IMO: a few hours with OnLive

I was lucky enough to get my hands on an OnLive unit while at the Eurogamer Expo last month and people have been asking me what OnLive is like since then. While the above 20 minute video sums up the package quite nicely I know a few of you would rather me go into finer detail.

First off, the video at the top was captured by me. it doesn't edit any footage, so you'll see my stupidity at the start where I cant open a door, and any lag, "artifacting" or slow down is due entirely to the OnLive service.

I'm not trying to rub it in your face when I tell you I have a 30mb connection at home although I would be lying if I said I wasn't slightly smug about it, but it's important to know that I have one of the best internet connections in the UK as of right now (I know next year BT is planning to put down some rather impressive services which will make my 30mb look like 56k dial-up) and even with that super fast optic awesomeness I still couldn't get a consistently good quality connection to OnLive.

Over the past week I've spent a few hours on various titles over OnLive, testing its response time, controller lag and graphic quality and have to say I'm a little disappointed with the overall outcome. Try the service at 8am on a Sunday morning, when the average gamer is fast asleep, and its silky smooth. But, try it at 7pm on a weekday and you'll be lucky to get 10 frames per second if you can log in at all.

You have to factor in that 30,000 people all got OnLive micro-console's at the Eurogamer Expo for free and are likely trying it out the same as I am now but if the service cant handle 30,000 people on top of its user base how will it ever stand up to the Gears of War user base or Modern Warfare nuts who buy their £40 title a year and only play that?

On the subject of other games I should mention that OnLive has over 100 titles to choose from, mostly random European PC titles that sound so stupid you'd never bother starting them up like "Puppy Love Fun House 3: Here Come the Pugs!" (if this game exists I'm very sorry). There are a few quality titles that you can pick up such as Space Marine, Deus Ex, Borderlands and Batman Arkham Asylum which can all be rented for 3 or 5 days and if you really want you can buy the game outright for around £30, a large sum of money for a service which hasn't quite proven itself yet. you can separately get a subscription of 6.99 a month to play over 100 titles on the service which is mainly made up of the Puppy Love Fun House series but does have a few good titles on there such as Fear 3 and Homefront ( I said good, not great)

Overall I'm happy to use OnLive as a demo machine as it gives 30 minutes of play on a large selection of titles for free but I would never consider using it as my main console. With a small growing user base, a small selection of quality titles mixed in with a bunch of shovel-ware and a service which is dependent on the time of day you play, OnLive shows promise for a possible future in the video games industry.

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