OnLive


JackFetch
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SAN DIEGO -- Warner Bros. is among the financial backers of a new gaming venture, OnLive, that promises to leverage cloud computing and broadband connectivity to provide high-end play of the latest video games on PC, Mac or TV.

To be unveiled Tuesday at the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, OnLive is the brainchild of Steve Perlman, who founded WebTV a more than a decade ago.

Perlman described OnLive as a revolutionary, on-demand game platform that can deliver the latest and most advanced games on any TV via a sleek, inexpensive MicroConsole or on almost any PC or Mac. "You can have instant access to games," he said in an interview. "You just click on it and it goes."

Unlike current consoles like the Sony PlayStation 3 or Microsoft Xbox 360 -- or even the PC -- OnLive will have all the graphics, assets and game play taking place on its servers and then streamed in real-time using a special interactive compression technology that took seven years to develop.

Set to launch in winter 2009, OnLive is aimed at the more than 70% of U.S. households with a broadband connection. The company plans to charge a monthly subscription for access and then offer a number of different pay programs ranging from rental to outright purchase of games.

"By putting the value back into the games themselves and removing the reliance on expensive, short-lived hardware, we are dramatically shifting the economics of the industry," Perlman said. "Delivering games instantly to the digital living room is the promise game fans have been waiting for and OnLive makes that promise a reality that's affordable, flexible and focused on their individual needs."

Formed out of the Reardon Labs incubator in Palo Alto, Calif., OnLive is backed by financing from Maverick Capital, AutoDesk and Warner Bros. The company also has gathered an impressive management team that includes Perlman, former Eidos Interactive CEO Michael McGarvey and Charles Jablonski, former vp broadcast and engineering at NBC.

Although it's eventually going to compete with gaming heavyweights such as Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, OnLive already has lined up the support of top publishers such as Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Eidos, Atari and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

I don't see how cloud gaming is possible with the existing infrastructure in the US. Last year we dropped to 15th in the world in internet speed.

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