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UK OnLive Broadband Video Game Streaming Service Confirms September Launch

Posted: 11th Aug, 2011 By: MarkJ
onlive uk btbtOnLive, a cloud based service that allows customers to play the latest PC, PlayStation 3 and XBox 360 games - without owning them - via a live and remotely controlled internet video stream (delivered over your broadband ISP connection), has confirmed that its UK product will launch alongside BT on 22nd September 2011.

The sometimes controversial service will open the 2011 Eurogamer Expo in London and begin its life with a full catalogue of "100 top-tier games" (e.g. Homefront, FEAR3 etc.). The unique nature of the service means that these will all be instantly available to play via almost any broadband Internet connection throughout the UK on HDTV, PC, Mac, iPad and Android tablets.

OnLive Founder and CEO, Steve Perlman, said:

"OnLive will utterly transform gaming in the UK. No discs, big downloads or specialised hardware needed. OnLive gives you the latest games instantly, anytime, anywhere on HDTV, PC, Mac, as well as iPad, Android tablets. High-performance gaming as accessible as streaming video, with unique social features such as massive spectating with voice chat and Facebook integration."

The service was originally intended to launch as part of an exclusive BT broadband bundle last year (BT owns a 2.6% shareholding in the business), although it ended up facing a series of delays (here). Customers will also require a stable connection speed of at least 1.5Mbps for Standard Definition (SD) quality gaming (i.e. similar to iPlayer's normal video quality stream), although most would probably rather have the 5Mbps High Definition (HD) stream.

Ofcom recently reported that the average UK broadband download speed is 6.8Mbps, which suggests that more than half of the country should be able to make use of OnLive's HD service. The ever increasing deployment of superfast broadband will also further strengthen its viability.

OnLive membership is free and provides instant demos of any game, voice chat, massive spectating of any live game in play and lots of additional content. However those wanting to play full games or engage in multiplayer and voice chat will need to pay. BT has yet to announce the details of its related broadband bundles.

The service is certainly taking a very bold step into a country where broadband performance is patchy and often falls well below expectations, yet it's managed to succeed in the USA where similar problems are not uncommon.

It will be interesting to see how it performs and we love the idea of being able to try the latest game demos without having to download and install them first. At the same time we'd still much rather buy a game than use OnLive but that could change if it works and doesn't suffer from problematic controller related latency delays. We'll try it and report back.
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