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Welcome to the hype. For those who don’t know it yet, Onlive is a platform for video games in the cloud. As they say it, it is the future of videogames: any game, any time, anywhere. Take a look.

Ok, it does seem a bit too much, the video is produced like we are looking at the most revolutionary and best thing that ever existed. But, being fair, there are enough good signs already  to show us we are looking at a serious project and a sustained release in the winter of 2009. Onlive’s team has people that were responsible for several stuff in Quicktime, Eidos Interactive, Mozilla and Activision. And At&T and Warner Bros are financial investors in Onlive. And it is announced that Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Take-Two, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, THQ Inc., Epic Games, Eidos, Atari and Codemasters are already lining up their games to be served through Onlive.

Of course that, in these days, everybody who is talking about this is either suspicious and/or skeptical about the feasibility of this huge technically complex game platform. Hardware required for Onlive servers, video compression, broadband speed, latency in processing commands (after all the game is computed on Onlive servers!), all are thoroughly pointed out as concerns. There were successful demos in GDC 2009 and E3 but still there are plenty of haters out there.

But, let’s not focus on that, let’s assume that everything is technically fine and that we always have a good Internet connection (Onlive talks in 1.5 Mbps for SDTV resolution and 4-5 Mbps for HDTV). Yes, my reasoning is much simpler: why should we buy an Onlive service instead of an XBox, Wii or Playstation?

Why is this better than having our own games running in our own consoles, which are physically ours even if Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft explode or stop producing? How can we replace going in some random frat boy reunion, lost in the middle of nowhere with no broadband access, with XBoxes under ours arms? How can we borrow and trade games with friends? How can we sell our games on eBay? How can we hack Onlive with illegal chips, like we do with our Playstations? Can we just pause for hours and go to sleep without worries? And why should we give up on having Wii remotes, bullet proof HDMI graphics, Blu-Ray movies and Halo? These are the reasons why we buy these things in the first place, instead of a PC and a bunch of hacked games.

We should give up all this… in trade of? Answer these questions, Onlive, and I am a believer. Until there, you are just ahead of your time.


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