OnLive, in case you’ve forgotten, is a cloud based game streaming service that’s available for wealthy people with reliably fast internet connections. In other words: nobody in South Africa. The subscription based service allows you to stream games over the internet to your TV via a tiny set-top box.
Naturally it is entirely dependent on super-fast ADSL connections, but that’s not stopping the company behind the service from chatting up Microsoft and Sony. If OnLive boss Bruce Grove gets his way, his service will be built into the next Xbox and the PlayStation 4.
“We know how to do it. There are a lot of things we could bring to the table and they could bring to the table. It would certainly be a discussion we would love to have. It would be very interesting.”
Grove believes that streaming games over the internet is the future of gaming. In his future there are no super-powerful consoles or gaming PCs, just screens with OnLine set-top boxes and proprietary controllers. Well, that’s his ideal future at least. In reality it’s unlikely that Microsoft and Sony (and Nintendo!) will go quietly into the night, leaving OnLive to have its way with gamers.
Grove obviously realises this as well, and that’s why he is surreptitiously placing his company in a position that says to console manufacturers that they’re totally available for a partnership.
Grove envisions OnLive becoming an added extra to future consoles, much like Xbox Live is available on all consoles but not necessarily used by every Xbox 360 gamer. According to him, Microsoft and Sony would not be able to completely abandon their physical game mediums though, and that’s because both companies have an established market to cater towards.
“[Microsoft and Sony have] to satisfy their userbase that isn’t necessarily just going to leap on that. They’ve got a legacy to support as well as dive forward. We had no legacy to support, which means our userbase by nature is only going to be a connected userbase. So we get to move forward. That unshackles us in a way they can’t be.”
It’s all pie in the sky musings on behalf of an understandably chuffed business owner. Grove’s OnLive service is certainly impressive and is expanding rapidly. Whether or not most gamers would want it to take over from current console and game models is debatable.
Incidentally, an OnLive app is available for iPad and other tablet devices. If you download it and give the service a whirl, you’ll get access to LEGO Batman for free. Well, free in theory; you’ll pay a billion Rand in internet cap limit to actually play the game, providing you can even play it over South African ADSL.