[citation][nom]Thunderfox[/nom]It would be nice if the review made some effort to evaluate the latency, as that is the make or break issue with this sort of thing. I don't know how useful anything like this can be anyway, in the age of bandwidth caps. Streaming games is like streaming movies - who cares if you have 16mbps down if all it means is that you will hit your quota in less than a day if you actually use all of that bandwidth?[/citation]
Yeah we needed to address that plus compare the console to the PC version: which should a gamer use? I was more concerned about addressing the issue of playing on Wi-Fi and how it affects the overall quality the further you move away from the router. Then again, an Ethernet connection with limited bandwidth also shares the same low-quality issue, producing pixilated graphics similar to a low-resolution video clip.
For latency, I've been playing Duke Nukem Forever, FEAR 3, Red Faction Armageddon and a few others and I don't really see a real noticeable
latency... if there is one, it's easily adaptable from my hands-on experience. What I HAVE noticed is that even though you may be connected via Ethernet, there are still network issues from time to time which isn't uncommon with online multiplayer games. The lag becomes a definite problem until the issue resolves itself (could be their end, somewhere in-between, or on my end) and the stream resumes its full flow.
When Duke Nukem Forever first hit the service, it was relatively unplayable because (I presume) that a good chunk of OnLive members were playing it or watching others play it. Latency is also an issue when others on your local network stream video, play an MMORPG or do anything network intensive. Typically when network congestion occurs, it starts with the controls and then seeps into the overall visuals.
I personally really like OnLive but it certainly has its limitations: you can't play custom mods and maps, and you can't play other gamers outside the OnLive borders. The selection seems to be growing at a slow rate, but there's a good heaping with the current crop. I asked American McGee if OnLive gamers would ever see the new Alice title and he said this:
"Not up to us. Up to EA. Please pressure them if this is something you're interested in. Tiny developer can't help you in battle against massive publisher."
The benefits of OnLive are obvious even though cloud gaming just arrived on the scene: PC gamers can enjoy games they can't run on their machines... in HD at that. Using the Nintendo DS-sized console, they can connect it directly to an HDTV's HDMI jack, plug in a mouse and keyboard, plug in an Internet connection, and play like any other PC gamer without having to drag their rig or laptop from somewhere else in the house. Plus, given it's all cloud, there's no loss of game saves and there's no need to reinstall 10 GB+ worth of software if your rig goes down. Hell, you can even rent
the games or outright purchase a full-time "pass." And while OnLive offers an all-you-can-eat buffet for $9.99 per month, membership is free. And yes, I know I sound like an OnLive rep.
As for bandwidth caps, that's a really good point. I believe I'll hit them up with a Q&A to see how they plan on addressing that (if possible), and what the company does to address latency. I would think the bandwidth cap issue would be a real kick in the groin for OnLive, but I may be wrong. We'll see.
Got any OnLive questions? Send them to kparrish at bestofmedia dot com and we'll (hopefully) get them answered.