do with my attitude toward OnLive. The biggest problem with all of these services, for me at least, was that the libraries of games were fairly weak and had no stand-out titles. But the internet is full of dickishness and hate. So onward!!

The main thing I want to adress is the idea that OnLive is the most opressive form of DRM ever devised. If this is the case, then it has to be the least annoying and intrusive DRM ever created. There's no CD Key to enter. There's not maleware that gets installed on you computer. Your executable file and CPU serial number don't have to be validated by some remote server. Hell, the game doesn't even install or patch. You just log in under one account, go to the games that you have access to, either through subscription or rental, and play the damn game. It's basically the same deal that you have when you rent a console game from a local video store or stream a movie from Netflix. 

But that right there is the problem, so say the detractors. You don't OWN the games. Which is absolutely true. But let me ask you something: When's the last time you BOUGHT a movie? You see, you don't own the movies that you watch on cable or rent from a video store and that doesn't bother you. You don't own the games tha you rent from Gamefly or the above mentioned video store and that doesn't bother you. You don't own the books that you check out of the library and that doesn't bother you. So why should renting games through an online streaming service bother you? 

If we're being completely honest with ourselves, we can admit that the rental system works pretty damn well for most single player games. For instance, I've played and completed every single Halo game by renting them over dedicated weekends. As a result, I've been able to enjoy that series for far less money that I would have spent had I bought the games new OR used. I don't have to bitch about games costing too much, because I only pay for the games when I feel like playing them, and then only pay what I feel that time is worth. By cutting out the idea of ownership, I actually maximize the amount of entertainment that I can squeeze out of my gaming dollar.

"Okay," you say, "but isn't it a bit much to FORCE people to be online to play single player games?" Don't worry, I've got this one covered too.

MMO players spend about $15 a month to play games that they have to be connected to internet in order to play. You'd be hard pressed to find an MMO player that didn't spend several hours in any given week playing solo. This is especially true in heavily instanced games where dungeons can be geared to specific party sizes and character levels. These players pay a monthly subscription to a game that they do not own, must be connected to the internet in order to play, and spend the majority of their time playing solo. Sure, they can chat with friends while they play, but you can do that with any game provided that you have a good VOIP app. Onlive has that chat functionality built in and still allows you play multiplayer in the games that support it. The only real difference between World of Warcraft and the OnLive version of Borderlands is the fact that your OnLive friends can watch you play before joining in and your WoW guildmates have to find you, or be teleported, first. 

So basically, the DRM/ownership argument is complete horseshit. You aren't likely to pick up a single player game after you've beaten it once, so paying full price for that experience is beyond retarded. Likewise, you're going to take the rental option every single time if you just want to play through the game one good time. If the game is so good that you think you might want to keep it, there are other options for purchasing and owning the game (Steam, Direct2Drive, Impulse, etc.). OnLive is not the gaming anti-christ. If anything, Onlive lowers the barrier to entry, allows you try games before you buy them, and makes our hobby cost one hell of a lot less. And if you aren't some elitist douchebag that wants to put velvet ropes around the hobby, I doubt that you can see the advantages as a bad thing.


  • Joshua69Joshua69 Greenfield, WIPosts: 953Member Uncommon

    im all for multiple options, but, between PCs uprise and the continues console war's, + failing economy. anything else that would requre me to spend money on gaming is a no go

  • Gabby-airGabby-air surrey, BCPosts: 3,440Member Uncommon

    I have two major gripes about Onlive, one is the graphical quality and the other is the lagg. I want to use onlive when my gaming machine isn't in reach, thus I would like to have the option to just download the game instead of always havign it steamed. This also eliminates the lagg for me. I simply can't play shooters on the service due to it. I have tried plenty and just gave up, ranging from fear 2,3, borderlands and metro 2033. Considering most RPGs have mods, I will use steam or D2D to buy those and the only use left for onlive for me is quick demos or indie titles. 

    I can not stress how important onlive could be for MMOs. As someone who has played hundreds, it is absolutely tedious. Plenty of times, I spend more time downloading the game then actually playign it either because I find out their is a IP block or some feature that just totally turned me away. 

  • Jimmy_ScytheJimmy_Scythe Macomb, ILPosts: 3,586Member Common

    Yeah, your internet connection definitely plays a part in how you feel about the service. The only time that I found the lag to be unbearable was while playing racing games. There were also a few times when OnLive wouldn't even let me log on because my connection was experiencing too many packet drops durning log in. 

    As for the graphics quality, I haven't encountered a single game that I would call unplayable. There are always going to be those people that want the highest possible image fidelity, and that's fine. But I think that most of us just want playable games. So far, the games on Onlive are more than adequate in that regard. Hell, Darksiders actually looked better through OnLive than it did running native on my XBox 360.

  • Gabby-airGabby-air surrey, BCPosts: 3,440Member Uncommon

    I have a great connection, speedtest usually gives me about 25mb/sec. And the problem with graphics is the fact that the firstly it's a 720p resolution, then the graphics on my end are always extremely blurry. Maybe that has to do with the lagg as well because when I do, my screen turns into a mess. Comparatively speaking, I played the Warhammer trial on onlive and borrowed the game yesterday from a friend. There is a night and day difference in the fidelity, maybe it's more visible due to the amount of orks that come but it definitely wasn't playable while on onlive. 

  • Jimmy_ScytheJimmy_Scythe Macomb, ILPosts: 3,586Member Common

    And my experience was completely different from yours. A lot can happen over that last mile of copper wire connection. The route that packets take to a speedtest site might be totally different from the route that they take to get to OnLive. The number of people sharing the total ISP bandwidth can vary from region to region and service to service. And there's always the possibility that your ISP is throttling any and all high volume traffic. 

    But all of this is way off topic. I'm not arguing the quality of the service. That would be pointless since the quality can vary drastically with each network connection. My point was to just put some of the more obvious bullshit arguments to rest. Cloud gaming is going to happen. And I wouldn't be surprised if OnLive doesn't corner that market for no other reason than the fact that they were there first. Throw in the fact that more and more people are using the internet for high volume content like movies and you can see the trend developing from there. OnLive is pretty much optimized for current broadband capabilities. Any upgrades to internet infrastructure will only benefit them. The DRM/ownership argurment is only going to get louder as the service becomes stronger.

    Of course, if the service doesn't work for you then it doesn't work for you. It doesn't cost any money to find out one way or the other. You've found out that it doesn't work for you, and I've found out that it works fine for me at my current location. If I should move and get a new broadband connection, that could all change. But that's why I only rent games and don't subscribe to the service. That way I don't lose anything in the event that I can't use OnLive anymore.

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