OnLive threatens the typical PC gamer lifestyle

PC gaming is a lifestyle. It's not like console gaming, where a user can just plop down in front of his TV, turn on a game for a couple of hours, and walk away satisfied. Side effects include fanatical hardware consumption and relentless resource tweaking.

The newest and most cutting-edge games demand the most from a user's system, and this drives PC gamers to have, at the very least, knowledge of what's newest in graphics, processing, sound, and peripherals. Moreover, it causes much of PC gamerdom to fall in the "power user" category, or those who put heavy demands on their computers for long periods of time. It's been that way since the dawn of the Sound Blaster, and many after school jobs been taken to feed the need for more gear. Of course, the PC gamers I grew up with also had part-time careers as electronics store shoplifters, but that's another story.

Today, OnLive premiered a product that threatens to change that whole lifestyle aspect.


OnLive is a platform upon which PC games can be played, where processing takes place "in the cloud," totally eliminating the need for discs, expensive hardware, and system customization on the user's end. Any broadband-connected PC supporting the service's browser plug-in can access (site goes live at 10:15 pm EST) and play PC games that used to demand computing power. The company even offers what it calls the Onlive MicroConsole, a device no bigger than a Nintendo DS which plugs directly into the TV and accesses the subscription gaming service.

The service requires a modest 1.5 Mbps connection to deliver the systems base-quality experience, and for the experience comparable to a full-power PC gaming rig, it requires a 4 to 5 Mbps connection. The service was unveiled today at the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, showing off what it could do with 16 popular PC games (including the resource-hungry Crysis).

Availability and price of the service has not yet been announced, nor has a public beta, but inquiries are pending, and more information will go live in a matter of hours.

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