I wrote here about receiving a free year to play games thorough OnLive. I have been very skeptical about the service since day 1. I have OnLive installed and have checkd it out, here are my thoughts.
I chose to play the demo for Batman: Arkham Asylum, a game which I have never played. After selecting the game it started up right away with the opening mini-movie of the game and then the single player screen. After I selected a new single player mission there was only about 30 seconds of loading time and I was playing. This in itself is impressive. I didn’t have to install anything, didn’t have wait a ½ hour to play the game, just selected the single player mission and I was off.
One of the main reasons I was skeptical about OnLive is because my computer has been upgraded enough over the past 6 months to handle any game you can to throw at it. And OnLive is basically a service for people who want to play games on their computer, but have outdated hardware.
The cut scenes were smooth and the graphics looked good, (not DX11 mind you) but the game looked sweet. OnLive streams the video of the game from their supercomputers to my screen so essentially I could play the newest games on your grandma’s 5 year old Dell, as long as it can play video and there is a decent internet connection present your good to go.
The one major complaint during the game play I noticed was about a 1/10 of a second lag in the controls. Let me say, I will leave a multiplayer match if I feel any lag at all, just not acceptable, and If I’m lagging in a single player game, I will lower the resolution or turn down the graphics. But what can a gamer do to reduce lag with this type of service? Nothing.
The demo was for 30 minutes, and then I was offered to buy/rent the game for a period of 3 days or 5 days and kicked off the demo. The prices were $4.99 and $6.99 respectively. Not bad, not bad prices at all. After all, most single player games can be beaten in a week, and depending on the game, $50-$60 is really not worth it most of the time.
Overall most of my criticism has been set aside and I have come to the conclusion that if this helps the PC gaming industry and reminds people that PC games can rock too, then I’m all for it. This may be the hype that PC gaming needs. This may be PC gaming’s salvation. But the bottom line for me is this. I will use this service to check out demos, only because I received the year for free. If I continue to notice that little bit of lag on the demos then I would never buy/rent a game through their service. I will continue to game on my gaming rig, using my own hardware.