OnLive gets $40 million from smartphone maker HTC

The OnLive cloud gaming service is getting an injection of cash courtesy of smartphone maker HTC. This story over at Engadget pegs the investment at $40 million, adding that the money will fund OnLive’s foray into the world of mobile gaming.

On the surface, that makes a whole lot of sense. OnLive’s most compelling attribute is that, because games are run remotely on the company’s servers, your client system doesn’t need to do any of the heavy lifting. Even anemic netbooks can enjoy titles like Metro 2033, DiRT 2, and Batman: Arkham Asylum, albeit with the sort of visual fidelity one might expect from a standard-definition YouTube video. The loss of graphical quality will probably be more difficult to detect when running games on a tiny smartphone display.

And, hey, you’d be running big-name PC games on a smartphone.

There are, however, a few problems. One is bandwidth. OnLive’s minimum system requirements call for a 3Mbps Internet connection, but even with 15Mbps down, I still encountered noticeable latency when sampling OnLive last year. Even more daunting is how much bandwidth is actually used by the service. While playing Unreal Tournament 3, I was burning about 38MB per minute. That’ll make quick work of all but the most generous data plans.

The other issue is control. Smartphones have few buttons, and control schemes designed for console gamepads or keyboard-and-mouse combos don’t translate well to touch screens. OnLive certainly has its work cut out if cloud gaming is to become an attractive mobile gaming platform.

Comments closed
    • northreign
    • 9 years ago

    “OnLive certainly has its work cut out if cloud gaming is to become an attractive mobile gaming platform.”

    Your comparing mobile to what was developed for “home” use… so of course those points are problems. 🙁

    • thesmileman
    • 9 years ago

    Geoff,

    Please help STOP this rumor about download speed affecting latency. Latency has virtually nothing to do with download speed. You could have a 1Gbps connection but if you were 10,000 miles from your isp it wouldn’t help you at all.

    You guys should have your Dallas based guy review the service. I am in the DFW area and I notice little latency. With that said I won’t be buying any games on the service but I do love it for trying out games.

      • LawrenceofArabia
      • 9 years ago

      Erm, where did Geoff imply that download speed affected latency? Looks like he made a comment on the latency he noticed and an entirely different one about the fact that OnLive sucks bandwidth.

        • eitje
        • 9 years ago

        Right here: [quote<]...but even with 15Mbps down, I still encountered noticeable latency...[/quote<]

      • jcw122
      • 9 years ago

      Don’t higher memory speeds in computers result in higher latency?

        • thesmileman
        • 9 years ago

        “Don’t higher memory speeds in computers result in higher latency?”

        Often times yes but the latency difference there is on such a tiny scale it is irrelevant to a person interacting with the system.

    • swaaye
    • 9 years ago

    Good luck with mouselook on a smart phone. 😉

    I played a bit of the Quake 2 port for Android and while it runs excellent the touchscreen key / mouse mapping is just about impossible to deal with. Think gamepads are bad? Oh just try this out!

    But the idea is cool I suppose. I think they’ve found a niche that they can make money in.

      • northreign
      • 9 years ago

      Casual gamers don’t care about anything. They just buy what is fun. No scratch that, they buy what they think is fun.

      OR onlive could supply a bluetooth gamepad for your phone and solve your issues.

    • conjurer
    • 9 years ago

    Worst thing is latency. If you get >150 ms, you can’t play any action game.
    I can see current iOS, android games on onlive, it would make sense.

      • dpaus
      • 9 years ago

      If they’re native to your platform anyway, why pay extra to use them remotely??

      • djgandy
      • 9 years ago

      Why though? Data is an expensive power operation and you can deliver a game of the same quality (resolution, poor texture quality due to heavy compression) using current phone technology.

      This just goes against every common sense principal and against how technology is developing. It’s like a dog chasing a sausage that is taped in front of his nose on a stick. By the time bandwidth increases to a decent level, Ram, CPU’s and GPU’s will have also had significant increases meaning the bandwidth has another 10 years of waiting to get to the level of hardware.

      If the dog just moves forwards 3 more paces, and so on and so on.

      Lets be honest, networks are the weakest link in all of this too.

        • conjurer
        • 9 years ago

        Another thing is simplicity. Sign in and play anything you can, without using your flash memory on phone/tablet. Then play again same game on your pc, with same saves/from same checkpoint. Then you go to living room and play the same game on onlive console. Graphics will improve over time.

        Network throughput is not weakest link. The user is. No matter how advanced technology is, user chooses the most simple one, developer chooses easier technologies to develop on. Cloud computing and huge stack of API layers is the future. If you go this direction, and make nice products, you win. At least google did.

        I can see steam implementing something like onlive, at least for game demos.

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