OnLive lives to see its first CES, now inside Vizio TVs

CES 2011: Streaming game concept still alive and kicking

It’s hard to believe that OnLive launched a little over 6 months ago in June of 2010.  Well they are still around, and have launched a few new products along the way including an announcement that they have partnered with Vizio to include their software inside of certain newly released “VIA Plus” series TV sets.  We stopped by their booth to see how the second half of 2010 treated them, and what they are focusing on going forward.

Besides the television integration, OnLive has been released its set-top micro console for gaming on any TV, iPad viewer app which lets you snoop on peoples games from the convenience of your own toilet, and a plethora of new games as they are released.

As a quick refresher, OnLive is essentially a VLC program on crack, where games are rendered on a server somewhere no more than 1000 miles from your location, then streamed over the Internets to your PC, Mac, Console or other device.  Overall they have done a good job in scaling their hardware to accommodate users and newer, more demanding games.  We are told that the games/servers are “tiered” where newer games get attached to newer hardware, and older less demanding games are then demoted down to lesser servers that are still able to run them at acceptable frame rates.  OnLive uses a mixture of Nvidia and AMD GPUs in a similar tiered fashion where games run on whichever platform works best for that title.  The servers are also designed to be rapidly upgraded if all that is needed is a new video card to add worthwhile capacity to the system.

Future plans for OnLive include a focus on improving the multiplayer experience within the system, as well as the ability to use OnLive with more devices as hardware allows.  There has also been talk of moving beyond gaming into the streaming video arena, why not, and hosted applications such as Maya or other compute intensive professional apps.   One potential downside to this plan is that their service is heavily GPU compute oriented and for some applications that may not be enough without appropriate general CPU power to back it up.  Time will tell.

OnLive has built essentially one of the world’s largest clouds and has plenty of cards left to play to remain relevant in an increasingly cloudy sky.  They claim to be focused only on gaming and providing the best streaming game service possible, but it’s always good to have a plan B, or C.  

Ok, now back to the booth babes. S|A

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