Saturday, 1 October 2011

OnLive is Capable of Wii U Type Controls, Picture in Picture Gameplay and Friend Assist

When Wii U was introduced by Nintendo at this year’s E3 in Los Angeles, California, many comparisons were made between it and OnLive. But OnLive’s cloud gaming service goes far beyond what Nintendo’s upcoming game system can do.

Most gamers know that the new Nintendo Wii U will feature a controller that displays the game at the same time as it is shown on the television. Even if the TV is turned off, game play will still be displayed on the controller. This is pretty much as far as Nintendo’s “cloud” aspect of the Wii U goes.

OnLive, on the other hand, utilizes cloud gaming technology to its full extent. Games are rendered in the cloud, while being displayed on another device such as a tablet, PC, Mac, television, or even smartphone.

We have been shown in the past, that OnLive will allow for touchscreen controls of games such as From Dust, which is set to be released on the service sometime in the near future. Also available will be the option to use a universal controller to play OnLive via tablet, without the use of touch controls.


Something that has not been mentioned before is the potential that OnLive has, to be able to act similarly to the Wii U. In an interview that God is a Geek had with OnLive Director of Strategic Relations, Bruce Grove, at this years Eurogamer Expo, more was revealed.

“You’ve already seen how we can go from one place to another and spectate (in OnLive),” explained Grove. “Well, I can give two streams to a single user, and now this (one screen) can become an input device.”

What Grove seems to be explaining is that an OnLive user will have the ability to play a game on one device while using another as a touchscreen controller. This has huge potential. Imagine playing a game on your iPad, while controlling it with your smartphone. Perhaps you would want to play a game on your large screen television, while controlling it with your tablet. The possibilities here seem endless.

While Grove did not say if any games are currently in the works for a controller set-up that would work this way, he did say that it is up to the publishers to come up to OnLive and request a game to be run with these capabilities. Once that happens, OnLive would have no reason not to enable this option.


The possibilities of this dual stream feature don't end here. The ability to allow one user to have two streams going at once, also opens up even more gaming options that wouldn’t be possible on other video game consoles. For example, multiplayer co-op gaming could become even more interesting. Grove mentioned the ability to enable “picture-in-picture” during OnLive gameplay. This would allow for multiplayer gamers to actually play on the large screen, while watching what their co-op teammates are doing on the smaller screen (via picture-in-picture, or even another device).

The majority of these aspects would require additional coding on behalf of the games’ publishers/developers, but it is something that Grove seemed to think would be coming in the future.


Grove also went on to discuss another feature that OnLive is working on.

“We haven’t enabled it yet, but we have a feature that we’ve been working on, called the Virtual Living Room. Two kids can come home from school; they want to play LEGO Batman. However, instead of having to come into the same living room, they can be on the other side of town. They are coming into a cooperative game, that was just built as a cooperative game, and now they can play that same game together over OnLive.”

All that OnLive is doing in this case is feeding the input stream into the same place. This is something that should certainly give the service an edge over other gaming platforms.


One other thing that Grove spoke briefly about, was something that we heard of before. We heard it being referred to as “Game Swap” in the past by OnLive VP of Engineering, Joe Bentley. However, Grove referred to it as “Friend Assist”.

“We also worked out, when we started playing around with similar technologies … Friend Assist. So I’m struggling with a particular piece of the game; I can call up a friend on [OnLive], and I can give them control of the game. And they show me how to get through that level. Then they hand me back the controls.”

Friend Assist will allow gamers to let their friends jump right into a game and take their controls over, no matter where in the world they are located. This is another feature that non-cloud based gaming platforms couldn’t possibly allow.

All of these new features only seem to be a small part of what OnLive has planned for the future. The possibilities for OnLive really seem endless.

You can listen to the whole Godcast of the interview that God is a Geek had with OnLive Director of Strategic Relations, Bruce Grove:

SOURCE: OnLiveFans.

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