In their latest email newsletter, GameIndustry.biz takes a far less alarmist approach to dissecting OnLive than I did.
There is simply no readily available comparison for what OnLive is suggesting here. Streaming high-definition video services, even hugely popular ones like YouTube or the BBC’s iPlayer, are several orders of magnitude less demanding – because all they’re really doing, at the end of the day, is serving a pre-rendered file to their users. They’re not doing anything in real-time, unlike OnLive, which is proposing to 3D render an extraordinarily taxing scene, encode it as a high-definition video and send it across the network, anything from 30 to 60 times a second – for every single connected user.
It is truly an enormous undertaking, bordering on snake oil–especially when one considers the controlled environment OnLive’s handlers used to sell the thing to wide-eyed journalists at GDC.
Just to be clear, I’m also doubtful that OnLive can seriously deliver even 1/10th of what they’re advertising at GDC this week. Nevertheless, it’s a first step towards a legitimate paradigm shift in the way we play video games, and I still think Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and any other company that relies on both software AND hardware to make a buck should take notice.