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OnLive Gaming

Cloud gaming with OnLive

OnLive is a cloud-based video game service that combines access to a cloud gaming interface with a cloud computer desktop navigation system. Founded by electronic engineer and software entrepreneur Steve Perlman in 2003, OnLive is a San Francisco-based company and its cloud-based game service has been operational since 2010.

According to the OnLive website, the company's platform offers instant access to a large library of titles to millions of North America- and Europe-based users. The service allows users to play high-end games in full console quality on a wide range of devices, including Internet-connected smart TVs, Android tables, and Mac and PC desktop and laptop computers. OnLive also offers its signature product, the MicroConsole, to allow players to make the most of their gaming experience. Alternatively, users can download OnLive's proprietary software to any number of connected devices and access game content that way.

Platform Compatibility and System Requirements

One of OnLive's advantages is that it is compatible with a very broad range of computing platforms, including Microsoft's Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, as well as Mac OS X version 10.5.8 and up, Intel-based Mac desktops and laptops, devices running Apple's iOS operating system, and devices running Google's Android operating system. You may need to download Microsoft Windows 7 or 8's updates in order to fulfill the system requirements. This is also true for the operating systems but is especially true for the Microsoft operating systems.

To play games through the OnLive interface, users need an Internet connection with a minimum speed of 2 megabits per second. However, OnLive strongly recommends that you use an Internet connection that offers at least 5 megabits per second in order to guarantee a seamless, lag-free gaming experience.

How OnLive's Gaming Model Works

All computing tasks related to the games are actually played on OnLive's network of ultra-powerful servers, allowing users whose computers would not normally be able to handle such media-rich applications to play the games without interruption. This unique capability of cloud gaming interface that uses the video sharing model is what OnLive provides.

Here is how it works:

  • Your Internet-connected device establishes a direct connection with the OnLive server through the OnLive interface
  • You select the game you want to play, regardless of the system requirements needed to play the game
  • When the game begins, the OnLive server sends your computer the information needed to render the game on your screen
  • You enter game commands as you normally would, using a gaming controller or joystick
  • Those game commands are recorded by your computer and relayed to the OnLive server via the Internet
  • The OnLive server actually applies those commands to the game, which is unfolding on the server in real time
  • The OnLive server records the results of your commands and input, and relays those back to your computer via the Internet
  • Your computer interprets the incoming information and modifies the game accordingly

Thus, it appears as though you're playing the game on your computer, as everything unfolds in real time without interruption. However, this is kind of an illusion, as the game is actually taking place on the OnLive server a few seconds ahead of what you're seeing on your screen.

OnLive's Library of Game Titles

Currently, OnLive supports more than 300 game titles from over 50 of the world's leading gaming publishers and software developers, including:

  • Sega
  • Atari
  • Epic Games
  • Kalypso Media
  • Warner Brothers
  • Eidos Interactive
  • Disney Interactive Studios
  • Take-Two Interactive
  • 2D Boy
  • Codemasters

As OnLive's subscriber base grows, it is expected that the company will be able to attract more game publishing partners and increase its digital game distribution capabilities. The end result should be hundreds upon hundreds of additional game titles, and a vastly expanded range of option available to gamers like you.

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