News has been coming out of the OnLive cloud-based streaming games service thick and fast of late, and if you have been following the services progress then you will know of course that I refer to the announcements regarding the release schedule of the dedicated OnLive micro-console hardware.
But upon the company’s initial unveiling of its plans they discussed the possibility of other, mobile platforms for OnLive gaming, such as the iPhone. However, a new player has stepped into the mix since then; a player much more capable of handling the demands of on-the-go gamers. The Apple iPad.
So it begs the question, how exactly do you go about serious gaming on the iPad? Well, the Onlive fansite, aptly named OnliveFans.com, have featured a video showing a tech demo of the service on the iPad that was recently shown at E3 2010. Of course, as you would expect due to the nature of OnLive, the graphics perform admirably as they would on the most powerful of gaming rigs, as long as you have the necessary network connections.
So what of the controls? The concept of handheld gaming is not a new one. Far from it as I am sure you are aware, but how can an iPad with no physical buttons enable users to conduct serious gaming sessions? After all, these are no basic puzzle or indie games, these are first-person shooters and serious action games. And serious gamers go to extraordinary expense buying the right gaming peripherals to optimize the experience.
For those of you who fall into this category, the possibility of ‘gaming’ in the proper sense of the word is practically impossible on the iPad with a series of controls aligned along the top of the iPad (whilst in landscape mode) in an almost identical layout to the console controllers to be packaged with the hardware later this year…unless we could see some OnLive controllers for devices such as the iPad that use Wifi or Bluetooth to get around the difficulty of on-screen controls?
It really does provoke me into thinking that whilst this may be OK for some light gaming sessions on an iPad, the possibility of converting this experience onto the iPhone would be an almost absurd suggestion due to the limited screen estate.
Anyway, enough of the limitations because in essence this is a massive step forward in the gaming world. Up until now, mobile gaming has been limited to watered-down versions of games such as the Call of Duty Zombie game currently for iPhone. These truly are the full versions of the most popular games displayed in a fantastic user interface making it easy to compete or just spectate in online games. Following the traditions of OnLive, the UI is a mix of black and orange creating a visually outstanding experience for the user.
Interestingly, a great proportion of voters on the OnLive fansite have declared that the service is better than they expected prior to release. Admittedly, a total of 40 votes have been cast as yet, but an impressive 23 of them admit to being surprised as to the quality of OnLive. 13 think it is about the same, though this leaves it unclear as we are unsure of their expectations, and a mere 2 voters have been left underwhelmed.
So what do you think of the possibilities of the OnLive on-demand streaming games service? Readers in the UK will probably have to go without the service for a little while longer, as the usual rigmarole of bringing a great product across the pond ensues, although hopefully we’ll see it sooner rather than later given that BT have invested in OnLive.
Do you anticipate the service to be properly accessible on the iPad or another tablet device or smartphone? Are you excited about the service? Would you rather simply grab the OnLive micro-console? Or do you want to stick with your traditional consoles such as the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3?