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OnLive launches in UK, with free games for BT broadband customers
Thursday 22 September 2011 08:32:42 by Andrew Ferguson

OnLive, an online streaming game service, has been running in the US for sometime and a UK launch has been expected. Today, the service is launching in partnership with BT in the UK with another partner is expected to be announced today. The games can be played on PC, Mac, iPad, Android and HDTV's, the action being streamed as a video stream from a server farm. This rendering of the gameplay at a central location means that you do not need to upgrade your computer's video card, or you can play a game on a device that the game is not otherwise available for.

The bandwidth requirements are a minimum of 2 Mbps, with 5 Mbps as the recommended quality for optimum play, those with faster connections will benefit even more. The 2 Mbps minimum requirement means your broadband connection needs to be connected at 3 Mbps or faster (the sync/connection speed reported by the modem/router), the 2 Mbps referring to the speed as reported by a speedtest. Users of superfast services should of course find the service runs smoothly, even when others are using their connection, but for users of slower services, remember that just as with watching iPlayer and other streaming services now you will want to keep others off your connection when playing games.

With BT as the preferred partner, BT Total and BT Infinity customers will get three months free PlayPack subscription (saving £20.97), simply visit before 31st January 2012 to register. BT customers will also get their first individual Full PlayPass OnLive game purchase for £1 if bought before 11:59pm on 9th October 2012, usually priced at between £1 and £39.99.

In terms of pure picture quality the service is not going to equal a game from a PC or games console in the home, but the attraction is that it is on-demand and with the PlayPack subscription you get access to a wide range of games. The PlayPack has titles such as F.E.A.R. 3, Homefront, Borderlands, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Saints Row 2, Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition and World of Goo amongst others.

For those that want to play games on their HDTV and do not already have a computer hooked up to it, they can buy the OnLive MicroConsole TV adapter for £69.99 or if you get to the EuroGamer Expo at Earls Court (22nd to 25th) you can get a free system (before stocks vanish).

For those worried that this will eat up their precious usage allowance, this could be true. One hours play with a 2 Mbps stream would result in you downloading 0.9 GB. At the higher quality 5 Mbps rate this would result in you using 2.25 GB. For BT Total/Infinity users, the broadband usage from the OnLive service will not count towards your usage allowance until 2nd January 2012, meaning BT customers have the opportunity to try out the service without running into any usage allowance problems.


Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
O deary me. some unsuspecting parents gonna face some hefty bills in January if they have a good enough connection to run OnLive.
Luckily nobody in our area has a connection fast enough. ;)
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
depends on your definition of "area" I suspect.
Posted by Seansmit17 over 6 years ago
I just gave this a go, and being a steaming game i knew it was going to be bad.

And it was.

The picture quality is not all that bad but the delay between moving your mouse and it actually happening on screen is around half a second or more.

No good for FPS thats for sure
Posted by timmay over 6 years ago
Seemed to work ok for Dirt 3. Thing is the graphics are not sharp, the image seems dull and over compressed; which is no surprise. Latency didn't seem to be a problem but was using ~7Mbps which would eat into 3GB per hour (not a problem on old O2 LLU).

Anyone that can afford a good enough internet connection for this can afford a real console, so where is the market for this?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
Compression is never as good for a live event as for pre-recorded, since only single pass encoding is possible.

Compared to console, not as sharp, but as a way of playing a wide library of games its not bad.

The lack of buffering will quickly reveal which providers have peak congestion.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Why cyberdoyle? All they need to do is to move to a package that isn't limited, no hefty bills.

Ouch at the TV adapter price tho... Hmmm I was hoping sub £50
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
timmay , it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I'm sure for some the catalogue will be the appeal, think of the price of current games and some only take 9-10hours to complete in single player mode. You could play many of those Online in a month compared to buying them.

It won't replace consoles, not yet anyway but it will be interesting to see how it plays out as an alternative.
Posted by Seansmit17 over 6 years ago
Is there any settings for speed/quality at all? I cant see any
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
Didn't see any, believe it will suck up what bandwidth it can.

Anyone got a 100Meg link they can try it on?
Posted by NilSatisOptimum over 6 years ago
Its very hungry for speed!
Posted by rizla over 6 years ago
I was under the distinct impression that the resolution (and hence quality to a large extent) is a maximum of 1280x720. While technically it is HD, its a dreadfully poor resolution for those of us used to PC gaming. 720 vertical resolution just isn't good enough for a lot of strategy games.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
The resolution may be a limit of the time to compress the frame, i.e. has to be done real time.

A 1920x1080 option for those on 7Mbps and higher would help improve quality.
Posted by kev445 over 6 years ago
Tried it on a 40Mbit leased line, it consumed about 6Mbit, variable.
Posted by rizla over 6 years ago
Hmmm having looked at the games available I'm not convinced about the service. I think given the pricing/latency/resolution I'd just use Steam.

Were I cynical enough I'd think the games companies were just a bit concerned over the market share Steam has on downloaded games. This looks like it was designed to eat into that share.

Will be interesting to see what happens.
Posted by dabster1138 over 6 years ago
Hmmm for a web site catering for people for people into broadband/technology people here are surprisingly cyncical. I have tried this service on a crappy 2.5 meg connection and was pleasantly surprised by how well this service works. If onlive takes off it can only be a benefit to gamers so why the negativity?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
Played HomeFront for some time, and did enjoy it, not quiet the visual fest of a full console game, but ideal for casual gaming.

System should scale well for massive player numbers, i.e. more then the 16 on each side that is pretty much the max at present.
Posted by Bishski over 6 years ago
went to EuroGamer Expo on friday... queues for the free onlive box were huge so didnt bother.

I like the idea of being able to try out a game on onlive and then if i like it i can buy it on xbox or pc. could be good for casual gaming like xbox live arcade
Posted by jeffholt over 6 years ago
Only works with HTC Android
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
StreamMyGame is better as it means you can use your own games although your computer will need a decent upload speed.
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