Friday, 30 September 2011

OnLive is Now Working Properly for TalkTalk ISP Customers

As reported, OnLive UK users whose ISP is TalkTalk, could not access the service due to the peer-2-peer throttling system that the ISP had in place. 
For almost a week, those OnLive users who were looking to connect to the service between the hours of 6:00PM and 12:00AM were not able to do so. TalkTalk’s P2P throttling system is designed to limit the amount of peer-2-peer sharing that their customers can take part in. It is mainly meant to prevent overuse of BitTorrent. However, the system was also mistakenly causing packet loss in customers trying to access the OnLive cloud gaming service, thus blocking them from connecting at all.

There is good news today, however. TalkTalk sent an email, explaining that the issue has been fixed. Below is the statement that was sent:
“Unfortunately the recently launched OnLive gaming service was incorrectly identified as a peer-to-peer application. We’ve changed this and are currently testing with customers. We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused.”
Many OnLive UK users who are customers of TalkTalk are now reporting that they can access the service during the previously blocked peak hours. It looks as though TalkTalk really took initiative in fixing this problem.

You can find more info about this on the OnLiveFans forum.

SOURCE: OnLiveFans.

Unreal Tournament III is this week’s $5 Fridays Game

Unreal Tournament III is this week’s $5 Fridays title for OnLive. If you’re a PlayPack subscriber the game will only run you $3.50.

In Unreal Tournament III players assume the role of a futuristic warrior engaged in contests of intense shooting battles against skilled opponents, controlled either by human contestants online or by A.I. These contests are fought with the most powerful sci-fi weapons and vehicles. Graphical and physical realism from the Unreal Engine 3 technology delivers a compelling First Person Shooter and offline.

The weaponry is bigger and badder than ever. Destroy your opponent from a distance with the ever popular Link Gun or blast away at close range with the Bio Rifle. Battle against lightening fast A.I. in the deeper and richer single player tournament mode. Expanded Onslaught game type features two complete sets of high-tech vehicles, including the massive Leviathan, the terrifying Darkwalker, and a completely new way to get into the action...the Hoverboard. Fight side-by-side with or compete against new and returning characters from the UT franchise, all with enhanced abilities, extremely detailed looks and distinct personalities. Enhanced popular game types, including: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and Instagib CTF and more.

Metascore: 83

You can play the free demo of Unreal Tournament III powered by OnLive.

OnLive UK Pre-order Specials for Batman: Arkham City and Saints Row: The Third

It's something that OnLive has done in the United States over and over again. They have become known for their tremendous sales, and pre-order offers. It appears as though OnLive UK gamers will also have access to similar deals.

Batman Arkham City

OnLive UK users who pre-order Batman: Arkham City by 5 October 2011 (11:59PM BST) will receive a free OnLive Game System. This is a great deal for those gamers who could not make it out to Eurogamer Expo this year to get a free OnLive Game System.

Batman Arkham City is available for £39.99 on the OnLive marketplace. What’s more is that PlayPack subscribers receive an additional 30% discount on all OnLive sales, bringing the total for this package to a mere £27.99. Batman Arkham City will be available in the UK in November 2011, and it is expected to be one of OnLive’s top sellers.

Saints Row: The Third

The other pre-order special is for Saints Row: The Third. OnLive UK members who pre-order the game between 29 September 2011 (12:00AM BST) and 17 November 2011 (11:59PM GMT), will receive a coupon code for £5 off any purchase through 18 January 2012 (11:59PM GMT).

Saints Row: The Third is available for £34.99 on the OnLive marketplace. UK PlayPack subscribers also have the benefit of the 30% discount bringing the price of the pre-order down to £24.49! Saints Row: The Third will release in the UK on 18 November 2011.

Pre-orders for Saints Row: The Third will also receive Professor Genki’s Hyper Ordinary Pack including:
* A Leisure Stunt Suit.
* Super Ballistic Man-A-Pult
* ‘Octopuss’ Weapon

SOURCES: OnLiveFans, OnLive Informer 1 and 2.

Humble Frozen Synapse Bundle is Here, Includes Trine Codes for OnLive

Everyone’s favorite indie game bundle has returned with their most recent addition, the Humble Frozen Synapse Bundle, and for those of you who don’t know what the indie bundle is, or why we're reporting this on the site let us explain.

The indie bundle is a collective group of PC – MAC – and Linux games that developers agree to bundle together and allow consumers to purchase for as little or as much as you feel the games are worth. The current bundle sale is for the award winning title: Frozen Synapse.

As a bonus for anyone who pays more than the average (currently $4.51) for Frozen Synapse, you will be instantly upgraded and receive the Humble Frozenbyte Bundle at no additional charge. This bundle includes Trine, Shadowgrounds, Shadowgrounds: Survivor, a preorder of Splot, and the prototype of the cancelled title Jack Claw.

Act quickly though as this deal is only good until Wednesday October 12th at 7:00 PM EST and by supporting the Indie Bundle you will also know that your contribution helps support indie game developers and the charities EFF and Child’s Play.

Now while these are PC – MAC – and Linux games, the reason we are posting this here is that if you happen to purchase these games you can generate a code for OnLive that will allow you to get Trine via OnLive for free. On the download page for your Humble Frozenbyte Bundle, near the top stands “Click here for your Steam, Desura and OnLive keys”. Just enter the OnLive key in the Marketplace where you purchase the games via OnLive.

Not a bad deal for those looking for some gaming on a budget, and adding to your OnLive Games collection for free is always a good deal don’t you think?

SOURCE: OnLive Informer.

Many OnLive UK Users With TalkTalk as Their ISP Are Experiencing Problems

When OnLive launched in the UK, with BT as their ISP partner, many people were surprised. Some wondered why they would choose BT as their partners, and not another ISP. BT is a large investor of OnLive, and they have the infrastructure to support what OnLive offers. However this didn’t mean that OnLive UK users that connect to the internet through other ISPs wouldn’t be able to access OnLive. At least this wasn’t supposed to be the case. However, many OnLive users with TalkTalk as their ISP are having a difficult time accessing the cloud gaming service.
According to ISPreview, BT is the largest supplier of broadband access in the UK with 5.8 million subscribers, followed by Virgin Media (4.3 million), and TalkTalk Group (4.1 million).

Many TalkTalk customers have been complaining about not being able to access OnLive between the hours of 6:00PM and 12:00AM, while having no problems during all other hours of the day. At first this was thought to be the effect of OnLive’s massive growth in the UK. Once the service launched at Eurogamer Expo 2011, thousands of new customers began gaining access. However, a little investigative work by TorrentFreak showed that this may not be the issue.

TalkTalk has a P2P throttling system that they utilize to limit the amount of BitTorrent use that their customers may take part in. TalkTalk is known to limit P2P sharing during these exact hours (6PM – 12AM) that OnLive users have been experiencing issues.

OnLive’s support team confirmed that these users are experiencing high amounts of packet loss on their connections to the service. It appears as though, many of the problems that people are experiencing are not OnLive’s fault, nor are they overloaded servers on OnLive’s end. Instead it may be technology within the current ISPs that are causing issues with OnLive; something that hopefully should be resolved soon.

On Twitter yesterday morning, a rep from TalkTalk posted the following message:
Hi, we are aware of the OnLive issues and are working on a fix.
You can find more info about this on the OnLiveFans Forum.

SOURCE: OnLiveFans.

OnLive Game Spectating May Get Interesting: Rewinding Video, Commentators and More

One aspect that OnLive has, which is totally unique in the gaming industry, is the ability to spectate. OnLive game spectating allows people to watch as their friends or complete strangers play certain games. This is all done through the OnLive arena, where people can browse through different games that are currently being played.

While spectating, viewers have the ability to do several things, including:

- Give the player a thumbs up (cheer) or a thumbs down (jeer).
- Add the player to the viewer’s friends list.
- Send the player a message (if they are already a friend).
- Voice chat with the player.

As OnLive seems to be blurring the lines between TV viewing and video spectating, the company appears to be on the verge of adding even more features.

In an interview, OnLive’s Vice President of Games and Media, John Spinale, mentioned a few new aspects that may come to the service’s game spectating in the future.

In discussing the OnLive spectating feature, Spinale said:
“I think we’ll see that now [that] we’ve got all this working, we’ll start to marry [it] with more functionality to broaden the appeal. For example, the concept of curation, so that a celebrity could narrate what’s going on, so that all the spectators have a bit of context. That and other stuff can really start to turn the viewing experience into a more collaborative experience. That’s where I think it’s going to really turn into a whole other thing.”
The idea of adding features such as commentary to game spectating could be what really makes the feature something that gamers and non-gamers would be interested in watching.

When asked about the possibility of having in game commentary and audience interaction during game tournaments, Spinale explained:
“None of it’s live today – but you can imagine I have a tablet version of OnLive where I can mark up information like on a chalkboard, while someone’s playing. Or if say someone scores a really cool goal, I can rewind it and point out to the viewer how this other guy is way out of position over here, using the tablet to interact with the television feed. You can have voice chat on with someone who’s a well-known celebrity commentator, who is pointing details like that out in real-time, in the game space. So you’re right – it helps turn games into a broadcast medium.”
Of course this would be a bit complicated as far as assigning the commentators, but in time, it could conceivably be worked out. Just as websites such as Youtube and allow people to have their own “channels”, could OnLive do something similar?

Spinale went on to explain:
“That was the beginning of the thought process, but once we realized that, ‘OK, the platform allows us to do so many different things because now everything is up in the data center and streamed as video,’ then your mind begins to go on to this other dimension and asking: ‘What does that really mean?’ It becomes another media type like movies, music and television – games could be broadcast out like them, so what can we do with that?”

“You can take these kinds of live events and make it more exciting, accessible and deeper than if you were just looking over someone’s shoulder.”
Could we really be on the verge of having a real live video game television option, whereas there are commentators, live tournaments that thousands of people could watch, and more? It certainly seems as though this is something OnLive is strongly considering.

OnLive multiplayer tournaments are both fun to play and fun to watch, but imagine adding in a commentator who could make the viewing experience even more interesting.

SOURCE: OnLiveFans.

Interview: John Spinale of OnLive

The cloud gaming service OnLive launched last week in the UK to intense media interest. BeefJack sat down with OnLive’s Vice President of Games and Media, John Spinale, at the Eurogamer Expo 2011 for a wide-ranging interview on how OnLive looks to add new dimensions to the gaming experience, the potential to distribute “the highest-end graphical game in the world” on the platform and why OnLive’s users have surprised even its founders with their creativity.

BeefJack: There’s an incredible buzz about OnLive here on the show floor, with the stand being absolutely mobbed. Is there a particular satisfaction about this happening at the Eurogamer Expo after, shall we say, they expressed “disbelief” last year in their coverage of OnLive?

John Spinale: They were sceptical – and I think that’s fair, because what we do sounds too good to be true. We work in a sceptical business so it was totally acceptable for somebody to say “I don’t believe you, I’m going to put you through the paces”, and I think they’ve been really good about saying “Hey, you know what? We were sceptical but you’ve proven us wrong”.

I don’t know whether it produces a certain satisfaction, but it’s good to feel like the platform is being accepted here. When we launched in the States, it was all about people being curious about the technology because it sounds too good to be true, and they wanted to know how it works. At the end of the day, while it’s fine to talk about the technology, what’s most interesting to gamers and consumers is not the tech – what happens in the background – but what games can they play, what features do we have as a platform and why they would want to use this instead of another way to get their games, either at retail or on a different platform.

So for me it’s satisfying because the conversation has moved on now to the fun part.

BeefJack: Talking about the gamer experience, one of the things that was highlighted in the OnLive developer session was the new forms of social interaction – for instance, the ability to instantly observe other people playing singleplayer games. That sort of feature has never been done by anyone else before. Do you think that level of social integration, the likes of which even Xbox Live and PlayStation Network can’t match, is the killer feature for you?

John Spinale: I certainly think it’s a killer feature, I don’t now though whether it’s the killer feature. The trend is everything is going online, everything’s becoming more social. Gamers are social people. It is so much more fun to play a game with your friends than by yourself. Statistically speaking, the vast majority of gamers’ time is geared towards playing socially, whether it’s on the couch with your friends playing a football game or online playing a shooter.

So, by having an online-only platform, it allows us to do all sorts of social things that you can’t do in the traditional console world. Spectating is a big one. Instead of looking over someone’s shoulder, you can surf through hundreds and hundreds of people playing different games. It’s not necessarily a killer feature for any one individual, but we’re finding a lot of time is just spent browsing through the games, like channel surfing on your TV.

BeefJack: Gaming has always struggled to find a place in the television medium as something to be watched, yet with OnLive you’ve created the ultimate TV network for games…

John Spinale: Yeah, we’re psyched about that. I think we’ll see that now we’ve got all this working, we’ll start to marry this with more functionality to broaden the appeal. For example, the concept of curation, so that a celebrity could narrate what’s going on so that all the spectators have a bit of context. That and other stuff can really start to turn the viewing experience into a more collaborative experience. That’s where I think it’s going to really turn into a whole other thing.

BeefJack: One of the things that leapt out at me was its applications for e-sports: for commentary, for audience interaction during tournaments…

John Spinale: In the fullness of time, we’ll see things like this happening – none of it’s live today – but you can imagine I have a tablet version of OnLive where I can mark up information like on a chalkboard while someone’s playing, or if say someone scores a really cool goal, I can rewind it and point out to the viewer how this other guy is way out of position over here, using the tablet to interact with the television feed. You can have voice chat on with someone who’s a well-known celebrity commentator who is pointing details like that out in real-time in the game space. So you’re right – it helps turn games into a broadcast medium.

BeefJack: Was taking elements of the way sports are presented on TV a big inspiration during the design stage for OnLive?

John Spinale: Yeah, it totally was. The first thing was: hardware in the games business is the bane of everyone’s existence, because you as a consumer has to spend £200-£300 to buy a box, the manufacturer has had to spend even more to make them, maybe losing money on them, a publisher has to spend a lot of money subsidising that box whenever they sell a game and it’s a really rough eco-system.

So if you can pull hardware out of the equation it just makes the business better, in that from a gamer’s perspective I can not have to spend that £200 on a box and I can spend it on games so that’s pretty fantastic.

That was the beginning of the thought process, but once we realised that, OK, the platform allows us to do so many different things because now everything is up in the data centre and streamed as video, then your mind begins to go on to this other dimension and asking: what does that really mean? It becomes another media type like movies, music and television – games could be broadcast out like them so what can we do with that?

You can take these kinds of live events and make it more exciting, accessible and deeper than if you were just looking over someone’s shoulder.

BeefJack: Have developers and publishers given you feedback that they’ve been inspired by this new approach?

John Spinale: Absolutely. The way that product evolution works in the gaming platform world is that you give someone the tools, and then they go and build something even more exciting than you ever imagined. We did a really great job of saying “hey, here’s all these motion inputs [on the iPad], here’s a couple of sample games” and the development community went crazy with it and produced these wonderful motion-friendly games.

We’re introducing a ton of new functionality in the platform world and it takes a little while for developers to get their heads around what’s possible and then to start to exploit it. So I think today’s generation of OnLive games are pretty similar to the functionality of what you’ll find on the consoles – but the next generation of games that will start to come out later this year and early in 2012 will really start to take advantage of the OnLive platform in the way they incorporate this new functionality.

BeefJack: How much work does have to go into making a game OnLive-compatible?

John Spinale: It’s pretty easy, though it does depend – if you have a PC version of a game it can be a matter of days to make it compatible. Your mileage may vary if you have big complex multiplayer stuff, which can take longer. We’ve got a lot of indie games on OnLive where it’s a team of two guys who’ve made the game and they don’t have a ton of time to deal with porting to a new platform so we’ve tried to make it as easy as possible. When we were building this platform it was a question of how do we make it as easy as possible for developers, because if they embrace your platform then you’ll get great content and cool, interesting, innovative games.

BeefJack: One of the things that came up in the developer talk was that it’s not limited to PC games which was how it was originally perceived – so it is possible to port Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games to OnLive?

John Spinale: Oh, absolutely. That’s why we clarified it in the talk. In our data centres we are running on a PC architecture that our servers are based on top of, but if you look at the portfolio of games on the service no-one would call them “PC games”. You think of PC games as being the likes of real-time strategy, MMOs or browser-based, but if you look at Batman: Arkham City that’s not a “PC game” in that sense of the term, it just happens to be running on a Windows PC in a data centre somewhere else.

Now, that’s because in our data centres we can run your game on an ultra high-end gaming PC that can produce much, much higher performance than the existing consoles. That’s why we chose that architecture. That’s more of a technical detail than anything the end-gamer would be concerned about, and of course early on we didn’t have the MicroConsole and you could only play OnLive games via a PC or Mac.

Now that you see the full spectrum of devices that OnLive works on – console, PC, tablets, Blu-Ray players, televisions and so on – people get more of a sense of the broad nature of the platform now.

BeefJack: Now that you’ve introduced your own home console – and at a significantly cheaper price than the Xbox 360 and PS3 – do you think it raises potential issues with Microsoft and Sony about games designed for their platforms coming to yours?

John Spinale: I think that when you look at third-party publishers such as THQ, Ubisoft, all those guys, they make all of their games cross-platform because it is so expensive to build a game and you need to get it into as many distribution channels as possible, so they’re going to of course continue to support Xbox 360 and PS3. But we’re now another platform – I’m sure the existing format holders would like there not to be another platform, but I don’t think they view us as a threat or a real problem. I think we’re an addition to the existing marketplace today.

BeefJack: You showed the Arkham City HD trailer at the talk, and have talked previously about how your system could run Epic’s Unreal Engine Samaritan demo. Do you think that there’s a possibility of a developer deciding to create a truly high-end graphics game – a next generation Crysis – and targeting your platform exclusively as the only one that could run it?

John Spinale: I can say that is very likely that something like that will happen. There’s always a crew of cutting-edge developers who wants to push things to another level and drives more performance from a system in a way that nobody else does. The Crytek guys were awesome at doing that last generation, I did it 15 years ago on the first generation of hardware-accelerated PCs and 3D games [John's long CV in games development stretches back to working on MechWarrior 2 at Activision in the 1990s as well as on the Tomb Raider franchise for Eidos, amongst numerous other titles]. There’s always someone who’s willing to shrink down their market size to be the most cutting-edge possible, and what’s nice about our platform is that we are the most high performance one available today that any consumer can afford. So there are definitely people who recognise that.

BeefJack: Are there already such projects in place?

John Spinale: People are starting to do some work now. I don’t think anything has been announced but the seeds are definitely being planted for some of that stuff. What Steve Perlman [OnLive CEO] showed earlier at the talk – the Mova facial capture stuff – things like that can only happen in the OnLive environment. It definitely opens up a world of possibilities and that’s what gets the development community really excited. There are a bunch of very creative, very talented people who are inspired by that, and for them figuring out “How do I make a business out of this?” is very much a second order of priority, but “What can I do that’s really cool and exciting?” is always the first thing they think of.

BeefJack: And that would be a great selling point for you: “The most incredible graphics in a game ever”…

John Spinale: Yeah, it works for us, without a doubt! You can play the highest-end graphical game possible in today’s world but you don’t actually need a $3000 gaming PC to play it. So that’s what the consumer proposition is. Developers love it because they can go and make the best game ever, consumers love it because they don’t have to spend 1,000s of dollars on gaming equipment that’s going to be obsolete in three years.

BeefJack: The other factor then is that you could play that same game on multiple devices – whether it be through your TV, a laptop or an iPad for example. Do you think that is the future: the idea of one game, one login, one service but across any device?

John Spinale: Yeah, and I think that’s becoming true in any form of media as well. When you buy a song, you feel like song belongs to you and shouldn’t be only playable on a single device. I’ve brought a license to that song and I should be able to play it where I want. The same is happening in the world of film.

It’s a little clunky still as it’s being rolled out, but it is happening and I think the exact same thing should be true in games, especially if those games are pretty expensive relative to those other forms of media. If you have purchased a game, I think it’s very reasonable and fair to say you should have access to that title wherever and on whatever you want. It just hasn’t been possible before due to the size of that media and the need for resources, but as soon as you go into the online world those restraints go away.

I think publishers are totally fine with that concept. In the States we’ve had a couple of deals where we bundled in a copy of the cloud version, so that if you go and buy a game at retail you also get a copy you can play on OnLive. And I think publishers want to do what’s right for the customer. If you’ve just dropped £40 on a game, of course you should be able to play that as well on your laptop or your iPad. Obviously, it’s our platform that allows for that sort of thing, but they’re doing the right thing with it for the customer.

BeefJack: So could OnLive act as the “one console future” predicted by the likes of Dennis Dyack?

John Spinale: I think there’s always going to be room for more than one platform. Who else is going to play in this world with us, I don’t know, but inevitably when we look back at platforms there’s always been several around. Sure, I’d be thrilled if we were the only platform needed, but I just don’t think it’s likely.

But you never know! We shall see. Right now, we’re a new thing that adds a lot of new dimensions, and I think that everybody finds a different bit of value in it where it fits into the world today. Even if you are an avid Xbox 360 player… there may be a lot of people who try out a ton of games on OnLive and make the decision to buy another Xbox and that’s OK. Over time, the benefits and performance tends to get people to consider us as a platform in it’s own right. Everyone has their own reason for wanting to try it out, and over time more keep coming back, which is great.

BeefJack: You touched there on two elements I’d like to ask you about. Firstly, the competition – at present you are the only company doing this, but GameStop have announced their own streaming service in the US. Do you worry that streaming could suddenly become a gold rush market and you would no longer have that USP? Does it ever worry you that Valve will turn around tomorrow and announce streaming for Steam, or that the Xbox 720 or PS4 will have this built in?

John Spinale: Like I said, I do think this will be a multiplayer market at some point and there could be a lot of different ways that that next player emerges – it could be any of the one’s you mentioned there. I don’t think that’s necessarily bad for the consumer – in the past, you had to pay $300 or $400 up front for the kit and then you had to make your bed on that platform and were pretty much hosed if you picked the wrong one, the one’s without a lot of great content. There’s always been multiple players, going back to the 16 bit cartridge era when the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis duked it out.

In this online world, though, the customer doesn’t have to make that up-front capital outlay, so I think the good news for them will be that if there are multiple streaming platforms… well, it won’t be a bad thing for the consumer.

To me it’s all about the social aspects and community, and being able to say “Hey, we actually integrate this into your real world”. It’s like the social media world: do you need two Facebooks? So I think that will actually be more of a question for the customer over the long run.

BeefJack: You mentioned the pack-in codes, and obviously there was an issue with GameStop removing them from copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution in the US. What were your feelings on that?

John Spinale: Well, I think that’s their prerogative to do that to the boxes that are in their stores – maybe not necessarily their prerogative but Square Enix's to not package in things for certain retailers – so conceptually I’m fine with that.

I think the way they handled the situation could probably have been a little… smoother. From my perspective, I always put the customer first and ask what is the right thing to do for them and work backwards from that. I think the intention is fine, but there were a lot of customers who were unhappy because off that, and that’s never a good place to be.

We made it right for any customer who came and wanted to talk to us and said they would really like the cloud copy – that’s an easy thing for us to fix.

BeefJack: So you did have customers who’d bought it at GameStop coming directly to you and asking for a code?

John Spinale: Yeah – and we gave them their copy.

BeefJack: Initially when you launched in the US, there was a subscription and then customers brought games on top. Since then, you’ve dropped that initial subscription, and added in rentals and a monthly package subscription. Do you think you went with the wrong model initially?

John Spinale: Absolutely. I think we were looking at the Xbox Live model – needing a base subscription to be in OnLive seemed to make sense because we have the cost of running the business, like Live does, and we were building servers and doing all this stuff and it seemed reasonable to charge for that and that was the assumption at launch.

Once we stuck our toe in the water, there were two things that happened: one was that consumers said they really didn’t like the subscription idea, and given the option they’d rather not – and I mean seriously would rather not – pay it, and that customer feedback is good.

The other thing is that once they came on to our platform, they were buying enough games that we didn’t have to charge a subscription to run our business. It wasn’t that we were trying to be greedy, but we were trying to get a business up and running and fund all this infrastructure we were developing. The great news was that people were buying enough software to allow us to run our business without a subscription fee.

So that kind of came together in the first few months of the operation. We never technically charged anyone a subscription fee – we reserved the right to after giving them the first year free – but then people were still hesitant about that concept so we dropped it.

And I think that was the right answer; that’s where the world is on the consumer internet – try something, and then if you like it…

BeefJack: So the present structure – the ability to buy games, subscribe to the PlayPack or rent them for three or five days – you’re happy with that?

John Spinale: Yeah, it works great. We kind of learned as we went along – and I think that’s the fun thing about being a start-up: that we can test different things and see what works and what doesn’t, listen to our customers and so on.

So on the standard side of things we have a free demo: you can try out any of over 150 games without any hassle, and that’s a pretty powerful thing within itself. A lot of those are available for rentals and then you can buy them for normal retail prices – and the prices are very competitive.

So that’s the standard aspect. But then we introduced our PlayPack subscription, which has about 100 games in it and that’s £6.99 a month, which I think is great value. So that’s all you can eat, right, and it appeals to a different crowd who like the idea of paying that amount a month to simply turn the console on and play a bunch of really great games. Most of them may not be the latest titles, but they were AAA games when they came out and any one of them could cost you $20 today to play. You can play and complete three, five games or more for the same hit on your wallet. It’s resonated really well.

There’s some really good games in there as well – we’re really pleased with what the publishers have been putting in there. Bioshock, Batman: Arkham Asylum – people would still pay a fair amount of money to buy those at retail still.

What’s really fun is games like Deus Ex – the original one – that came out in 2000. If you were to try and buy a copy now it would be hard to find, and if you did you’d have trouble installing it on a modern computer because it was made for Windows 98 or something. So you’d have to spend a lot of time building a virtual environment for it – finding the right drivers and so on – and I was talking to an editor who loves that game, but had just spent 12 hours configuring it to run on his PC so he could replay the original before Human Revolution came out. Whereas if you play it on our servers it would take around 12 seconds.

BeefJack: Is that an area you’d like to look into as well, with the growth of retro gaming? Your ability to curate a pure experience of playing these games as they would have been originally without any of the hassle?

John Spinale: I hadn’t though about that! We do have lots and lots of retro games, but I hadn’t thought about it in terms of the spirit of bringing them back in the way they were originally released – which is a great idea because it’s more than just a packaging and presentation concept. I think that’s good because it’s really fun for gamers to think about it that way. Yeah, I think we might do that!

BeefJack: I’ll expect the cheque in the post!

John Spinale: Yeah, it’d be great to see the games that you’d heard about and be able to experience them again in that light.

So, in the PlayPack – these were great games when they came out, the likes of Just Cause 2 from 2010, Tomb Raider, Unreal Tournament 3… these are all really great games. And there’s a good mix between Indie stuff and big publishers.

BeefJack: Was this another case where looking outside the gaming industry at other media business models – in this case, streaming movie services such as LoveFilm here in the UK, Netflix in the US – helps differentiate OnLive from the sort of model the games industry has been following for the last 20 odd years?

John Spinale: I think other industries have led the way on this, which is good because now customers understand the essential concept of streaming music, streaming movies, television – so the world of streaming games is easier to wrap their heads around. There are now a number of different ways in which they’re comfortable and willing to experiment with.

And it’s the same with the publishers. Take THQ with Homefront – they took the multiplayer component and said “We’d like more people to experience this” and so put that into the PlayPack. And then our subscribers can play as much as they want of this still pretty fresh game’s multiplayer without having to buy the full retail copy – and if it they like it, they can go buy the full version and play through the single player mode.

So people are experimenting with this and it’s doing really well. We’re all still learning what works for the consumer and the publishers – I mean, it’s no secret that game publishers have had a pretty rough ride over the last few years. The console business is a big, expensive business to be in, so everyone’s looking for new ways to be profitable in todays market, which is why I think they’re interested in being partners and experimenting with us.

BeefJack: So with the excitement surrounding the launch, is it a case of consolidation in the UK and Western Europe now or are there certain things in the pipeline that you’re moving on to?

John Spinale: Well, there are always things in the pipeline, which is the fun part of the work for us now. We laid all the infrastructure and technology and that was the really hard part of our business – the last seven years of sorting out the tech to make this happen because it goes so deep, from custom data centres to custom game servers for a new platform, and to do that all round the world. Then it was a case of working with publishers to make sure we get great content and really great games on the system.

Now that we have a lot of momentum in both of those areas, we can start to get into the really fun, innovative things that will bring new dimensions to the platform, and we’re rolling out features like that all the time now. We just added a bunch of different voice chat options so you and your mates can be spectating somebody playing and turn that into a sort of chat room – you could have ten people watching one person playing. You can also form permanent chat groups that can go across games. So we’re adding lots and lots of stuff like that, geared towards communication and socialising.

Take the Brag Clip feature. I can take them and post them out to Facebook as well as share them with your OnLive friends. Stuff like that is relatively straightforward for us to do, but it adds a whole new dimension to the experience. We try to make it as seamless an experience as possible between playing and sharing.

Then there’s the art that’s getting generated with that. It’s a great example of where you provide users with tools. For instance, Gearbox who developed Duke Nukem Forever put in a whiteboard in the game. An OnLive user called Hrubiks – who’s a really good artist – draws illustrations on that whiteboard and then records them as Brag Clips and shares them. Every single day he does a new picture [John showed several of Hrubiks' Brag Clips at this point, including a superb sketch of the Mona Lisa drawn from within DNF] – and he’s gotten really good at this, and he now has a following because people can see his profile, find out all about this guy and become friends with him. He has 245 friends on the service whereas the average person might have only 20 to 40. You can also rate both him and his work. He owns one game – Duke Nukem Forever – and he has the best part of 250 friends, all of whom are there to follow his artwork. Stuff like that is so cool.

BeefJack: Was that the sort of thing you didn’t foresee?

John Spinale: Right. That’s the best part of building a bit of a playground – people can just go crazy, do their own thing and come up with stuff that you would just never expect.

Philosophically, from the moment I joined and we were thinking about hope we were going to turn this into a product, the one that has never changed is that we said we are going to keep this as open as possible, so that we can take advantage of the best of the gaming eco-system that’s out there.

And there’s other dimensions too. We can embed it into a web page, so if you’re reading an article you can click on the link and within three seconds have access to a free half hour demo of a game. We’re trying to figure out how do you bring all the different worlds together. So you could read all about a game, all this great editorial but the dimension that was always missing was “Hey, can I try it?” – and we have the ability to provide that link. We’re doing that with GameSpot – it’s live now in the US – but it’s certainly not an exclusive relationship. Anyone who has a valuable editorial property, we’re happy to work with them and let them try it out.

Also they can take their content and integrate it into our world more tightly. On a game’s page on OnLive you have additional features such as trailers and so on, and you could have previews and reviews to read in there as well. We can take that stuff off the web and provide a relatively seamless experience for users.

BeefJack: Thanks for taking so much time out to talk to us.

John Spinale: It was an absolute pleasure.

SOURCE: BeefJack.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

GameStop: We Have Advantage Over OnLive, Gaikai

It wasn’t too long ago that GameStop was blind to the potential of digitally distributed games, focusing solely on retail. But the leading specialty video game retailer has been extremely active in the cloud of late. In fact, today gamers can buy digital copies of PC games on The retailer also owns social game development site Kongregate and cloud gaming company Spawn Labs and digital distribution service Impulse. This fall, the retailer will begin selling tablets that customers can stream games on. GameStop President Tony Bartel talks about the role cloud gaming will play in the future of this retailer in this IndustryGamers interview.

IndustryGamers: What are your thoughts on cloud gaming?

Tony Bartel: First, I think it’s important to define cloud gaming, which is anything that is distributed digitally and enhances the gaming experience. Whether that’s a full game download, or whether that is the sale of DLC.

IG: How do you see cloud gaming evolving as a business model?

TB: I think you’re going to see a lot of models being tested. I think you’re going to see people trying to sell full games for streaming in the cloud. I think you’re going to see people having monthly subscription models to pay for gaming in the cloud. I think you’re going to have people put together a micro-rental model where you have “X” dollars per hour to play these games. But at this point the only one of those that has truly been tested is the DLC model.

IG: What opportunities does cloud gaming open up for monetization?

TB: Based on market research that we’ve done, we believe one of the highest growth categories in all of digital is the sale of DLC. You still have a $50 billion console industry out there, and now you have this great DLC market where you have downloaded content directly to the console. And these gamers are used to paying for games. Rather than look to conjecture about the future, I would start with let’s talk about what’s working today, and that definitely is working. We see that growing from a $3 billion global category today to a $6.4 billion category by 2014. That’s a 24% per annum growth rate.

IG: How is GameStop getting involved in cloud gaming?

TB: What we find is that people who are gamers really want to have their games on display. We have our PowerUp Rewards program, which allows our 10 million customers to put their library on display digitally in one place. We see that as a huge benefit.

IG: What role will Spawn Labs play in your cloud gaming plans?

TB: The reason that we purchased Spawn Labs was to deal with latency. We believe that we’ll get latency to a point where it’s imperceptible even to a very discerning gamer. We’ll do this through our selection of where we put our data centers throughout the U.S., as well as on-going technological improvements to what they’ve already done. We believe that our technology will get to that point. It is already low latency. We’re going to continue to drive that down, as I’m sure OnLive and Gaikai are.

IG: How will you deal with demand from gamers in the cloud?

TB: Spawn Labs has allowed us to really start from the ground up and totally develop our PowerUp Rewards system. We know exactly what games people have and which games they are going to be playing. We know exactly where they live. We know what the demand is, and we know who is going to be playing those games. With our reservation system, which is also tied in to PowerUp Rewards, we will have great information in terms of who is going to be most likely to play games and where that’s going to take place. That will allow us to really invest behind demand. We will be able to see demand. We’ll be able to scale accordingly.

That’s where we have an advantage over our competition because we know who has reserved a game for the big launches. As you have these large launches come out, it will tax the system. Based on the fact that it’s extremely capital intensive, it is going to be a challenge for the industry to scale for some of these major launches, especially if people are streaming directly.

IG: What do you see in the future of cloud gaming?

TB: We think that there’s going to be an evolution of streaming from the cloud. As we look at the horizon, we see it as a very hybrid horizon. We basically see people beginning to access games from many different locations, and from many different channels. If you look at the GameStop strategy, our strategy is to basically meet them at every channel, provide them an excellent way to get to the game that they want to enjoy, in whatever way they want to enjoy it, from whatever device they want to enjoy it.

IG: What role will consoles play in this future?

TB: We continue to believe that the console is a strong platform and will continue to be the gold standard. People will begin to digitally download first a lot more downloadable content. Eventually, full games will become more relevant to some consumers who want to do that. Then we think that streaming will continue to grow. As you get additional bandwidth, we think that it’s going to become more prevalent over time, which is why we’ve invested in it.

IG: What role will tablets play in this future?

TB: We see this as an evolution where people continue to be more and more hybrid. We do believe that tablets are definitely a positive force, albeit a disruptive force, in the gaming universe. We see it as expansive. We really see that people who are using tablets generally have a high propensity for gaming. Whenever we have a high propensity for gaming, we get very excited about that, because we think that makes the whole gaming pie bigger. The question is, how do we, as a gaming community, get these immersive games -- which have always driven the gaming community -- into the hands of people who want to play them on tablets? I think that’s a question that we are answering, and a question that we’re very excited about addressing.

IG: Thanks Tony.

GameStop has a CEO they deserve to have, go see his face at the article source. That's some nice arrogant corporate money grabbing ass, this guy would feel right at home at the helm of a tobacco or oil company.

SOURCE: IndustryGamers.

AMD Likes Happy Cloud and More Titles to Come

The Happy Cloud made another key partnership, this time with AMD.

AMD will be manufacturing a new line of AMD Fusion Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) that will allow for high end gaming on TVs and set-top boxes using The Happy Cloud distribution algorithm. This is not like the OnLive MicroConsole. The Happy Cloud is still not streaming the game, they are “streaming” the distribution.

The collaboration between Happy Cloud and AMD will allow the consumer to play console-quality games on their TV, enabled by Happy Cloud’s technology for instant digital game delivery. Currently, customers must buy a console and games from retail outlets to get high quality games on their TV. This initiative will provide true on demand access from the open web, leveraging AMD’s embedded device hardware and designs, and Happy Cloud’s on-demand delivery technology and content partnerships. This solution offers connected TV high-resolution games on-demand, rather than mobile phone quality or web-based Flash games.

According to Eric Gastfriend, VP and GM of Happy Cloud, “You can get movies, TV shows, and music on demand straight to your TV—why not videogames? It used to be that you needed a gaming console and a trip to the store to get a new game. Now you’ll be able to get top quality games on demand directly from the Internet.”

“Offering The Happy Cloud service as part of our STB reference design gives our set-top box and integrated TV customers an integrated out-of-the-box solution to help broaden their market reach into on-demand gaming,” said Buddy Broeker, director, Embedded Solutions, AMD. “Our award-winning AMD Embedded G-Series platform, which integrates a very low-power, high-performance CPU with DirectX® 11-capable graphics on a single small chip, allows Happy Cloud customers to enjoy a rich visual gaming experience in a home theatre environment.”

As of right now there is no word on what TV manufacturers will pick this up, but AMD says their APUs will be ready to ship by 2012.

The Happy Cloud solution, in conjunction with the AMD Embedded G-Series platform, will run games on Windows, opening up a catalog of over 2000 high quality titles. This collaboration gives OEMs – TV manufacturers and set-top box manufactures – a value-added, open access service to offer their consumers, and new revenue streams.

SOURCE: Cloudiem.

Dual Logins Per Account On OnLive Possible and Remote Play Coming

Spending an hour with Bruce Grove, the Director of Strategic Relations for OnLive was the best thing I did at Eurogamer Expo 2011. The man is a gentleman for sure, but he’s also inspiring to listen to, as well as being a gamer himself he’s a man with a vision, who wants to help create something special, for everyone who enjoys gaming.

I want to talk personally about why OnLive, and the future according to Bruce excited me so much. There’s so much information to absorb right now, with OnLive having just been launched in Europe, I want to focus on some of the things that blew my mind, and some of the things that are coming in the future for the service.

Dual Logins, and how it could change co-operative gaming forever.

With OnLive, as you all probably already know, you can use the OnLive MicroConsole itself to log in to your account and play games, but you can also log in to a PC, tablet, Mac… pretty much anything with an internet connection. However, what people may not know is that you can log in to more than one device at the same time.

Imagine the scenario; you and a friend are playing a co-op game, both of you sat somewhere apart from one another in the world – playing on a 40″ HDTV with the OnLive Micro Console. Your pal says (over any bluetooth headset that OnLive recognises) “I’m stuck mate, I don’t know what to do”. In the old, archaic days of console gaming (tongue firmly in cheek folks, calm down) you could talk him through it via the aforementioned headset. But with OnLive, you could pick up your iPad (other tablets are available), log in a second time and literally watch what he is doing, and talk him through it, whilst watching him do it, and whilst continuing your own part of the co-op situation. Mind blown? It bloody should be.

Thankfully there are privacy settings, because otherwise we’d all be playing Generic FPS #119 online and using our tablets to watch our opponents. It is an option, and here’s a well kept secret – options are good!

OnLive on an iPad, and future possibilities.

At this moment in time, you can log into OnLive with an iPad, watch clips of people (brag clips) or watch live gaming. You can do everything apart from play a game. The future though, looks a little bit different.

Bruce started telling us all about the universal controller that will be released in the future. First of all, it will work with Macs. It will also work with iPads. Again, mind blown. As Bruce is telling us about this new controller, our minds are already formulating the possibilies; on a train with an iPad and a universal OnLive controller, with Wi-Fi, playing the latest in gaming entertainment. Even better though, developers are starting to include touch control support for games, as Ubisoft have done with From Dust, meaning that the game is released in a state not only to play using OnLive, but to play on a touch device using OnLive.

But there’s more. The future for OnLive is for the consumer to not even need the box that is currently available. The future will see OnLive be integrated into televisions from the get go, meaning all you need to do is have a free OnLive account and an internet connection, which you wire into the television – and you’re off.

On the subject of games, of course first party support is something that on the face of it, would seem impossible. However, the folks at OnLive want to create a vast library, indeed the ultimate library, of games for their customers. They refuse to say never, but understand that having Mario on their service is extremely unlikely. They are however, bringing older games onto the service.

To celebrate Deus Ex: Human Revolution, they decided to bring the original title to the service, which you can of course play with mouse and keyboard as intended. More than that though, they have their own dev-team which works on fixing any bugs or issues with older games, trying to optimise the older titles for the new OnLive service and controller.

Options are good, remember?

Why is all of this revolutionary you ask? Well it isn’t, but it creates options for the end user, the gamer. Of course you don’t need to play OnLive on an iPad on a train with a controller, but you don’t need that HDTV and super fast internet connection to breath in and out. Options are good, and OnLive comes with them in abundance.

Everything is dependant on the quality of the internet connection, and over here in Blighty they are more than aware that the infrastructure is still growing. OnLive aren’t arrogant, they don’t consider themselves in the same category as Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo right now, they are aware that as the UK’s internet connections improve, the service will improve dramatically.

There is so much potential with OnLive, Bruce talked about a feature they have that isn’t currently active – a version of remote play if you will. If your friend is literally stuck in a game, they can surrender control to you, to help them.

Honestly though, even as I sit here writing this I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface of what OnLive has to offer, what it can be and what it already is. It is as much about a community, a social experience as anything else, and on the face of it, OnLive is extremely exciting.

SOURCE: God is a Geek.

OnLive is the Next-Gen Console

OnLive founder, president and CEO Steve Perlman is no stranger to cutting edge technology, having worked for both Apple and Microsoft over the course of a career that’s seen him dabble in everything from Quicktime to motion capture. OnLive can be viewed as an amalgamation of his past experience, drawing in aspects of digital distribution, hardware manufacture and software development as he attempts to take cloud-gaming by the horns.

At OnLive’s UK debut, the first region following its US launch in June last year, OnLive arrived with a strong, varied line-up of titles. From new releases like Deus Ex: Human Revolution to indie hits like Braid, choice of content is not an issue. We sat down with Perlman to talk about learning from the past, looking to the future and how OnLive might be the key to gaming’s next seismic shift.

What lessons have you learned in the first year of OnLive, stateside, that will be brought to the UK launch?

The list is huge. We launched in the US with 18 games, and wired connections to PCs and Macs - you need millions of connections in order to figure out what is needed to make it run before we went to WiFi - so then we added WiFi. Then we added the MicroConsole. Then we added tablets. And then we started adding a lot more games. Multiplayer. Voice-chat – three different types: spectating chat, which is quite unique to OnLive, in-game chat and then group chat with friends.

Did this iteration come from community feedback?

Some came from the community, some things were on the slate but we just didn’t get around to them. There were limited resources so we had to triage our development resources, [things like] building parental controls… other things were smaller; how do we price these games? What’s the right way to promote them? How do people compare this offering with downloads and physical media? Like with Square Enix and Deus Ex – a coupon in with the disc turned out to be a very successful idea. When we first launched PlayPack - which has over 100 games, and is £6.99 in the UK (it’s $9.99 in the US) - the studios weren’t super-fond of [services like] Netflix, because they see it as more difficult to be successful in movies. But we tried to point out that gaming is a different thing, and we can make a successful flat-rate service.

Certain types of games, certainly legacy games that have been around, make sense, but getting studios to bring in new games like Homefront and Fear 3 and saying, ‘Hey – how about we just do multiplayer for that because then you have annuity revenue and if the person really wants to do singleplayer they can buy the whole game’: that worked out great. So we’re getting games six weeks after release into this flat-rate plan. How could you have predicted a year before that that would be the case? Initially [publishers] were saying there’s no way we’re going into a flat-rate plan. But having a flat-rate plan is very appealing for parents and people on a budget. However, they’re not going to do it unless there’s quality games on there, so how do you find that balance? We worked that out, it was 15 months of learning in the states in order to get us where we are now. There’s also been a huge amount of work on improving the algorithmns: if you were to measure the performance of, say, Unreal Tournament today compared to where it was 15 months ago, it’s more responsive.

The Pando survey of UK ISPs suggests BT isn’t top of the pile – why did you go with BT?

There’s a number of different issues. In the US, there’s not one internet backbone there’s several. Unlike a website, or streaming video, we’re very concerned about what route you have; to make sure it’s a very direct route from the data centre right to the user. The backbone in the UK is something which BT wholesales, so they have the technical depth and knowledge of how all these different pieces fit together. And so we worked with them in making sure that our inter-connects are optimal, that we can connect to anything as optimally as possible. And BT have a great relationship with their customers from a retail point of view, and they have a large network of WiFi access points - you can, in some cases, get Onlive to work over 3G, but for tablets and mobile devices it's really a WiFi application.

Who pitched to who?

There’s another side to it. I was giving a very objective set of characteristics but, gosh, at this point we’ve probably met with every major operator in the world - certainly different operators in the UK. We meet with people who are motivated and have a vision to go and do something new, who are willing to take a chance and go with something that’s not defined. BT invested in OnLive before we had even launched the service, where the general consensus among experts was it didn’t even work technically, it wasn’t possible. BT invested in May of 2010, and we launched in June. They believe in what we’re doing; they analysed it, said it really does work and not only that but it’s something which has a chance to really revolutionise things. We’re showing them the basic service now, there’s going to be new things we’re going to come up with; we want a partner who’s not going to look askance at it and say it’s too risky to try. We need risk takers and its hard to find that with large corporations.

The past months have seen developments in portable gaming, from 3DS to Vita – do you see yourselves now competing with those platforms?

Not directly. This brings up the broader question of whether we see consoles as competitors. This is the very first time a new platform has been introduced into the gaming space which is not a direct competitor against existing ones. We have lots of folks that are Xbox 360, PS3 and PC users who use OnLive as well. We’re more than happy to work in concert with these other platforms. We view ourselves as joining the ecosystem. It’s the same with portables, if you’re on an airplane without connectivity and you have your iPad or Android tablet, you’re not going to use OnLive. Then again, if you’re at the airport and your train’s running late and you want to play Deus Ex, you can. And that’s awesome.

So you think people will carry around a laptop, a Vita and an OnLive controller… ?

They may. You know what, if you have an Xbox 360 controller, we’ll work with that too. We’re not even saying use our controller – if you like, sure. We don’t have an agenda to corner the market everywhere. We really want to create a community and allow people to interact and talk to each other and so on.

The GameStop debacle – how do you feel about it, do you understand their position, removing the cards?

We worked with Square Enix on this. It’s hard to believe, but way back last spring we said, 'Hey, this’d be a good promotion'. So when it came out in August it was long out of our hands. They’re the ones who have the relationship with GameStop, we stood back and said, 'Look, it was Square Enix’s promotion - we’re happy to work with them and we’re happy to work with GameStop'. We don’t have an agenda to go and disrupt someone else’s business. As far as brick and mortar retail, obviously we’d like to work with them. You’ll be seeing more announcements coming from us, here and in the States, about deals that we’re doing with retailers.

People that say it’s the end of bricks and mortar and the world’s moving to digital distribution and that’s it… well, hang on what about Apple stores? Who knows more about digital distrubtion than iTunes and the App Store? And what are they doing? They’re building stores. It’s less about the end of bricks and mortar and more about the ongoing transformation of bricks and mortar. About 20 years ago they weren’t carrying [digital] media in these stores and now they are. And now they’re carrying more devices that play the media. It’s just part of that ongoing transition. The retailers that do not change, that continue in the way they are, will become extinct. That is true. I won’t comment on which, but there’s one brick and mortar retailer who wants to have a pink version of the MicroConsole with glitter on it, and it comes packaged with a version of PlayPack with girls’ games. Nothing wrong with that – we found it very amusing and said sure! I think the long and short of it is the world is changing, that’s the key thing.

How likely do you think it is that smartphone gamers, raised on pick-up-and-play titles will move into the core gamer category? Do you think you can wean them off their iPhone games?

We don’t have an objective to wean them off. Again, it’s a co-existence thing, it’s a big market.

What are the average resolutions OnLive displays?

One of the beauties of cloud gaming is the servers are always running at full quality. We’re constantly surveying, down to the millisecond, what the throughput is and the quality of the connections wherever we are and we don’t have enough users that can sustain 1080p, 60fps - you need about 10 megabits a second to do that. When we get to that point we’ll switch over, make [1080p] available, and then that’ll become the standard that comes out of all the servers.

So you can match console resolution?

Yes. We’ll start doing 4K resolution games. We can do it in the lab [now], 4096 by 2048 in full 3D – that’s the type of resolution Avatar would be projected in a theatre. We can make that work. We have the capability to do it. There are projectors you can get that can do that, certainly not mainstream TVs, but they will be there [in the future].

And no lag or latency issues?

No, increasing resolution doesn’t add to the latency. It means, today anyway, you need to parallel up the GPUs. But then again, with the GPUs a few years from now, you won’t have to. We can do multiple GPUs per server or we can do multiple servers that are combined together, we have those options. You might say, 'Gosh, that sounds awfully expensive, to run a hyper-realistic game and need 16 simultaneous servers'. Well, maybe it is during the day but you want to play it at 2am? It’s regular price. There’s lots of things we could do to bridge the gap.

In that case, you could change the pricing depending on the users’ display and usage time?

Yeah. We can, if we need to. And it all depends on how the world evolves. The ISPs are the ones determining how widely available broadband is, but as they’re putting out fibre they can put over pretty much any data they want on it. And over time things just get less expensive, it’s the nature of broadband. And computational capability gets less expensive as time goes on, too. But the thing about it is even if we were to release something like that, there are no games that run at that resolution. We can crank them up artificially, but they don’t have as many polygons as they normally would, or detail, to really take advantage of the resolution. What’s nice about where OnLive is getting to is when you get enough gamers using [it], the developers can go and do what they’ve been wanting to and go crazy with the kind of realism that can be achieved.

So theoretically, developers can come to you with a ground-up title and bypass the next console generation if they wanted to?

It’s not theoretical, we’re working with them now. For most people these titles will look like live-action, and you’ll just be controlling the characters - a lot of publishers and developers want to try to do things which bridge the gap between cinema and videogames. In some cases they’re using the exact same [character] models for OnLive [games] as for a feature film release. [OnLive’s wholly-owned subsidiary and proprietary] Mova technology has mostly been used for feature films, Green Lantern, Tron, because the resolution is too high for consoles. It’s brilliant what people have been able to do with 2005 hardware, but there’s only so far you can take it, right? The PC market, with high-end GPUs is not large enough to support the development of a very high-end title right now. So we’re bringing that back, we’re going to go and make high-end computing available to developers and that will also help the PC market, because they’ll get titles which will way out-perform consoles again.

Will this be offered contractually - 'Build your title with our tools and debut on OnLive'?

We make the Mova technology available to developers and as I said some of them are using it. But we support Unreal Engine, whatever they want to put in there, we’re not saying you have to support a particular tool chain. These things are complicated enough that if you really get down to it, there’s a handful of teams in the world today that can deliver what I’d call a photo-realistic videogame. In fact, you’re going to have some people from the motion picture industry, some people from the videogame industry each bringing different dimensions of that.

You think OnLive will draw together film and videogames?

It absolutely will.

In a way that consoles haven’t?

They didn’t get that far. In my view, there probably will not be another high-end console. We don't know of any in the works, the developers have not received any prototypes and the Wii U is not that, it's a different kind of thing. I think that this is the next console. I think everyone’s waiting to see if this really works: is it good enough? Is it going to attract an audience? You know, it took a year, and it’s perfectly fair for people to wait that long till they’re confident. We had some developers who decided to dive in and get ahead of the game before others and, frankly, the smaller developers have more to gain from getting in early than the large developers. And that’s exactly what we’ve seen. The key thing here is, there are so many disparate things going on between different devices, platforms and so on – we’d like to try to bring these things together. And we’d like to find a way to let each of our partners – broadband partners, tool partners, creative partners like Warner Bros., distribution partners – do what they do best. Let us be the nerds developing this technology, which is what we’re pretty good at.

If Apple moves more boldly into the gaming space they might want to host titles like Deus Ex on the App Store themselves – is that a danger?

I’m not too worried about it. Here’s a business answer – when you look at Apple’s financials, they pretty much break even with the App store, they make their money selling hardware. Google make their money selling advertising, they don’t make any money at all on Android, so when you look at the motivations of each of these different companies you realise they want [different things]. Something like From Dust [touch control version for OnLive] is going to sell iPads [and] Apple doesn’t like that? Are you kidding? The margins on that, that’s where they make their money. That’s a reason for them.

The other thing is, doing leading-edge stuff you tend to get thrown in the boat with the people that are more visionaries. So in our dealings with Apple, Google, so forth people tend to say, 'Wow, that’s cool, how can we help you?' It’s been great so far. People talk about exclusives: We have exclusives for pretty much every game on Macintosh. So again, we help them sell Macs. We even have a driver for Xbox 360 controllers which are not normally supported by Mac.