Monday, 29 October 2012

Apple and VMware are Working on a Cloud-Based iWork Suite to Challenge the Upcoming Microsoft Office 2013


CRN is reporting that Apple and VMware, which makes virtualization software for cloud computing, are working on a cloud-based iWork suite from Apple. With this cloud-hosted iWork suite for the iPad, Apple wants to go straight against the upcoming Microsoft Office version for the iPad and in a broad sense against the upcoming Microsoft Office 2013 that will be tailored for Microsoft's Surface tablets and the touch interfaces of other tablets.

Reportedly the cloud-based iWork App for iPad will combine VMware View virtual desktop software with cloud-hosted versions of the iWork suite, which inludes Pages, Numbers and Keynote. The iWork suite will run on Apple's data center infrastructure.



VMware's Horizon Application Manager, a cloud computing application manager, will also be used for an enterprise app store by Apple.



Apple and VMware are also working together on Horizon Mobile for iOS, which is part of the Horizon Suite VMware showed off at VMworld 2012. The Horizon Suite is slated for beta release by the end of the year. Horizon Mobile creates a partition between the personal and business apps and data on a device to solve IT concerns with the bring your own device (BYOD) trend.



Apple is already big in cloud computing with the iCloud, but the iCloud is a consumer-focused storage service. With Windows RT, the ARM version of Windows 8, and the Microsoft Surface tablets with Microsoft Office 2013 included, being lauded for actually being the first tablets that are also great for productivity applications for businesses, Apple and its iPad products run danger of being labeled as shiny and expensive toys by business users. As the bring your own device (BYOD) trend is gaining traction in IT, Apple runs danger of fading into oblivion in the business world. Apple is trying to respond to that threat by repurposing the iWork suite to the cloud and away from consumers to business people. Therefore they are building a separate infrastructure for iWork than for iCloud.

source told CRN that Apple wants Pages to be seen as a replacement for Microsoft Word, Numbers as a replacement for Excel and Keynote as a replacement for PowerPoint.



That Microsoft and cloud computing is not a love affair yet is evidenced by the licensing spat over Windows and OnLive Desktop that they've had with OnLive. It's interesting to note that OnLive Desktop for the iPad was already approved by Apple a long time ago, but we are still waiting for the OnLive gaming app for iPad to be approved by Apple. The OnLive Desktop App for iPad streams Windows with Microsoft Office software that includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint to iPad users.



Many people in the business world are dissatisfied with the high pricing of Microsoft Office becuase of their monopoly, some fully featured laptops already cost less than an Office license, which is absurd. This is where Apple is seeing their chance and wants to challenge Microsoft's Office cash cow, and sell many more iPads to business people along the way. Of course Microsoft has already started their foray into cloud computing with the Office 365 service, so in the usual Microsoft manner they are working on monopolizing the cloud by leveraging their Office monopoly in the business world.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Royal Envoy 2 Joined the OnLive Marketplace and the OnLive PlayPack

For a change, OnLive also released a game this week, though they are on a low-carb diet of games and losing fat fast, as some of the games they've lost were the creme de la creme of their library. Well, to return to the released low-carb diet game, Royal Envoy 2 was added to the OnLive marketplace and the OnLive PlayPack. The game costs $9.99 in the US ($6.99 PlayPack), £6.99 in the UK (£4.89 PlayPack) and €9.99 in Belgium (€6.99 PlayPack). The OnLive PlayPack is now at 245 games in the US, 244 games in the UK and 244 games in Belgium, and counting.

Royal Envoy 2 is a casual strategy game published and developed by Playrix. Its predecessor Royal Envoy (UK, Belgium) is already a part of the OnLive marketplace and the OnLive PlayPack.

In Royal Envoy 2 you team up with Cedric once again, for another exciting adventure! The King turns once more to you, his trusted city planner, to travel to the faraway land of Middleshire devastated due to the poor management and negligence of its rulers. Here you will be greeted by a host of zany new characters, and meet a few old favorites. Explore ancient caves and forgotten mines, meet mystical nymphs and leprechauns, engage in snowball fights in the frigid arctic, and rescue the people of Middleshire from the fires of a terrible volcano. With you as their guide, the people will build a veritable paradise - while you win prizes for your speed and quick wit!

Features:
  • 63 unique levels and 30 bonus challenges.
  • Over 60 achievements to unlock.
  • Lots of all-new quests.
  • New game modes (night and fog).
  • An exciting story with zany characters.
  • Take the King's challenge again!



You can play the free demo and buy Royal Envoy 2 for the US, the UK and Belgium powered by OnLive.

Friday, 26 October 2012

OnLive Canceled the Darksiders II - Season Pass and Refunded Money back to the People Who Purchased It


Sadly, the OnLive removals and cancellations continue, as OnLive now canceled the Darksiders II - Season Pass that they've launched along the main game in August in the US and in the UK. The purchase price of the Darksiders II - Season Pass was $19.99 in the US ($13.99 PlayPack) and £12.99 in the UK (£9.09 PlayPack). As a matter of fact the Darksiders II - Season Pass wasn't available for purchase in the OnLive marketplace for some time, now OnLive only made the cancellation official. People who purchased the Darksiders II - Season Pass got their money refunded by OnLive. The Darksiders II - Season Pass included the following add-ons:
OnLive senior manager of customer relations Nathan Barsetti sent out an email message to people who purchased the Darksiders II - Season Pass. The email reads as follows:

Dear Season Pass Holder,

Thank you for purchasing the Darksiders II Season Pass. This letter is to inform you that we have refunded your purchase of this item. At this time we cannot guarantee that you will receive the same quantity of Downloadable Content (DLC) for Darksiders II that you would on other platforms.

There has been no removal of DLC from your OnLive copy of Darksiders II, but you will not see any automatic additions to your in-game mailbox (Tome) going forward. We do plan to add DLC, but without the option to receive it under the Season Pass. All refunds have been processed at this time, but may take 3-5 business days to show up in your account, dependent on the policies of your bank.

We apologize for this inconvenience, and appreciate your understanding on the matter. If you have any questions, or have not received the funds back in your account after 5 days, please contact the OnLive Customer Billing Department by visiting support.onlive.com.

Sincerely,

Nate Barsetti
Sr. Manager, Customer Relations
PlayerTag: OnLiveNate



After OnLive went through ABC bankruptcy and started their reorganization, they lack the manpower for onboarding games and add-on content, so no wonder the problems with the add-on content for Darksiders II. OnLive stated that they are working on making it easier for games publishers and developers to put their content on the OnLive cloud gaming service. They want games from indie developers up to the top games from the biggest games publishers delivered by them just by pressing the submit button and not that an army of OnLive engineers is needed to help them port the games over to OnLive. This is a feature that their biggest rival in the cloud gaming arena to date Gaikai has been bragging a lot about.

But it could take several months until AAA titles start appearing in large numbers again on OnLive as they stabilize, get more people working on getting the games, and make it easier for games publishers and developers to bring their games to OnLive.

Nathan Barsetti posted at OnLive Fans:

Yep, no secret our new content is thin right now. Everyday I get updates on what is in the works with new games, and while I can't announce the titles specifically, be prepared for it to be several months before we are able to flood the Marketplace with AAA titles again. Most large publishers are cranking on the holiday retail season, and new title development can take a back seat during this time. We know from experience that generally serious work on preparing new spring and summer titles for market doesn't begin in earnest until the new year.

As for opting to refund the money rather than providing PlayPasses, we have found since launch that while some people see this as an attractive alternative, most would prefer to have the cash back in hand. Rather than create another level of processing by our Customer Billing Dept., we felt this was the cleanest path to resolution for DSII Season Pass holders.

He added:

I want to append what I posted earlier on this thread. We will have releases, and some well known titles, very soon. My comment about the months ahead is that mainstream releases tend to move in cycles, industry wide. We are moving into the holiday cycle, and due to the reboot we've had with publishers, we are not in a place to participate in it. The games on the horizon are great new titles that we are aiming to get Day & Date. The seasonal cycle these titles fall into may be as late as Spring. Again, there will be additions to the service in both PlayPass and PlayPack, but I'm referring to big budget, widely marketed titles, otherwise known as AAA.

Of course the question remains when, if at all, will OnLive regain trust from games publishers and developers after their problems? The answer is not easy. Other strong cloud gaming contenders like Sony are coming up and even if OnLive manages to remove the need to port PC games to their cloud gaming platform and make it super easy for games publishers and developers to bring the games to them, in the end this might not be enough after what they've gone through.

OnLive Removed Major League Baseball 2K12 from the Marketplace in the US Because of a Game Breaking Bug

Major League Baseball 2K12 was released on OnLive in the US in April and was now already removed from the marketplace because of a game breaking bug. The game was never available for OnLive gamers in the UK and Belgium. This removal follows an unfortunate chain of other game removals culminating in the recent removal of Warner Bros. games from OnLive, though Major League Baseball 2K12 was removed because of technical problems.

OnLive stated that the critical bug surfaces for players when the game loads save data at the start of the gaming session and then the game essentially just freezes. Reportedly this bug is affecting all platforms, but the game publisher 2K Sports said that they will maybe patch up the console versions of the game and since OnLive uses the PC version they're out of luck.

As with any game removed from the OnLive marketplace to date, people who purchased Major League Baseball 2K12 are still able to play the game from their My Games tab. In case they are experiencing this critical bug, they should let OnLive know of it and OnLive will attempt to fix it, or give them a free game code for a comparable game.

OnLive senior manager of customer relations Nathan Barsetti posted at OnLive Fans:

Last week we discovered that there was a critical bug with the title. This surfaces for players when the game loads save data at the start of your session. Essentially it just freezes. This is a bug affecting all platforms. 2K has made it clear they will likely be patching the console versions of the game, but the omission of a fix for PC leads us to believe we won't be seeing it on our end. In the past, we've seen developer/publisher resources for sports franchises like MLB move to the new version (i.e. MLB 2K13). Apparently, 2K doesn't have rights to MLB titles moving forward, so we aren't expecting a new version coming out that we can provide a discount to affected users. We did something similar with NBA 2K10 and 11.

We've had some success with repairing this for a segment of customers, but it's not reliably resolving the issue across the board. Rather than sell a broken game, we decided to remove it from the Marketplace. If you already own the game and are experiencing this problem, let us know and we'll attempt to fix it, or give you a code for a comparable game.

Go Giants!



People who want to play virtual baseball on OnLive still have the choice of playing Major League Baseball 2K10 (UK, Belgium) and Major League Baseball 2K11 (UK, Belgium). Both games are part of the OnLive marketplace and the OnLive PlayPack.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

All Warner Bros. Games Including Batman: Arkham City have been Removed from OnLive - OnLive in Negotiations to have Them Back


OnLive had to remove all Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment games from the marketplace and the PlayPack on behalf of a request by Warner Bros. OnLive already stated that they are in negotitations with Warner Bros. to get the games back and renegotiate their partnership. Here is a list of all the Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment games that were removed, marked in brackets are the games that were also a part of the OnLive PlayPack:
Looks like OnLive overlooked the multiplayer portion of F.E.A.R. 3 named F.E.A.R. 3 PlayPack Multiplayer, that is still on the OnLive PlayPack, though there is no option to play the game. Of course it's also possible that they didn't have to remove it.

As with any game removed from the OnLive marketplace to date, people who purchased any of the removed Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment titles are still able to play them from their My Games tab.



OnLive senior manager of customer relations Nathan Barsetti posted at OnLive Fans:

Warner Bros. has requested that we temporarily remove their titles from the Marketplace, pending some talks between that company and the new OnLive.

As with any game removed from sale, anyone having purchased one of the following titles will be able to still play them.

Bastion
Batman Arkham Asylum
Batman Arkham City
Lego Batman
Lego Hairy Potter (both versions)
Fear2, Fear3
Lord of the Rings: War in the North

I'm told the relationship is solid, just that legally OnLive 2.0 isn't able to sell them until this paper is in place.

To quell fears of OnLive gamers Nathan Barsetti later posted this wonderful allegory on the removed F.E.A.R. games at OnLive Fans:

Just do what I do, take a deep breath, straighten your back, and repeat the Bene Gesserit Litany against Fear from the novel, Dune by Frank Herbert.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.



After OnLive went through ABC bankruptcy and its assets were purchased by Lauder Partners for $4.8 million, OnLive is legally a new company so the deals that OnLive made before their ABC bankruptcy are void and games publishers and other former partners don't need to heed them anymore. Of course this is one of the reasons that OnLive went with the ABC bankruptcy as they could get out of expensive long term server contracts, but as everything has its good and bad side, the bad side is biting the restructuring OnLive in their ass in recent times and they have to renegotiate their contracts with games publishers and are losing some games from their catalog.

Speaking of bites in the ass, OnLive is getting a fair share of them lately from games publishers with the removal of 4 Konami games in the US, the removal of 3 of these Konami games that were still on OnLive in the UK and Belgium, the removal of Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 from the OnLive Marketplace and the removal of GREED - Black Border from the PlayPack.

The game of the highest caliber that was removed from OnLive to date is Dead Island, which was recently removed along other games because of a GameSpy issue on October 2nd. The other games resurfaced the next day as the GameSpy issue was fixed, but we still don't know what happened with Dead Island. The only response from OnLive was a brief comment on their Facebook page, "We are aware of the Dead Island issue and are working on fixing it." This response could mean that they are also in negotitations with Deep Silver, the publisher of Dead Island, to bring the game back, or if one would mistrust OnLive that the negotiations already fell through.

I do wonder if the new OnLive also lost some of their technology and hardware partners, since some of them reportedly lost their money on the old OnLive this is highly likely and we may get to know this in the near future as this is something on that OnLive's future survival and growth depends.

Warner Bros. was a big OnLive investor and they were strong partners. For the release of Batman: Arkham City on OnLive, OnLive and Warner Bros. even partnered up for the Hugo Strange trailer which used the Mova CONTOUR reality capture facial motion capture technology from OnLive's subsidiary Mova.



Warner Bros. reportedly had to write off their OnLive investment. With this in mind, I think the probability is high that the negotitations will fail, though hope remains as Nathan Barsetti wrote "the relationship is solid." Losing support from a media corporation like Warner Bros. could also be very problematic for OnLive's content acquisition. It remains to be seen what other big games publishers that support OnLive like Ubisoft and THQ will do in the wake of OnLive's problems.

Multiplayer Support for Split/Second and Pure on OnLive has Ended Because Disney Finished Supporting the Multiplayer for the Two Games Across All Platforms

Split/Second and Pure, the two racing titles from publisher Disney Interactive Studios and developer Black Rock Studio, are part of the OnLive cloud gaming service for more than a year in the US with Disney Interactive Studios saying that they want to bring their titles to OnLive in the UK and Belgium. Now both games were stripped of their multiplayer functionality on OnLive because Disney Interactive Studios decided to cease support of multiplayer for the two games across all platforms. Both games were great fun with multiplayer, especially Split/Second which at least retains its local multiplayer splitscreen functionality and even supports touch controls on OnLive.



Disney was recently in other cloud gaming news as they have partnered with cloud gaming company G-cluster which will get their games.

OnLive senior manager of customer relations Nathan Barsetti posted at OnLive Fans:

Disney has ended Multiplayer Support for Split/Second and Pure

We just got word that our partner Disney has ended their support for Multiplayer on the two racing titles of theirs we host, Split/Second and Pure. This permanent change will be reflected on the Marketplace screen for the games, and a reminder will be put up for a time when you launch either of the games. This is unfortunately beyond our control, and wholly a decision of the publisher. We are told this is the case across all platforms.

I know that people play Split/Second MP often, and I've enjoyed it a bunch myself. We won't be providing refunds for anyone that has purchased it longer than a month ago.

Thanks and feel free to discuss among yourselves.

In response to questions that why this should affect OnLive, due to them hosting their own servers and if most multiplayer games on OnLive are reliant on outside servers Nathan Barsetti replied at OnLive Fans, "it is totally dependent on the game and the mechanics for matchmaking coded in the game itself. These titles are completely dependent on Disney's servers for MP."


Sunday, 21 October 2012

French Telecom Company Orange Launched the Orange TV Cloud Gaming Service Powered by G-cluster Technology


Orange, the French multinational telecommunications corporation that represents the flagship brand of the France Telecom group, launched the Orange TV cloud gaming service for their Orange TV IPTV customers in France on October 11th. In the near future they also plan to launch their cloud gaming service on PCs, Macs, tablets, smartphones and other devices.

The Orange TV cloud gaming service is powered by cloud gaming technology provided by G-cluster, which has recently made news with their G-cluster Wi-Fi cloud gaming console that will launch in Japan in the Spring of 2013. G-cluster is already well-established in France as they have launched a cloud caming service for customers of the French carrier SFR, they have in the past also partnered with France-based games publisher Ubisoft and more recently with DisneyG-cluster also has plans for an expansion to OnLive's home turf the US.

This innovative cloud gaming solution provides many benefits for the end user: simplicity of access and use, attractive prices, and a diversified and wide catalogue of games. As with video on demand, the end user can access games directly and quickly without the need to download content or purchase any new physical devices. To play, users just have to use the remote controller or a gamepad, with the option to use the wireless gamepad from Orange or any other USB gamepad. The end user can play alone, with other players in the same room or remotely with other Orange TV customers who have subscribed to the Orange TV cloud gaming service.



The Orange wireless controller looks like a cheaper version of the Universal OnLive Wireless Controller which in itself closely resembles the Xbox 360 controller, except for the placement of the left analog stick, which is positioned similarly to that of the PS3 controller. And since Orange is, well... orange, the color palette of Orange's gamepad also follows the black and orange color palette of OnLive's gamepad, albeit again looking cheaper. The Orange wireless controller is a 2.4 GHz wireless device, comes with an USB dongle, has more than 40 hours of battery life, also supports the PC and even the PlayStation 3. The Orange wireless controller is priced at €28, but Orange is running a -50% promotion where you can get it for €14.


The Orange TV cloud gaming service has launched with a catalogue of about 100 games. They are going with an OnLive PlayPack like business plan, though they are also open to offering games a la carte. End users are able to enjoy a diversified catalogue of games thanks to unlimited and no-commitment monthly subscription packs, or they have 2-day or 1-week rental offers. A free 10 minutes try-before-you-buy offer is available for all the games in the catalogue. Here's what the Orange TV cloud gaming service currently offers:
  • Discovery Pass - €5/month (€2.5/month without commitment for the first 2 months -50% promotion) for unlimited access to 50 top casual games.
  • Premium Pass - €10/month (€5/month without commitment for the first 2 months -50% promotion) for access to premium console games on top of the entire catalogue of casual games.
  • Rentals - 2-day or weekly rentals of games at affordable prices with a promotion for a 1-day free rental of Rabbids Go Home.
Comparing the whole games library of the Orange TV cloud gaming service with OnLive's games catalog, and in particular comparing the Orange TV cloud gaming service premium pass with the OnLive PlayPack, is like comparing apples and oranges, with OnLive of course being Apple in this comparison. Of course one has to remember that OnLive launched with only 17 games more than 2 years ago and is now at around 350 games, and the Orange TV cloud gaming service is already starting with around 100 games and has the backing of a multinational giant with Orange.

The Orange TV cloud gaming service is providing a fun and entertaining experience to all the household members. Together with G-cluster they have partnered with high-end games publishers like Ubisoft, Disney Interactive Studios and Frozenbyte, and casual games publishers like Playrix, MumboJumbo and Alawar. Customers can play games like Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 and Beyond Good & Evil from Ubisoft, Toy Story 3 from Disney Interactive Studios, and Trine 2 from Frozenbyte. Since Ubisoft is partnered with OnLive, games like Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 are already a part of the OnLive cloud gaming service.



Erik Piehl, president of G-cluster Global said, "G-cluster is very happy to provide its white-label cloud gaming service to Orange, the largest IPTV provider in Europe. This further expands G-cluster's lead as the largest scale TV cloud gaming provider."

Jean-Francois Rodriguez, VP of Games and social media at Orange added, “Orange and G-Cluster have built a strong partnership to offer a new gaming experience by leveraging on the Orange high speed broadband network and G-Cluster cloud gaming technology. After Video on Demand, streaming music, Orange customers will now enjoy a games on demand service.”



G-cluster provides a white-label cloud-based video gaming service using its patented G-cluster technology - the first of its kind to be operational on a large scale. The technology allows interactive content requiring low latency, such as high-end video games and full-length DVD films, to be distributed to a wide range of devices. G-cluster has partnerships with more than 30 game studios and more than 90 games are commercially live today on its platform.

Since G-cluster has partnered with NVIDIA, the data centers running the games in the cloud for the Orange TV cloud gaming service will most likely in the near future be powered by NVIDIA's Geforce GRID cloud gaming technology that includes the GeForce GRID GPUs and the GPU virtualization hypervisor, as NVIDIA's cloud gaming products have just a month ago started sampling to cloud gaming partners. Other hardware that is in use in G-cluster's data centers has yet to be revealed.

The launch of the Orange cloud gaming service reinforces G-cluster's position as the leading cloud gaming platform in Continental Europe.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

G-cluster is Getting Games from Disney as Part of a New Partnership


Cloud gaming service G-cluster and Mickey Mouse based media conglomerate The Walt Disney Company announced in September that they are partnering to bring many of Disney Interactive Studios' popular games to the G-cluster cloud gaming platform, including Toy Story 3, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game, Alice in Wonderland and Split/Second. This isn't the first cloud gaming partnership for Disney Interactive Studios as they have previously partnered with OnLive and games like LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game and Split/Second are already a part of the OnLive cloud gaming service in the US.



As G-cluster has partnered with the Disney Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) arm of The Walt Disney Company, the Disney Interactive Studios games are first available in France and will later also launch via G-cluster services in other countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as G-cluster expands its partnerships across the region. Seeing that Disney Interactive Studios is listed as a partner for the G-cluster Wi-Fi cloud gaming console that will launch in Japan in the Spring of 2013, games from Disney Interactive Studios could well be available in other regions where G-cluster will spread to, like on OnLive's home turf the US. No wonder that the Disney Interactive Studios games are first available in France as Disney has a heavy presence in France with Disneyland Paris, G-cluster is already well-established in the country and has in the past also partnered with France-based games publisher Ubisoft.



Matt Carroll, commercial director, Disney Interactive, The Walt Disney Company EMEA said: "As we, and the wider industry, move towards further integration of content, across gaming and filmed entertainment, we're pleased to be launching a selection of games for the whole family on G-cluster, first in France and in other territories in the future."

“We are delighted to have Disney joining the G-cluster platform and supporting our efforts towards building the largest cloud gaming platform in the world with Operators. Disney has great brands that will fit our target audience perfectly,” added Sevan Kessissian, vice president of content and strategy at G-cluster.

G-cluster provides a white-label cloud-based video gaming service using its patented G-cluster technology - the first of its kind to be operational on a large scale. The technology allows interactive content requiring low latency, such as high-end video games and full-length DVD films, to be distributed to a wide range of devices. G-cluster has partnerships with more than 30 game studios and more than 90 games are commercially live today on its platform.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

G-cluster Wi-Fi Cloud Gaming Console Announced by Broadmedia Corporation at Tokyo Game Show 2012


Japanese Broadmedia Corporation announced at the Tokyo Game Show 2012 in September that they will launch the G-cluster Wi-Fi cloud gaming console in Japan, they call it the "world’s first Wi-Fi cloud gaming console". The launch of the console is scheduled for Spring 2013. The technology for the console will come from one of the group companies of Broadmedia Corporation that is also named G-cluster, which has been making its name in the cloud gaming space especially in France and Japan with plans to expand to the US. Game titles to be offered, service details, and the retail price of the G-cluster Wi-Fi cloud gaming console will be announced soon.


Users will simply be able to connect the G-cluster Wi-Fi cloud gaming console to their TV and Wi-Fi network in their home and enjoy a cloud gaming experience without having to download or purchase game software at a store. This palm-sized device is easily attached to the back of a TV. The console is powered from a USB port on the TV, and an HDMI cable outputs both visual and audio to the TV. As it allows for connecting to Wi-Fi networks, the console and cables are hidden behind the TV. People will also be able to cloud game on their PC, Mac, tablet, smartphone and other devices.


The G-cluster Wi-Fi cloud gaming console resembles the OnLive Game System in functionality and is even smaller, though the OnLive Game System doesn't feature native Wi-Fi connectivity and people have to use wireless bridges.

The G-cluster Wi-Fi cloud gaming console will support gamepads, mobile phones or tablets can also be used as a gamepad. The Broadmedia Corporation even promises some Wii U like functionality where users are able to see a different picture, as on the large TV screen, on their tablets or smartphones and manipulate the game via touch or other controls.


Gamers will also be able to spectate live gameplay of other gamers similar to how the OnLive Arena feature works.


Since G-cluster has partnered with NVIDIA, the data centers running the games in the cloud for the G-cluster Wi-Fi cloud gaming console will most likely be powered by NVIDIA's Geforce GRID cloud gaming technology that includes the GeForce GRID GPUs and the GPU virtualization hypervisor, and other hardware that has yet to be revealed.



It will be very interesting to see how the G-cluster Wi-Fi cloud gaming console will stack up against the established local consoles like the Nintendo Wii U, Sony PlayStation 3 and even the gaijin Xbox 360. The land of the rising sun is the console gaming mecca, though telecom and media corporations like the Broadmedia Corporation also command a large following.


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

OnLive Desktop App for Android Updated to Version 1.1.1 to Support the Google Nexus 7 and other 7" Android Tablets and Higher - OnLive Desktop App for iPad Updated to Version 1.02 Which Comes with Network Connectivity and Performance Improvements


The last time that the OnLive Desktop service was in the news was because of Windows 7 licensing troubles with Microsoft and the subsequent move to Windows Server 2008 R2. Now the news is again cheerful as OnLive has updated the OnLive Desktop App for Android to version 1.1.1, which now supports the Google Nexus 7 tablet and other 7" Android tablets and higher.

The update of the OnLive Desktop App for iPad was of the minor sort as it was updated to version 1.02. OnLive states that network connectivity and performance were improved. Though being minor, such updates are very important for the gradual improvement of the App and that users see that OnLive still cares for OnLive Desktop.

OnLive posted on Facebook "OnLive Desktop now supports the Google/Asus Nexus 7 tablet! Tablets with 7" screen or larger should work too, let us know if yours doesn't by visiting support.onlive.com and clicking Ask a Question." They've also tweeted this.

John Speck, software engineering director at OnLive, posted this message at OnLive Fans:

Hi guys,

John Speck here... I work at OnLive. First post for me here, you're welcome to confirm my identity with Nate who remains your primary cruise director. Please continue to use Nate as my presence here on the forums will be very sporadic.

Wanted to just give you a little detail about the Android Desktop update that I did:

We've got a bunch of low hanging fruit at OnLive that I've been looking in to addressing. One of the items on the list is to look at our mobile offerings, review the feedback, and make some changes to try to improve our products. With that in mind I noticed that we were limiting the Android Desktop app to "XLargeScreens." If you want to read about what that means, check out this link: developer.android.com/guide/practices/screens_support.html.

I read some comments from users of that product that asked to have the Desktop app available on Nexus 7. The really cool thing about modern mobile development is how fast you can iterate on stuff. It turned out that the quick change to support Nexus 7 was to simply set a flag to true in the metadata. So, I checked out the APK, updated the metadata, checked in to SVN, tested it and then uploaded it to the app store... and boom! Users found it very quickly and the Nexus 7 is now becoming one of our top installed devices. Pretty satisfying for me. Actually, there is a detail you guys caught... the first 1.1.1 was built from a different code branch and not from the appropriate release branch which meant I actually violated my software release process rule. I rebuilt from the correct branch and uploaded that one. Hence the second update that was functionally identical.

Anyways, going forward, I will continue to look for wins like that on all of our products, games, desktop, and so getting excellent feedback like the post above by Turkey62 is awesome. I welcome any feedback you want to give on any part of the service (but please also make sure to send it to Nate!)

And in case anyone wants a snapshot of my bio: I'm primarily a software guy (although I haven't written real code in ages) and I also do some product design. I've worked at both B2B companies and game places in the past. My pride and joy was one of the first Mac MMOs (you've never heard of it.) I've been with OnLive since before it was OnLive, about 8 years or so. What I run at OnLive has changed through the years, but mostly I've always owned the software releases so pretty much everything you guys love or hate about OnLive was at least in some small way my fault.

Thanks,
John Speck

OnLive senior manager of customer relations Nathan Barsetti replied at OnLive Fans, "I have no idea who this is... Totally kidding. Speck is a core figure here at OnLive, and incidentally was one of the people responsible for interviewing me a couple years back. His expertise across all the teams makes him an excellent source of information. As you can see, he is totally in support of our effort to pull back the curtain for you all. I'm trying to get a more diverse set of people to chime in on these boards to give you guys an even greater perspective in how we operate and what we are looking ahead to. Please give him a warm welcome and try not to tear him apart too quickly! I think you'd find that would be a tough prospect anyway."

Looks like this time OnLive is doing what their fans want from them, as now apart from Nathan Barsetti even other important people from OnLive share some insights on what's happening at the company that pioneered cloud gaming. The old pre-bankruptcy OnLive was notorious for their secrecy, so this opening up feels like a breath of fresh air.

Interestingly John Speck is listed as co-inventor of several patents of OnLive founder and former CEO Steve Perlman, like US Patent 7,633,994 named "System and method for distributed input-distributed output wireless communications", US Patent 7,567,293 named "System and method for performing motion capture by strobing a fluorescent lamp", US Patent 8,194,093 called "Apparatus and method for capturing the expression of a performer" and other interesting patents. Looks like John Speck was, and maybe still is, heavily involved with other Rearden projects of Steve Perlman besides OnLive, like DIDO Wireless Technology and Mova.


Coming back to OnLive Desktop, for obvious reasons the OnLive Desktop App for iPad doesn't need a screen size update. John Speck posted this at OnLive Fans:

Overall, I am trying to schedule incremental improvements for the quality of streaming experience, both video quality and latency reductions.

In terms of "automatic" video quality on Android devices is one of the trickiest areas for me to address technically because the hardware specs of the Android devices are all over the map. In general, the better the video quality, the more CPU power you need on those devices to be able to keep up with the decode. Apple is much better bang for the buck because they have a standard platform with mostly only generational variations. It's also way easier for me to understand the screen magnification effect on iPad because of standard device sizes.

In terms of "manually" being able to override so that power users can experiment, I will try to get the same capabilities for the bandwidth quality selection out to the Android devices that are on the iPad app.

In general, I am exploring making more things configurable for the power users in all our clients. However, don't construe this as a promise... like I said I'm looking for quick things to fix/improve.

Looks like OnLive wants to work on the video quality and enable maual bandwidth quality selection for the OnLive Desktop App for Android, but because the iPad has powerful hardware as a standard, matching the picture quality of the OnLive Desktop App for iPad on the Android side won't be easy and will depend on the power of the various Android tablets.

Above I write that the OnLive Desktop App for iPad doesn't need a screen size update, this may be true for now, but this will change shortly as Apple will introduce an iPad mini on October 23rd.



You can read more about OnLive Desktop.

You can give the free OnLive Desktop App for Android and the free OnLive Desktop App for iPad a try.

You can sign up for free to use OnLive Desktop or sign up for $4.99/month to use OnLive Desktop Plus.

You can also sign in to OnLive Desktop with your OnLive game service account.