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Steaming MMO's is the future...

I've only recently heard of OnLive and started using it, this software has the potential to change how we obtain and play MMO's, I can't wait until they start streaming MMO's (They've already stated they are planning on doing so.)


For those who don't know what OnLive is it's a gaming program you buy and stream games from their servers, no download, no computer requirements, play Crisis on a 10 year old computer perfectly (I'll admit it's not 100% graphics, but they're still very good.)


MMO companies should get rid of the traditional CD/DVD boxs and just charge a one off payment for using their streaming service. It would bring in a lot of new players, especially those who could not before play the game due to their computers not meeting the requirements.


They could even still sell the CD's for sale for those who would want to play the game at max settings etc (or for those who would want the game on their hard drive, even though I can't think of one reason why they would?)


It would also bring the MMO genre to consoles, tablets, tv screens and smart phones (all of which OnLive runs on right now.)


This has to be the next step for the MMO genre? Ease of access, more players, happier players and the ability to finally play an fully functional high graphics MMO in your pocket or on the move (laptops are not an exception, they are still pretty huge.)


  • QuirhidQuirhid Member UncommonPosts: 6,230

    Thats just it. It is not a single payment. They got you by the balls and can charge you monthly fee for the game and monthly fee for the service after the initial purchase.

    On top of that it adds lag. Not only do you have lag between you and OnLive servers (UI lag) but between OnLive servers and game servers (traditional lag). the amount of lag isn't enough already. image

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • SkillCosbySkillCosby Member Posts: 684

    It's an interesting idea, but I don't think anything will come of it.

    By the time technology gets to the point where bandwidth / latency is completely reduced to nothing, there will be computers the size of gameboys that are capable of everything.

  • BereKinBereKin Member Posts: 287

    Originally posted by precious328

    It's an interesting idea, but I don't think anything will come of it.

    By the time technology gets to the point where bandwidth / latency is completely reduced to nothing, there will be computers the size of gameboys that are capable of everything.

    I agree, now days technology is growing so fast.

    Pc in a pocket!  :)

  • Salio69Salio69 Member CommonPosts: 428

    latency is a big factor in pvp. why would someone add even more to it?

  • maplestonemaplestone Member UncommonPosts: 3,099

    Buffering ...

  • MetentsoMetentso Member UncommonPosts: 1,437

    Originally posted by maplestone

    Buffering ...

    You can't buffer the future inputs from 100 players around unless you have a flux capacitor based server.

  • dreamsofwardreamsofwar Member Posts: 468

    I can see this happening as client sizes are getting way too large. Either that or adding a browser based alternative like Runes of Magic and Conquer Online. I would not be surprised if WoW would bring out a browser version either, i could see a browser version getting a large exclusive playerbase of its own purely from being accessible on facebook.

  • ValuaValua Member Posts: 520

    Originally posted by Quirhid

    Thats just it. It is not a single payment. They got you by the balls and can charge you monthly fee for the game and monthly fee for the service after the initial purchase.

    On top of that it adds lag. Not only do you have lag between you and OnLive servers (UI lag) but between OnLive servers and game servers (traditional lag). the amount of lag isn't enough already. image

    That's strange, I get no lag whatsoever when using OnLive, or the little I've had I can usually blame my computer and programs running the background for. 


    Much less than I've experienced with every single MMO, ever.


    I think if a massive company, Blizzard, took this under there wings they could do something very special with it. 

  • ghost047ghost047 Member UncommonPosts: 597

    Blizzard has been using streaming for years now with WoW trial and it works very well. You don't have to download the game anymore to play trial, create an account and you start playing right away. A soon as you buy the game, you have to install it.

    Get a life you freaking no, you don't understand, I'm a Gamer, I have many lives!!

  • drbaltazardrbaltazar Member UncommonPosts: 7,856

    streaming the game over the web will be good in 20 years,wait in 20 years the pc techo will also have mooved on lol.

    on top of this lot of corp are on the verge of comunicatin with ms with the idea in mind to rise their player number per map.

    with stuff like remote differential compression,donnybrooks,why?because even if they didnt raise the number of player it will still save them a lot of money in bandwith cost if you are a smalll game with 100 player it isnt too much of an issue but if you got 10 million of player and from the wisper outside this will jump to 13 million when a certain pandaria come out!lets face it cost of bandwith and all the relatred nightmare ads up!

    so i am sorry for onlive but it will be of limited use for average player if you arent far it is a good idea .dont forget also that most game in there arent very new

  • MeltdownMeltdown Member UncommonPosts: 1,182

    MMOs are getting to a point of complexity that streaming like this may be the next step. Think about the amount of data that is required to be sent to your computer every 50ms or so to maintain a good understanding of your surroundings in a raid (pve) or battleground (pvp) scenario. You have to know the locations, names, gear, health, mana, stamina, etc of all 40-80 people around you (I use 80 as 40v40 pvp as AV is an easy comparison). And then you have to know what direction they are all running in, what spells they are casting, actions being taken and if 60 of them are spamming their spacebars cause they can...


    It has most definately changed too, playing EQ on 56k wasn't even that bad, but nowadays? There is just too much data. 


    In addition to all this information you obtain more specific information about your own characters location, buffs, debuffs, timers, cooldowns, stats etc...


    Well without digging even deeper you can see that only receiving a "picture" of what is going on at the server removes the networking bandwidth requirements of very large scale combat. Leaving everything on the server and just sending snapshots of the action. It is an interesting concept, and one with a lot of promise if the technology is fluid. As services such as OnLive get going and the technology is polished I can only hope that this can start putting the Massive back into MMOs with hundreds of players working together instead of just ten. 


    Servers will continue to get more and more powerful, but sadly the internet connections are pretty much tapped out unless everyone gets fiber directly to their home. Even then you are stuck with latency and server congestion... and the speed of light is pretty much the limit of latency.

    "They essentially want to say 'Correlation proves Causation' when it's just not true." - Sovrath

  • ShakyMoShakyMo Member CommonPosts: 7,207

    theres plenty of

    Steaming MMOs

    availaible now, SWTOR, RIFT etc..

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 21,438


    Here we go again.  Yet another thread about Onlive from someone who doesn't realize that we've been through this many times before.

    Onlive cannot compete in image quality with even modern integrated graphics.  Integrated graphics.  You know, the low end stuff that computers at WalMart might have.  And if you want to compare it to a real gaming computer (even one that is a few years old by now), it's only that much further behind.

    You know how much bandwidth it takes to feed a 1080p resolution at 32 bit color depth and 60 frames per second?  About 4 Gb/s.  Does your Internet connection offer that kind of speed?  Does it offer 1% of that speed?  DVI and DisplayPort cables can send the full signal without even compressing it.  But Onlive has to resort to very low resolutions and severely lossy data compression.  Even if the image quality were flawless on their servers, by the time it gets to you, it won't necessarily be even as good as low graphical settings rendered locally.  And Radeon HD 6550D integrated graphics can do better than low settings in most games.

    And that's just image quality.  It cannot compete in latency, and never will be able to.  There's no way to get <1 ms latencies to servers hundreds of miles away like you can when you only have to send a signal about 5 or 10 feet to get it from your keyboard or mouse to your computer.  For Onlive to compete with that would take faster than light data transfer.  The recent neutrino results notwithstanding, that doesn't appear to be on the horizon.

    Input latency is much deadlier than ping times, too.  MMORPGs can and do use quite a few tricks to mostly work around ping time issues.  You can mostly predict where characters (especially NPCs) will be 100 ms in advance, and then have a slight bit of rubber banding if you guessed wrong.  But you can't predict which keys or mouse buttons players are going to hit ahead of time, and that means a considerable delay

    Now, you might be able to make Onlive competitive in the sense that it doesn't lose by a flagrantly obvious margin if you can convince ISPs to build the servers into their networks.  But the prospects for that aren't good.  You know how ISPs tried to kill file sharing because it ate up too much bandwidth?  Onlive is much, much worse, and ISPs will do everything they possibly can to sabotage it if it catches on.  Now, if bandwidth becomes plentiful enough and cheap enough that your ISP doesn't care if you use 1 TB in a month, then maybe Onlive has a chance.

    But then we come to smart phones.  Have you checked the data cap on your smartphone recently?  Sprint may advertise truly unlimited data, but you can bet that they'd yank that offer off the market in a hurry if the average taker was using 10 GB per month, let alone 1 TB.  While we're at it, does your smartphone have a full size QWERTY keyboard and a wired laser mouse?  How about your tablet?

    There are obvious reasons why the basic premise of Onlive sounds appealing to people who don't know the technical reasons why it can't be made to work well in the foreseeable future.  And that's Onlive's hope as a business model:  sell lots of stuff to people who don't know any better.  That is, they hope for a triumph of marketing over technical specs.  Sometimes that business model even works, too.  There are reportedly still people who buy Intel Atom netbooks, even though the only reason to do so is not knowing any better.

    But do you really want your ability to play games to be entirely dependent on the goodwill of a company whose entire business model is preying on clueless customers?  I don't know about you, but I don't.  What if you're playing a game and then there is some dispute with the publisher and Onlive has to yank the game off their service?  It's just a matter of time before something like that happens.

  • MeltdownMeltdown Member UncommonPosts: 1,182

    So it's pointless to speculate about the future of gaming because the technology cannot currently support it?


    I understand the requirements of a full 1080p 60fps 32-bit color. But your typical blue-ray movie doesn't even achieve this, nevermind cable televison (being a closer approximation). FPS for movies is 24fps with television being at 30fps. Typical gamers aren't experiencing much better than 30fps in current MMOs. And if we are making the comparison using integrated video cards from Walmart good luck getting 60fps in the latest releases from that POS (now we are talking like 15fps lol). So while its easy to take the hyperbole approach here I wouldn't dismiss such a technology based solely on worst-case scenarios. (32-bit color, television as an example is 8-12bit) (using full HD resolutions, when most people probably have 720p still)


    The input latency thing is quite a problem to overcome. Still I am optimisic in the area and I think it has potential. Sometimes being a negative nancy just makes you look foolish later on...

    "No one will need more than 637 kb of memory for a personal computer." - Bill Gates


    "They essentially want to say 'Correlation proves Causation' when it's just not true." - Sovrath

  • herculeshercules Member UncommonPosts: 4,920

    EQ2 now uses a streaming method the intal download is very small.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 21,438

    You cite a 720p resolution.  For a television, that's fine.  For a computer monitor, it's not.  New Egg has 397 monitors that are 10" or larger in stock.  Every single one of them has a resolution larger than 720p.  Every single one.  Even the super low end, severe budget models.  Because a lot of computer programs simply aren't designed to be functional on fewer than 768 vertical pixels.  For example, Windows XP or later.

    Next, yes, a Blu-Ray movie does compress a lot.  But not nearly as much as OnLive.  A Blu-Ray disk has 25 GB on it.  Most ISPs won't be especially bothered if you use 25 GB of bandwidth in a month.  But if you routinely use 25 GB in a couple of hours, and then do it again the next day, and the day after, you can expect your ISP to do something to try to stop you.

    Blu-Ray movies can also be compressed far more effectively than streaming games.  Usually in a movie, one frame will look a lot like the next.  You can have every frame for the entire movie sitting there before you start compressing.  So you can take advantage of that to compress across time, and buffer some frames ahead of time as you decompress the movie.

    OnLive can't do that.  If they decided to have a half second delay between when a frame is rendered and when it shows on your screen so that they could compress across time, that would make the game look better to someone sitting watching it but not playing it, but it would also make most games completely unplayable.

    Yes, what OnLive can do will get better as hardware and infrastructure improve.  But there is good reason to believe that what you can do by rendering games locally will get better, too--and will improve faster than OnLive.

    It's not just that modern integrated graphics will get you a better gaming experience than OnLive.  If you were to buy a budget gaming laptop for $500 today and stick it on a shelf for five years to give OnLive a chance to catch up, even after five years, the laptop would probably still give you a better gaming experience five years from now than OnLive as it exists five years in the future.

    Now, a lot of would-be gamers today don't have modern integrated graphics, or something about as good as it.  But what happens when more and more people get graphics at least as good as today's integrated graphics?  $500 isn't exactly a large budget machine, and remember that for our comparison, we're assuming that the user has a five year old computer.  What happens is that the fraction of would-be gamers who can plausibly benefit from OnLive shrinks precipitously.  OnLive is trying to create a market with a target customer base that is disappearing, unless you regard their target customers as meaning "people who don't know any better".

    One could compare this to the plight of electric cars.  Electric cars were around a century ago.  But people didn't like them because they were too expensive, couldn't go fast enough, and couldn't go far enough.  If you were to take a Chevy Volt back in time a hundred years, people who lived then would be very impressed by its speed and range, as it would handily beat any gas-powered cars of that era.  The problem for electric cars is that gas cars have gotten a lot better in that time, too, which is why hardly anyone wants a Chevy Volt, even with huge government subsidies.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 21,438

    Originally posted by hercules

    EQ2 now uses a streaming method the intal download is very small.

    There's an enormous difference between streaming the data needed to play a game and then rendering it locally, versus rendering a game on a remote server and streaming the rendered frames.  Some games do the former to pretty good effect, and it's highly plausible that there could be a lot more of it in the future.  But that's not at all similar to what OnLive is trying to do.

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