Friday, 23 November 2012

OnLive Thanksgiving and Autumn Sale with Over 20 Games Up To 75% Off

OnLive has a Thanksgiving Sale in the US and an Autumn Sale in the UK and Belgium with over 20 games up to 75% off until Tuesday, November 27. OnLive PlayPack subscribers can also take an additional 30% off these already reduced prices to bring prices of some games down 82%.

Here is a list of all the OnLive games that are on sale in the US, the UK and Belgium:

  • Aliens vs. Predator – On Sale For $7.49 US / £7.49 UK / €9.99 Belgium
  • Alpha Protocol – On Sale For $9.99 US / £7.49 UK / €9.99 Belgium
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent – On Sale For $5.00 US / £3.50 UK / €3.75 Belgium
  • The Ball – On Sale For $5.00 US / £3.75 UK / €4.50 Belgium
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution – On Sale For $14.99 US / £9.99 UK / €14.99 Belgium
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution Augmented Edition – On Sale For $19.99 US / £12.49 UK / €19.99 Belgium
  • Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga – On Sale For $10.00 US / £5.00 UK / €10.00 Belgium
  • Doc Clock: The Toasted Sandwich of Time – On Sale For $2.49 US / £1.74 UK / €1.99 Belgium
  • Fishdom 2 – On Sale For $4.20 US / £4.20 UK / €6.80 Belgium
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game – On Sale For $4.99 US ONLY
  • Icebreakers – On Sale For $3.00 US / £2.49 UK / €2.04 Belgium
  • Just Cause 2 – On Sale For $7.49 US / £4.99 UK / €7.49 Belgium
  • Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days – On Sale For $7.49 US / £4.99 UK / €7.49 Belgium
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light – On Sale For $7.49 US / £4.99 UK / €7.49 Belgium
  • London 2012 - The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games – On Sale For $22.49 US / £14.99 UK / €24.99 Belgium
  • Madballs in Babo: Invasion – On Sale For $7.49 US / £5.24 UK / €7.19 Belgium
  • Orcs Must Die! – On Sale For $3.75 US / £3.00 UK / €3.50 Belgium
  • Osmos – On Sale For $4.99 US / £3.24 UK / €4.49 Belgium
  • Royal Envoy – On Sale For $6.99 US / £4.99 UK / €6.99 Belgium
  • Sleeping Dogs - Digital Edition – On Sale For $24.99 US ONLY
  • Sleeping Dogs - Limited Edition – On Sale For £14.99 UK / €24.99 Belgium
  • Space Pirates and Zombies (S.P.A.Z.) – On Sale For $4.99 US / £3.49 UK / €4.49 Belgium
  • Tropico 4 – On Sale For $19.99 US / £14.99 UK / €22.49 Belgium
  • World of Goo – On Sale For $2.50 US / £1.62 UK / €2.25 Belgium
  • Zeno Clash – On Sale For $2.50 US / £1.75 UK / €2.50 Belgium
  • Thursday, 22 November 2012

    Chinese Cloud Gaming Service Cloud Union

    Beijing, China based cloud gaming service Cloud Union was founded by Danny Deng (Deng Di) who serves as CEO of the company. The company team began R&D on cloud gaming technology in 2008 and officially formed a company in 2009 when angel investor Wang Hai helped out with money. Wang Hai currently serves as chairman of the company. Before that he was digital media investment officer at Netural GmbH., vice president at P2P video streaming outfit PPLive and chief operating officer at Viacom's MTV China. His story as a chairman of Cloud Union is somewhat similar to a chairman from another cloud gaming company, namely Gary Lauder who became chairman of OnLive after he saved them from bankruptcy and kept the company afloat.

    After their official formation, Cloud Union had to wait another whole year without any serious investment before they've got their first infusion of venture capital in 2010 with a $2 million investment from Softbank China Venture Capital (SBCVC). Later the company became more successful with investments as in January of this year even Intel Capital invested into Cloud Union.

    As mentioned before, Cloud Union has their headquarters in Beijing, where they also have an R&D center. They also have branches in Hunan and Hangzhou that are set up as regional operation centers. Besides, it also has an R&D center in Chengdu.

    PC gaming is remarkably popular in China. But because of the high barrier of entry, many Chinese gamers are limited to gaming in smoke-filled net cafes, and often even those computers aren’t capable of running the latest and greatest games. “Does it run Crysis?” has been a refrain in the Western PC gaming community for years, and systems that can run Crysis are indeed powerful — but they’re also expensive. So Chinese gamers have mostly stuck with older games like Counter-Strike and World of Warcraft, or played Chinese games with more modest hardware requirements.

    This is where Danny Deng and his company Cloud Union comes in. Cloud Union focuses on the design, development and operation of cloud gaming platforms and is a leading live cloud and streaming service provider for high quality (3D graphics and rich audio) gaming in China. Through centralizing all computing power and graphics rendering in the server end, and streaming video of the gameplay to the client end, Cloud Union allows people to play high quality games across a multitude of devices like low-powered and cheap PCs, Macs, TVs through IPTV providers and mobiles. Cloud Union is currently employing around 100 people, most of whom work in R&D.

    “Most of the electronic devices, as long as they can connect to a network and decode a video stream, will be able to enjoy cloud game services. In theory, any game can be streamed to any device using CU’s technology, such as a notebook, TV, normal set-top box, etc. We even connected the PS3 with our cloud, so if Sony agrees, you can play PS3 games on any smartphone and Smart TV in China,” said Danny Deng, the CEO of Cloud Union.

    When Cloud Union released their first PC client in March of 2011, they opted not to promote the product for fear of overloading its servers. To support the operation of their cloud game platform, the company has set up eight service centers in some major cities in China. At present, they have more than 2,000 servers that are able to serve more than 300,000 cloud gamers in China. Since China is a huge country and especially the western regions and the countryside are underdeveloped and lack the internet infrastructure, Cloud Union can currently only serve about 30% of Chinese internet users which limits their market potential. Like with other cloud gaming services, responsiveness and video quality are two key problems for Cloud Union, though the company has now managed to reduce average lag time to around 30 ms. They are working hard on attracting more users to join, improve their technology, buy more servers and bandwidth, and deploy a network that will cover the entire country.

    It's not yet known what computer hardware Cloud Union uses in their data centers, though NVIDIA's cloud gaming boss Phil Eisler mentioned them in an interview back in September. Since Cloud Union streams the latest high-end PC games from the cloud to gamers, and NVIDIA has a very strong presence among cloud gaming services in the far east with the only serious computer hardware currently catered especially towards cloud gaming services, it might very well be that Cloud Union uses NVIDIA's GeForce GRID cloud gaming technology in their data centers.

    Since China’s government is calling for a new round of broadband bandwidth upgrading and cost reduction, China’s network operators need to find new killer applications to attract users to upgrade bandwidth and pay more money on their service. And cloud gaming definitely is a killer application for network operators.

    Cloud Union has partnered with China Telecom and China Unicom, potentially pushing cloud gaming services to 400 million broadband users in China. Moreover, Chinese IPTV providers BesTV and Wasu chose Cloud Union as the only partner in the cloud gaming area with over 20 million IPTV users potentially able to enjoy Cloud Union's cloud gaming services in China. The Cloud Union cloud gaming service is offered as an IPTV subscription plan option with subscription revenues split between Cloud Union and the IPTV providers.

    “We have made great progress with WASU Digital, which is one of the biggest IPTV operators in China, to enable every user to play cloud games in WASU’s network,” said Danny Deng.

    Cloud Union picks the games they offer at present mostly based on the demands of gamers, especially focusing on games that have high hardware requirements and more realistic graphics. Mature gamers tend to prefer these kinds of games. But more and more women and adults are also using their cloud game platform because it’s so convenient, so they are also expanding the variety of games they offer. They have a very experienced copyright team with more than ten years of experience in game distribution in China. They have relationships with lots of games publishers and developers from China and abroad, like for example with renowned international games publisher Ubisoft. Their cloud gaming model has been very well received by developers and publishers because their cloud gaming platform resolves several huge problems for the games industry in China, like piracy, high hardware requirements, and how to best collect fees. Currently their business model is to buy the domestic rights for games outright, and they currently offer more than 200 games, all legally copyrighted. They are considering allowing publishers and developers to set their own prices for games in the future, of which they will take a small percentage.

    Coming back to the question “Does it run Crysis?”, well no, at least Crysis isn't in the Cloud Union games lineup. But there are other heavy hitters like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim including the latest DLCs like Hearthfire and even fairly recent blockbusters like Dishonored and Borderlands 2. Here's a more comprehensive list of the more prominent games in Cloud Union's games catalog, since Cloud Union buys the rights for the games for China some of the games are temporarily not available because they've run out of their alloted number of licenses and have to buy more:
    It's fairly easy to say that this is the most impressive games lineup of any cloud gaming service to date, yes even better than OnLive's games catalog. Upcoming games for Cloud Union are Assassin's Creed III, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

    That Cloud Union has such a great support by games publishers in China that are even willing to tolerate the business model of outright selling the rights to their games isn't surprising when one considers that the console market in China is not very strong, there is virtually no games retail at least no legal retail because of the rampant piracy and that Cloud Union is partnered with China Telecom and China Unicom. Since to date large games publishers couldn't monetize their high-end PC and console games in China, they must feel pretty happy that China is embracing cloud gaming which makes game pirating virtually impossible. No wonder that game publishers like Activision, EA, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Bethesda SoftworksWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Disney Interactive Studios, LucasArtsSquare Enix, AtariCapcom, KonamiNamco Bandai, Tecmo KoeiSEGA, Codemasters, CD Projekt RedDeep Silver and THQ are willing to feature their high-end games on the Cloud Union cloud gaming service regardless of the possibility that they won't look and control that good through cloud streaming. Even more remarkable is that Microsoft, one of the big three console manufacturers, is on board, though only older titles in the form of Age Of Empires III and expansions and Ion Assault are in the Cloud Union games catalogOnLive for instance doesn't have such luck in the western markets where games retail and consoles are established players and it's harder to gain game publisher support.

    “Compared to the US, China is very different when it comes to the internet as well as TV industry. We are already standing at a competitive position in the Chinese market, which the potential competitors, such as OnLive and Gaikai, may not rival easily,” said Danny Deng, the CEO of Cloud Union.

    Cloud Union is not having the Chinese cloud gaming market for itself as Taipei, Taiwan based cloud gaming provider Ubitus is helping China Telecom building a cloud gaming service. Other cloud gaming competitors are sure to follow into the burgeoning Chinese cloud gaming market.

    Friday, 16 November 2012

    OnLive Released Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package and Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package Upgrade in the UK and Belgium

    OnLive released Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package to the marketplace in the UK and Belgium after it was released last week in the US. It is priced at $49.99 ($34.99 PlayPack) in the US, £29.99 (£20.99 PlayPack) in the UK and €39.99 (€27.99 PlayPack) in Belgium. Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package includes the original Saints Row: The Third game and all the add-on content that was released on OnLive to date which includes all three downloadable mission packs and more than 30 bonus DLC items. With every weapon, every vehicle, every outfit, go over the top, off the reservation, and to places where no decent game should go. Strap it on, all the way.

    Altogether the add-on content is worth $62.81 in the US (£42.31 UK, €50.31 Belgium) and with the base Saints Row: The Third game that costs $39.99 in the US (£29.99 UK, €29.99 Belgium) added it's worth $102.80 in the US (£72.30 UK, €80.30 Belgium). Of course it's debatable if the add-on content is really worth the money as some of the DLC content that THQ opted to release is how shall we say... inadequate for what it's priced.

    OnLive also released the Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package Upgrade for owners of the base Saints Row: The Third game to bring it on par with Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package. It is priced at $24.99 ($17.49 PlayPack) in the US, £19.99 (£13.99 PlayPack) in the UK and €24.99 (€17.49 PlayPack) in Belgium.

    THQ has developed quite an interesting relationship with porn stars. Below you can see former porn star Sasha Grey working hard to earn some money for THQ. Well, even pron is good enough for the prude games industry if you're in dire financial straits like THQ is.

    Apart from the base Saints Row: The Third (UK, Belgium) game, the following add-ons are part of the Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package (UK, Belgium) on OnLive:

    Saints Row: The Third is an open world action game published by THQ and developed by Volition.

    Years after taking Stilwater for their own, the Third Street Saints have evolved from street gang to household brand name, with Saints sneakers, Saints energy drinks and Johnny Gat bobblehead dolls all available at a store near you. The Saints are kings of Stilwater, but their celebrity status has not gone unnoticed. The Syndicate, a legendary criminal fraternity with pawns in play all over the globe, has turned its eye on the Saints and demands tribute.

    Refusing to kneel to the Syndicate, you take the fight to Steelport, a once-proud metropolis reduced to a struggling city of sin under Syndicate control. Take a tank skydiving, call in a satellite-targeted airstrike on a Mexican wrestling gang, and defend yourself against a highly-trained military force using only a sex toy in the most outlandish gameplay scenarios ever seen, igniting a city-wide war that will set Steelport on fire.

    Now Steelport is ripe for the taking, and it's up to you to make the city your own. Mold the skyline based on your choices, outfit your crew in classy gangster gear or furry costumes, and make life-or-death decisions that will change Steelport, and the Saints, forever. This is now your city. These are now your rules. Strap it on.

    • Over The Top - Like a lapdance from a porn star, the action is naughty, fun, and better than anything you're getting at home.
    • City of Sin - Disrupt and dismantle the Syndicate stranglehold on weapons, cybercrime, and sex trades. Discover the secrets of Steelport, where there is action on every street corner, for better or, more likely, worse.
    • Weapons of Crass Destruction - It's one thing to defeat your enemies. It's another to humiliate them. Hover jets, human cannonball cars and sex-toy warfare are all part of the fun.
    • Co-op Madness - Give naked skydiving a try, landing in your partner's flaming pickup as you make a suicide run toward a heavily armed Syndicate brothel.

    Metascore: 84

    You can buy Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package for the US, the UK and Belgium powered by OnLive.

    You can buy Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package Upgrade for the US, the UK and Belgium powered by OnLive.

    You can play the free demo, rent and buy Saints Row: The Third for the US, the UK and Belgium powered by OnLive.

    Thursday, 15 November 2012

    OnLive Cloud Gaming is Now Available on LG Smart TVs with Google TV in the US

    Following an announcement in June, the OnLive cloud gaming service has just been integrated into LG Smart TVs with Google TV (G2 Series), making console-quality games instantly playable as part of the TV experience. The OnLive app is the first commercial deployment of instant-response cloud gaming in a TV with no console or set-top box necessary. OnLive already offers something that consoles currently can’t: the ability to continue playing your save games on the go, on nearly any PC or Mac, and many Android tablets.

    The OnLive app was delivered over the air today to the LG G2 Series Smart TVs that are already in homes and will be pre-installed on future LG Google TVs. With the Universal OnLive Wireless Controller, LG G2 TV owners in the United States can go to the Premium Apps menu on their TVs and play hundreds of video games on demand. Combining the power of the Google TV platform with the speed of LG’s L9 dual-core chipset and a user-friendly interface, the G2 series is LG’s first TV to make OnLive cloud gaming an integral part of the consumer experience.

    The G2 series LG Smart TVs with Google TV are currently available as 47-inch ($1,699.99) and 55-inch ($2,299.99) models. Since these are high-end TVs they are not sold in huge quantities and therefore OnLive doesn't need to be afraid of a sudden influx of LG TV users, but it's nonetheless good for OnLive that they are spreading to different devices and reaching more potential customers.

    Uniquely, OnLive makes console-quality gaming truly portable and accessible across multiple platforms. With a single purchase, OnLive games can be played on any OnLive-compatible device—on PCs, Macs, many Android tablets, TVs with the OnLive Game System, and now LG G2 TVs—anywhere there is broadband. Users can start a game on one device and continue playing on any other device, with full saved game data intact in the cloud, whenever and wherever they want. OnLive even enables cross-platform multiplayer gaming, so that an LG G2 TV owner will be able to play with (or against) friends on PCs, Macs and tablets.

    The OnLive games catalog includes games from more than 80 publishers, with everything from blockbuster new releases to classic franchises to family-friendly sports, racing and action-adventure games. OnLive games can be demoed free and purchased or rented a la carte, or players can subscribe to the OnLive PlayPack for unlimited play of more than 200 games, with more titles added monthly. OnLive also offers free access to unique social features, such as game spectating in the OnLive Arena, recording ten-second Brag Clip videos of players’ best gaming moments, and sharing videos and achievements with friends on OnLive and Facebook.

    “We are proud to be working with OnLive to deliver an incredible home entertainment experience with a full range of interactive viewing and gaming possibilities on LG G2 Series TVs,” said Georg Rasinski, Director of Home Entertainment Brand Management, LG Electronics USA. “OnLive’s premium-quality gaming service offers customers a great opportunity to test the dual-core performance of our G2 Series TVs. We think customers will be very impressed.”

    “Our partnership with LG has enabled us to take an important step forward in making high-end gaming accessible to everyone, across a variety of consumer electronic devices,” said Gary Lauder, OnLive Chairman. “Gamers can now enjoy hundreds of amazing console-quality games with no new hardware necessary beyond an OnLive controller and LG’s fast and intuitive Google TV.”

    A similar announcement of a partnership with LG was made by rival cloud gaming service Gaikai early this year. With Sony purchasing Gaikai this partnership is up in the air, as is the partnership of Gaikai and Samsung.

    Tuesday, 13 November 2012

    Darksiders II is 66% Off on the OnLive Cloud Gaming Service Until Thursday

    Darksiders II is 66% off on OnLive until Thursday. You can unleash the fury of Death in this epic tale of redemption for a great price of $17.00 ($11.90 PlayPack) in the US, £11.90 (£8.33 PlayPack) in the UK and €17.00 (€11.90 PlayPack) in Belgium.

    You can read more about Darksiders II on OnLive.

    Metascore: 81

    You can play the free demo, rent and buy Darksiders II for the US, the UK and Belgium powered by OnLive.

    The Results for OnLive's Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package Character Design Contest Are In - Gangnam Style and PSY Rule

    In light of the release of Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package, OnLive ran a Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package character design contest. They wanted to see the most ridiculous characters you've created since the base Saints Row: The Third game launched last year. Most awesomest Brag Clip or screencap would get a free PlayPass from OnLive. Judging was completely subjective, and based in whatever they felt like, but extra points were awarded to those entries referencing current events like creating your own Barack Obama.

    The Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package character design contest has now concluded and the results are in. Not only did OnLive award a Grand Prize Winner of the free PlayPass, but two runner-ups received free 5-day PlayPasses.

    And the free OnLive PlayPass goes to the Grand Prize Winner with the playertag Chimpman252 with his PSY character doing a gangnam style... oppa OnLive style. As OnLive said bonus points were awarded for current events.

    The 1st Runner-up Prize for a free 5-day PlayPass went to Zombie_Panik for his gender changed Duke Nukem. Looks like we now know how the next installment of the Duke Nukem franchise will look like. 15 years from now there will be another Duke, but this time he's undergone a gender change operation.

    The 2nd Runner-up Prize for a free 5-day PlayPass went to Magnum500 for his Dexter character. Looks like his Dark Passenger said tonight's the night and he was right, well at least the next 5 nights.

    And lastly, one character that can not miss in a character contest. Chimpman252 has created a Chuck Norris character that sealed his victory.