Any PC gamer will know the frustration of buying the latest and greatest game only to find that to get the best graphics from the game you need to splash out more money on another graphics card with some gamers spending £200 to £400 to get the best quality picture.
A solution appears to be on the cards in the yet to launch OnLive service which is due to trial later in 2009 in the United States. The service runs the games on central servers, presenting you with the action over a video stream, using your broadband connection to download the action and send back your inputs in real time.
Most people are used to watching online TV shows and will be familiar with the 'blocky' pictures you can get. The OnLine service is trying to reduce this by requiring a 1.5Mbps capable connection for its standard definition, or 5Mbps for its HD version which will be based on a 720 line resolution (i.e. 1280 x 720 pixels).
For broadband providers this represents a potentially massive surge in the usage of connections, most games run happily using less than 0.064Mbps currently. A 1.5Mbps stream would consume 675MB in an hour, and may shift the cost of that graphics card in to usage charges. Of course how popular the service would be depends on the quality of the games and the cost to play, if the picture quality is like trying to play on a 2 year old laptop then many gamers are going to continue to use their games consoles and PC's for the superior picture quality.