My name is Mike and I am an ex-videogame junky. I have been “game-free” since February 2008. The main reason I quit video games cold turkey was for my kids – I couldn’t justify the time suck with an 8-month old at the time and another on the way. My game console of choice was the XBox 360, which I reluctantly sold with 15 games on Ebay for about $400, and my “gamer tag” on XBox Live was Fragmintz, a name which I still use on the web today. I thought selling my 360 would be the end of it – at least until the kids were old enough to ask for a console, but now OnLive Cloud Gaming may just make me relapse.
The term “cloud computing” refers to an online service structure that end-users acces for various tasks without needing to download a 3rd party client. Think of it like a grid of applications, like our electricity grid but without all those pesky high tension wires, that can be plugged right into by the consumer. Some of the best examples are the Google suite of tools, Zoho, and Amazon – each providing their own services within the cloud which can be scaled and accessed according to the needs of each user.
Now enter OnLive to the forefront. Traditionally, gamers divided themselves according to consoles. In the next-gen console wars of 2005-6, the breakdown went a bit like this:
- Xbox 360 = hardcore gamers, FPS (first person shooters) & Halo nuts
- Wii = kids, Zelda nuts, and basically anyone with a pulse
- PS3 = RPG (role playing gamers), Sony elitists
- PS2 = economy class players
- PC = mouse and keyboard nuts, MMORG (massive multiplayer online role playing gamers – basically World of Warcraft people)
- Mac = does anyone game on a Mac?
We were a house divided, which did not stand (unless you were playing a Wii – then you kind of had to stand). But now, it won’t matter what console you prefer b/c we’ll all just be playing the same game OnLive, (counterpoint: can it incorporate the Wii-mote?).
As a true “cloud gaming service” it proposes to play on any screen (TV, PC, Mac, etc.) and offers the games directly from the publishers. Unlike XBox Live, where you downloaded the game to the console for storage and play, you play the games right on the OnLive server – which means that you also get a chock full of other services like social network: you can watch a buddy play their game, comment, update status, watch videos, etc. From the sound of it, OnLive may free us from our silos of console-isolation and connect our online lives like never before. Will I ever leave my computer again?