Monday, April 20, 2009

Pessimistic About On-Live

It's an interesting idea to have cloud based services provided to your living room allowing you to play the games you want with out the necessity of having to upgrade hardware on you PC or purchasing an XBox360 and PS3. In truth I want to get behind idea of On-Live, if only because it would save us gamers and game developers a lot of headache. But lets look more closely, shale we?

First thing that popped into my mind when I read about On-Live is where are they going to get the bandwidth for all this? During a busy night with lots of people using On-Live the servers are going to have to be transferring huge amounts of data incredibly quickly in order for anyone to play. Just to put that into perspective if On-Live used waterworks instead of internet bandwidth there would have to be a Niagara Falls in everyone's living room! At least in order for it to work the way they say it's supposed to work. Maybe they should have done a pilot program in South Korea beforehand where %90 of the homes have access to cheap broadband internet.

For those of you who read my Steam isn't the Answer article much of what's in there also applies here. Questions like "What if your internet goes down?" or "What if On-Live goes out of business?" have answers which I think are less than reassuring. Then of course there's my favorite question "What if you want to lend a game you bought on On-Live to another friend with On-Live?"

Let's move on though. How about price? You'll save a lot of cash because you don't have to upgrade anymore, right? Well...even if we assume you already have a display screen your happy with there's the matter of monthly costs. Of course you got to pay your broadband internet provider so there's $50 to $100 at least. Then you got to pay the On-Live subscription fee which I can't imagine costing less than premium cable TV. Then you got to buy the games at retail price (or at least the price they deiced on). No used games here, I'm afraid. So, as you can imagine this is adding up rather quickly.

Maybe I'm wrong though. Maybe they have some kind of reasonable pricing strategy in mind even though they're using some kind of super video compression technology. Regardless, I'm pretty sure this system is going to have a lot of bugs early on and it will be interesting to see if they can build up a decent library of titles. Because as you know it really comes down to the games and the people who play them.

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