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By: MarkJ - 21 September, 2011 (11:20 PM)
onlive uk btbtTelecoms giant BT has today finally announced the UK launch of OnLive's cloud-based gaming service for both new and existing customers of their broadband ISP packages and bundles. The service cleverly allows customers to remotely play the latest PC, PlayStation 3 and XBox 360 games, without actually needing to own them, via a live internet video stream.

BT took out a 2.6% shareholding in OnLive last year and thus has exclusive rights to bundle the service alongside its broadband packages, which naturally makes it the first UK ISP to offer such a deal.

As a result BT's customers should also benefit from 3 months free and unlimited access to an OnLive PlayPack that includes more than "100 top-tier games" (e.g. Homefront, FEAR3, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine etc.).

BT customers will also get to take OnLive's promotions, including their special launch offer of a first individual OnLive game for just £1 (normally worth up to £39.99).

Warren Buckley, MD of BT Retail’s Customer Service, said:

"This is a fantastic new service for the UK. The three months free PlayPack subscription is a great offer for BT broadband customers and there are no strings attached. It’s not part of a contract and we’re waiving usage allowances until the New Year. We just want to give our customers the chance to try it, and with more than 100 premium games available, choosing what to play will be the hardest part.

This is yet another reason for customers to choose BT for their broadband. Of course, our superfast, up to 40Mb, BT-Infinity fibre broadband, is ideal for something like OnLive gaming."

It's also interesting to note that BT is "waiving usage allowances until the New Year", which suggests that they aren't going to make a long-term exception in network traffic (usage) for customers who choose to adopt the service. OnLive is a very demanding service and we expected to see something a bit more integrated than that; otherwise excessive use charges could become a problem.

Customers are expected to require a stable connection speed of at least 3Mbps for Standard Definition (SD) quality gaming (i.e. similar to iPlayer's medium video quality stream), although most would probably rather have the 5Mbps+ High Definition (HD) / recommended stream. We're just waiting for BT to confirm whether or not the HD figure is still correct (i.e. it's based on the USA service).

According to Ofcom 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 stream. The ever increasing deployment of superfast broadband will also further strengthen its viability.

OnLive Founder and CEO, Steve Perlman, said:

"OnLive will utterly transform gaming in the UK. No discs, big downloads or specialised hardware are needed. OnLive gives you the latest games instantly, anytime, anywhere on HDTV, PC, Mac, as well as soon on iPad and Android tablets. It makes high performance gaming as accessible as streaming video, with unique social features, such as watching thousands of people play games live with voice chat and Facebook integration.

OnLive is incredibly excited about its partnership with BT. In particular, the performance of OnLive over BT Infinity fibre broadband is nothing short of extraordinary. Prepare to be blown away."

It's understood that the "three months free from date of registration" promotion is open to BT broadband customers who signup online here before January 31st, 2012. The normal OnLive service price is £6.99 per month. As stated earlier any broadband usage up to January 2nd 2012 will not count towards your usage allowance.
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