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Hands On With OnLive's Android/iPad Client

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 13 comments
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We go hands on with OnLive's mobile gaming and even hear word that Nintendo's Wii U might have competition.

We had the chance to sit down with OnLive's President and CEO, Steve Perlman, and go through a few demos of the company's latest offerings, including two clients, one designed for Android and the other for iOS.

OnLive's table had a Motorola XOOM and an Apple iPad 2 to showcase some demos.

On the iPad 2, OnLive was streaming a title created by Ubisoft that offered touch-controls if played on a tablet. The feedback felt good, and fluid, as if you were running a native game on the iPad 2 itself. However, the big feature was that the graphics on the screen was far beyond anything that tablets can render at this point. We saw impressive water fluids, and fly-by screens looked smooth. The touch controls were easy to use, but were designed specifically for the demo. The majority of OnLive's titles do not have native tablet touch controls.

Which is where the demo with the XOOM came in. We tried playing with Virtua Tennis 2009, streamed from OnLive's servers to the XOOM. The difference with this demo was that we were using the actual OnLive wireless game controller. Gameplay was responsive, and controls felt good. There was no discernible lag in either demo, and was actually very fun.

For PC gamers, there might not be an immediate reason to jump on OnLive's service, since players are accustomed to having their own physical media. But for mobile gamers, this is a pretty big thing. We imagine late nights of gaming in bed, where you can prop up your tablet, take out the controller, and start gaming without having to go to the living room and turning on the TV.

One thing we asked Perlman was whether this tablet combination might be able to compete with the new Wii U, and his answer was that OnLive is going to be able to bring Wii U-like experience later this year. Using a tablet as your game controller, combined with the OnLive console connected to a TV, players will be able to interact with titles much like they would on a Wii U, said Perlman. No exact dates on when this year we'll see such titles, but the concept is there.

OnLive's direction is one of "consumable media," where they approach games as any other media that's consumed on devices like your TV or an iPad. Within this sense, OnLive has a very good proposition going, delivering hard-hitting PC and console titles to devices that are out of reach for mobile devices.

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  • 2 Hide
    cangelini , June 8, 2011 10:31 PM
    If you haven't checked it out yet, you can see my experiences with OnLive, which weren't as positive. As a PC gamer, what you get from the service graphics-wise is sub-par. Also, the model didn't sit well with me. That story is right here.

    Chris Angelini
  • 3 Hide
    gurboura , June 8, 2011 11:03 PM
    The problem most people on this website can't comprehend is why this service exists. It's for what you said in your article, those with older desktops and notebooks that can't play modern games smoothly. One thing that did get me was your statement: "I have to wonder, though, how many folks with four-year old notebooks and no better desktop system at their disposal pay for 5+ Mb/s Internet connections?" I know of several family members who have 6 and 7 year old desktops, but with high speed internet for downloading music, movies and other things.
  • 3 Hide
    cangelini , June 8, 2011 11:43 PM
    And they're probably not Tom's Hardware readers, are they? =) For *most* of the folks reading this site regularly, OnLive isn't attractive.
  • Display all 13 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    dalethepcman , June 9, 2011 2:05 AM
    For $10 a month, this seems like a fairly attractive idea. There are a lot of die hard steam lovers out there, but I don't play favorites. Many of the new tablets coming out have 30GB drives, which isn't enough to install many games.

    If I could hook up my $400 android Tablet to a TV at my friends house, connect a bluetooth controller to it, and play call of duty using just a descent internet connection. That's a hell of a lot better use of my $'s then buying a gaming laptop or a high powered portable desktop.
  • 0 Hide
    mleejr , June 9, 2011 3:08 AM
    Cangelini, your article is a year old. I have a fast PC and I love onlive. I have it installed on devices all over my house and have the microconsole. I love them all. Onlive is so incredible. I brought my 'console' on vacation with me and could fit it in my pocket.
  • -2 Hide
    hoofhearted , June 9, 2011 1:16 PM
    Why does Toms keep peddling this OnLive crap? I don't want cloud or anything like it. I want to pay my money and get my game. More and more control is being relinquished from the user to the content provider.
  • 2 Hide
    Kaltano , June 11, 2011 5:16 AM
    hoofheartedWhy does Toms keep peddling this OnLive crap? I don't want cloud or anything like it. I want to pay my money and get my game. More and more control is being relinquished from the user to the content provider.

    Because you aren't Tom's only reader.
  • 1 Hide
    fir_ser , June 13, 2011 9:53 PM
    OnLive service isn’t for folks who have week internet connection (less than 1Mbit/s).
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , July 5, 2011 3:05 PM
    I have OnLive and I really like it. While I have a computer capable of playing the games themselves, there's often sales on OnLive which makes it much cheaper to buy the games there. Plus being able to play the exact same savegames anywhere, on computers that may be far below the game's specs (such as my work laptop), and the fact that soon I can play on my mobile devices, that is just awesome.

    Plus, I got the TV console for free. It's very cool and I hope it just keeps getting more titles!
  • 1 Hide
    chelatek , July 5, 2011 3:13 PM
    cangeliniAnd they're probably not Tom's Hardware readers, are they? =) For *most* of the folks reading this site regularly, OnLive isn't attractive.

    Really, because I think anyone who isn't interested in this, even if they don't personally want the service, just isn't that interested in technology. Just because you had a bad experience a year ago a) doesn't reflect on the modern service b) doesn't mean this doesn't fit a niche. It's a very cool technology, the experience NOW is amazing (just getting the controls this responsive is awesome), and even if you don't personally want it, I don't see how you can't want to see where this is going. Cloud gaming probably will be the future of gaming, it takes it "out of the hands" of the consumer, but newsflash, read your EULA, it was never in your hands to begin with.
  • 0 Hide
    shenglong , September 26, 2011 6:36 AM
    onlive is ok on pc, not as smooth graphically as i would like altho the controls are very good (little to no lag) BUT its really going to dominate on android and other lower powered machines, i cant wait to see it on android !!!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 27, 2011 10:26 PM
    I have onlive on my 5year old computer with rogers high speed and i can't even explain how flawless it is even on this older computer not only that I agree 1000% with "chelatek" because this is going to be the future of gaming. You think I wanna buy a new system everytime it comes out so i can play new games, pfft my computer is here to last, the only system i need and if we can play on IOS and Android I dont understand how anyone can't think this is sick

    1.No game downloads/no disc = NO SCRATCHED OR LOST DISC.

    2.Sawp between games really fast.

    3.Large selection, free trails and playpass price is very worth the price.

    4.Arena - easily could be used to show a friend how to pass a level or stage

    5.Universal - Soon we will be able to play on almost anything

    6.Supports gaming controllers - makes it feel like playing xbox.

    I could go on and on about it but true gamers and tech savvys will have already been convinced as soon as they see this new option in gaming.

    PS: If your computer cant run onlive then it should be in the garbage by now!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 23, 2011 4:27 PM
    I live in europe and I have 5mbps network, but the controls have noticeable delay =( But im still sure its future of gaming. (Writed with tablet PC)