OnLive Brings Console-Quality Games to Smartphones, Tablets

Last year, gaming startup OnLive proved it was possible to provide consumers with video-game-console-quality experiences over the Internet, without requiring expensive hardware. Its service currently runs via PCs and Macs, and through a tiny, inexpensive set-top box. But now OnLive is pushing the boundaries of what's possible even further by bringing these video games to smartphones and tablets based on Apple's iOS and Google's Android, and the Amazon Kindle Fire.


"OnLive is now delivering the latest, console-class, top-tier games—literally to your fingertips—on tablets and phones for instant, on-demand play anywhere, anytime," says OnLive Cofounder and CEO Steve Perlman. "Through the free OnLive app, tablet and smartphone gamers can play top console and PC titles with exclusive OnLive Cloud Touch controls or with the new mobile-compatible Universal OnLive Wireless Controller. Tablets and smartphones, the fastest-growing consumer product categories in history, are now capable of running the hottest, highest-end games. Gaming and mobile devices will never be the same."

It's an interesting idea. Typically, gamers wishing to play modern, high-quality video games need to purchase a dedicated video gaming console like the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 or, for the highest-quality experience, an expensive gaming PC rig with high-end graphics capabilities. But with OnLive, the processing is all in the Internet cloud, on OnLive's servers, and all that's required in the user's home is essentially a dumb terminal—software on a PC or device, or a dedicated OnLive set-top box—and, optionally, a video game controller. 

The 200+ games delivered by OnLive aren't exactly blasts from the past, either. The company offers a number of high-quality, modern games, including Assassins Creed: Revelations, LA Noire, Batman: Arkham City, and Saints Row the Third. And now this so-called cloud gaming service is coming to hundreds of millions of smartphones and tablets.

It starts this week with Android. According to OnLive, customers in the United States and the United Kingdom will soon be able to download the free OnLive app for Android-based smartphones and tablets and access the subscription gaming service from their devices. An app for Apple's iOS-based devices, the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, will be available soon as well, as will a version for the Amazon Kindle Fire. Additionally, a Universal OnLive Wireless Controller will soon be available for purchase via the OnLive web store, enabling a true console-like experience.

OnLive games are playable over 3G and 4G networks, or Wi-Fi, and require less bandwidth than YouTube video streaming, the company claims. And unlike some other high-profile cloud computing snags this year, OnLive can make one other interesting claim: It hasn't experienced a single moment of unplanned downtime since the service launched in June 2010. 

For more information, visit the OnLive website.
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