So, PC gaming service OnLive launched in the UK yesterday and it makes for an interesting service. This is one of the first ‘Cloud’ gaming services to launch in Europe and gives you the chance to play high-end PC titles on your laptop, tablet or other mobile device via some high-tech compression algorithms. No need for a super-fast rig, bleeding-edge graphics card or capricious hard-drive – click the title on screen to play a demo, and if your broadband is beefy enough, you’re playing the PC version of “Deus Ex: Human Revolution”.
There’s no getting away from it – the experience feels positively science-fictional. It shouldn’t work, but it bloody well does! ‘How is this possible?’ was the phrase nipping about in my head as I demoed my way through “Trine” and looked at live play streams of “Warhammer 40K: Space Marine” and the aforementioned “Deus Ex”. The video feed probably isn’t up to snuff for PC owners who have gear capable of running these titles at full resolution and top settings but they probably are not the demographic that this service is aimed at. It’s akin to watching an HD YouTube stream that you can play. It’s genuinely really weird and cool at the same time.
You are greeted with the usual options for subscriptions and purchasing games on signing up, but there are a lot of free demos and membership is free. It’s worth a try – just to have your mind.blown.
There are other options – semi-legendary developer Dave Perry is behind the browser-based gaming platform Gaikai, which promises that you can play Crytek’s “Crysis 2” in your browser using similar distributed processing and cloud-based tech.
Or ‘sorcery‘, as we should be calling it. Wholly indistinguishable from magic, dudes and ladies, that’s what I’m saying.