Wednesday, 31 August 2011

JTM Games Interview with OnLive's Brian Jaquet

I’ve been using the Onlive service for almost two months now, and it’s been a great gaming alternative to my gaming consoles. New games get added to the always affordable PlayPack Bundle, and the community is growing larger everyday. Only Onlive lets players play their favorite multiplayer games like Homefront and Fear 3, as well as hardcore games like the Witcher Enhanced Edition and Just Cause 2 all for $9.99 per month. With almost 80+ games, with more added every week, and a lot more in the marketplace for purchase or rental, Onlive is quickly becoming one of the better gaming deals available.

At PAX Prime, I had a talk with Brian Jaquet, Director of Corporate Communications for Onlive. I had a chance to ask him about the service, how it started, how it’s grown as a service, and where it’s going to be in the future.

JTM Games: What was the inspiration for the creation of the Onlive Service?

Brian Jaquet: The inspiration was to deliver a new type of gaming experience; one where basically you can play your favorite games across your favorite displays you may be already using. For example PC, Mac, your television down to tablets.

Also we wanted a service that basically delivers instantaneous access to those games. No downloads, no disks. We’ve really taken some technological advances into the world of video games that hadn’t been done before.

Also, being able to incorporate some features that you couldn’t do on a traditional console; like the ability to spectate and view what games other people are playing, the ability to post your brag clips, as well as some social features that we’re starting to share.

JTM Games: When the service was just starting out, did you have trouble getting developer support?

Brian Jaquet: When the service launched, we had 19 games; we had a lot of interest from publishers. I think there was definitely a recognition of this new type of platform that Onlive was creating.

We’ve been out now for over a year, and if there’s anything we’ve proven with both the customers that we’ve gotten and also the publishers we have, and the number of games we have is that THIS WORKS. This is a phenomenal experience that continues to get better.

The interest from publishers is through the roof right now. I think that everyone recognizes the value of what we’re doing.

JTM Games: What do you think is the biggest strength of Onlive compared to the other competing game consoles and services?

Brian Jaquet: I think that the biggest strength is the ability to play across devices. You can move seamlessly from one device to another. It’s the same with your friends too. You can have a group voice chat and continue it outside the game. Basically instead of having to exit the game and trying to find each other again, your chat group stays together and move from game to game.

The ability to move across displays very seamlessly I think is really really important to today’s gamer. The advent of tablet computing and the popularity. These tablets weren’t created to be able to play really high graphic intensive, high processor intensive games. But through Onlive, because we’re doing a lot of the heavy lifting in the cloud on the server side, you can play these games on the tablet. And that’s the real value that you’ll see from us.

Plus, we incorporate some of the social features that are talked about and also arena and the brag clips; those types of things that are so easy to do on Onlive that we may take for granted but is a lot harder to incorporate on other platforms.

And the final thing is just basically more and more day and day releases giving Onlive customers instant access to games the moment they’re available.

When Deus Ex: Human Revolution became available last week, it was available to play right at 12:01 AM. I think that kind of value for gamers is really important because gamers love seeing what’s coming and when it’s there, they want to play it immediately. And Onlive let’s you play it immediately. I mean it’s 30 seconds and you’re into the game.

JTM Games: I’m actually a part of the very active Onlive community, and one of the biggest selling features that got me to sign up for the service were the Homefront and Fear 3 multiplayer. What started the idea of just having the multiplayer component of these popular games in the $9.99 PlayPack Bundle?

Brian Jaquet: I think the idea around PlayPack really is that we want to bring tremendous value to customers. We want to make it so that PlayPack is, for our Onlive customers, a no-brainer. It’s just great variety, both current and back catalog type of games.

And so bringing Homefront, bringing FEAR 3 in; we really see that as being important pieces to making it. PlayPack should be tried by everyone. It’s 80 plus games, it’s $9.99 a month, and we know that with multiplayer you start to integrate some of the social features. You can let people know that you’ve started playing, you can dive right in from your facebook posting. Those are the things that I think create a better community of players too; and I think you guys recognize that value as well. So that’s a good win-win.

JTM Games: You mentioned Tablet Onlive gaming earlier; when can players expect to be able to play their favorite games on Tablets or on iPhones if it’s possible?

Brian Jaquet: We don’t have a specific date that we’ve announced, but it is fall. And we’re showing it here (at PAX), Onlive playable on Tablets, on iOS, and Andriod. We’re working very very hard on bringing those to market, but what I can tell you is that it will be coming out this fall.

JTM Games: Final question, do you see yourself as a major contender competing against the other game consoles that are in the market as well as those game consoles that are about to come out?

Brian Jaquet: I think we’ve created a very very compelling complimentary platform to the other platforms that are out there; and we’re doing everything we can to bring more and more customers in and show them the value of Onlive. That all comes back to content, that comes back to accessibility accross different displays, and if we execute the right way, then who knows?

One thing we can say about this market is that it’s definitely changing day to day.

And publishers love the fact that they can reach more and more customers and in that case, they love Onlive. We’ll see, you never know.

JTM Games: Thank you very much for your time Brian.

Brian Jaquet: Sure, no problem.

After talking with Mr. Jaquet, and seeing all the great things that they’re doing and plan on doing at Onlive, I am now a firm believer that it is a much bigger, and much better service that people give it credit for.

The sky is the limit for this cloud-based gaming service. And players should take part in it and meet the tight-knit community and the value-laden gaming experiences that Onlive offers.


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