Onlive the future of videogames and its influence on computers

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Even during a huge world financial crisis one consumer industry is still showing strong sales, video games.  The power players in console gaming (Nintendo wii, Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3) are utilizing the internet for online gaming ( a feature made popular from PCs), playing and streaming movies at high definition, and expanding to bridge the gap between game console, entertainment center, and computer. 

No matter what your preference for gaming platform, the initial purchase for the hardware can seem like a financial investment.  For the gaming consoles themselves, it’s no coincidence that they are backed by large successful corporations such as Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. 

A newcomer to gaming, Onlive gaming is challenging and possibly changing the industry as much as when it moved from cartridges to optical discs.  It’s doing this not by reinventing wheels, but applying the latest technology to approach the gaming industry in a different way.  The home gaming industry is very singular in nature.  Starting with one console per home that originally had many one player games.  Fast forward to this generation of gaming and social gaming via the internet allows even the single player to game across the world with others in real time.  While this is great it’s something that PC gaming has done for years and although requiring a broadband internet connection much of the game and graphics processing is still handled on the individual game console or PC. 

Onlive gaming proposes that I can build a massive server infrastructure, the same power that could analyze scientific data like climate change models, map the genome of life on earth, and assist researchers in finding the cures for diseases that plague most of humanity will be available for consumer entertainment.  In simple terms it mean that their server will handle all of the work and provided you have a great broadband internet connection, there will be no need for extreme hardware requirements.  If this picks up it’ll mean that people with their $400 net book or even older computer will be able to have just as good as a game experience as someone with a high end PC.  This could be applicable to other world markets such as the pacific which is expanding their broadband internet infastructre but consumers don't have as much to spend on a gaming PC or traditional game console.

This is the future of gaming if even if Onlive doesn’t succeed, both Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have the network and money to develop similar feature that may even extend the life span of current gaming consoles (wii, PS3, and xbox 360). 

Although this is marketed as a low financial investment, high quality gaming experience, there are a few challenges it will face.  Will consumers go with the streaming/paid subscription/on-demand model  playing, will moving more toward server based gaming be more vulnerable to attacks by hackers and effect more consumers should hardware fail.

We’ll have to wait and see but the results of Onlive will not only effect the video game industry but also how consumers use and purchase software and hardware for their personal  computers in the future.

 Comment on this blog directly or share your thoughts at the Pasefika Forum about Onlive or the future of online gaming.