OnLive, the upstart company hard at work on a cloud-based, on-demand gaming console, has been on the defensive because of a PC Perspective article published last week detailing the author’s experience with the closed beta test of the service. While his experience with playing Burnout Paradise and Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. was generally favorable despite some input lag issues with controlling the games, he found the latency problems in Unreal Tournament 3 rendered it “unplayable”.
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Soon after, President and CEO Steve Perlman addressed the issue of latency in an OnLive blog entry, which suggested that changing the parameters of the beta tester’s setup (to test OnLive, the PC Perspective writer borrowed a friend’s beta account) can adversely affect response time between the user and OnLive’s servers.
Even when OnLive first unveiled its product last March at the Games Developers Conference in San Francisco, writers and analysts saw latency issues as a major obstacle to OnLive’s success. Nevertheless, cloud gaming is a fascinating concept that deserves a shot at carving out a niche in the gaming market. OnLive hasn’t announced an exact launch date (its website says this winter), so any criticisms of lag in a beta version can’t be taken too seriously.
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