Cloud gaming. That’s what OnLive is, simply put. Rather than downloading or installing a game, the player has the game streamed to them (live, of course) from the service’s servers. Apparently they’ve developed an algorithm that cuts down lag, which means playing a game you’ve never played for instantly with zero lag and zero install/patching time.
What does this mean? Suddenly, the need for high spec gaming computers is gone. Using the “microconsole” (which is just that: some USB ports, etc) or a browser plug in, one could play any game, even one well out of their system’s minimum specs. Reports from GDC are saying that people are playing Crysis on a Macbook Air, if you can’t believe it (even more interesting is that Crysis was never developed for the Mac).
I think the idea is great, but I would hold back my support unless it was backed… And it is. EA, Take-Two, Ubisoft and others have apparently pledged support. The site lists that it will launch with (at the very least) BioShock, Mirror’s Edge, Prince of Persia, and more. It almost sounds too good to be true, but if it turns out like they plan (and I hope so!), I’m all in.
Apparently it would allow for a rental service, too. You know, pay a bit, play the game for, say, a week… Hopefully, fully featured. Now, imagine our LAN parties. No high-spec requirements, no need to purchase a game. THAT is why I’m hoping for this to work. Cross your fingers.