A lot of people are very excited for OnLive, the soon-to-launch on-demand gaming system announced at this year's GDC that promises a console-less future. While the idea of the system is solid and revolutionary, according to some in the industry, it might not work out so well in practice. One of the naysayer is Sony.
In an interview with Edge-Online, SCEA director of corporate communications Patrick Seybold asked: “What will be the final cost to the consumer when you start adding up what [OnLive is] selling?”
Seybold points out that the investment required from OnLive to set up the servers needed to run high-end PC games on low-end rigs and TVs will have to be made up somewhere, and it might be in the cost of the service. No subscription price for OnLive has been announced as yet.
Another hurdle: Connection speed. Gamers will need a two megabits per second internet connection for standard definition gaming and a five mps connection for high definition. This seems like a pretty high hurdle to leap -- AT&T just wired my neighborhood for fiber optic internet connections in the last few month, but before that, my connection was running at 1.5 mps on a good day. Even now, I only bother to pay for the 3 mps service from U-Verse because I don't need the internet to be any faster.
How does Seybold think you can get the best gaming experience? Why, the PlayStation 3! "PlayStation's been bringing HD gaming and entertainment into consumers' homes for many years now,” Seybold said. “With both digitally distributed and disc-based content, we have a competitive offering for consumers, whether they are tethered to the Internet or not. Only on PlayStation 3 can you get HD gaming, watch BD and downloaded movies, have ample hard drive space for music, movies and photos, built-in Wi-Fi, and free access to PlayStation Network – right out of the box.”
It was recently revealed that Sony trademarked the phrase "PS Cloud" in relation to "entertainment services, namely providing an on-line video game that users may access through the internet," leading some to think that Sony is working on their own OnLive-like service. But Sony harshing on the technology behind OnLive seems to suggest that PS Cloud is something different from OnLive, or takes a different approach.
Of course, trademarking phrases could mean anything or nothing. Whether Sony is actively developing an internet-delivered gaming experience of some kind or is simply protecting their brand name in the marketplace is totally unknown. PS Cloud could be nothing...or it could be the PlayStation 4. Time, as they say, will tell.
For more on potential problems with OnLive, check out Ray Pad's list of four challenges the service faces.