Entries in XBOX 360 (1)

OnLive: Can an iPad replace a games console?

Everything killer! That's how some described the iPad during launch week. While we agree that the iPad is certainly capable of performing many of the tasks that would normally be performed by dedicated hardware, some things, such console quality gaming, seem to be several years away. iPad 3 or 4 perhaps, but surely not this iPad?

Epic Citadel has already shown us that the current iPad is capable of much more than we thought possible, but yesterday's launch of the OnLive Viewer app will really put the cat among the pigeons!

OnLive: XBOX 360 quality on your iPad in seconds not years

Based on projections from graphics hardware manufacturers, we suspect that XBOX 360 quality graphics will arrive on the iPad with version 3 hardware sometime in 2012. So how is it that OnLive can deliver that experience in 2010?

To quote an article that we published on the subject back in March of this year:

OnLive… hopes to break the cyclical nature of hardware upgrades by streaming the game environment from their servers directly to your screen.

In essence, the video display is being compressed at their end, sent down your broadband pipe and uncompressed on your TV, Mac or PC at 30 to 60 FPS even in HD. The only data going up the pipe are your game pad control instructions. This means that the hardware requirements for playing even the most intense games are reasonable. So far OnLive has been demonstrated on midrange laptops, a set top box and even a humble iPhone.

We tested OnLive's gaming last night both on a Mac mini and an iPad. It's important to note that the iPad app only currently supports game viewing not playing. Game play is coming soon though, and if the Mac mini's OnLive performance is any indication, the iPad experience will be compelling to say the least.

There are a few issues which could spoil the experience. The frame rate on the iPad viewer app is not what it should be and certainly not the 60 frames per second that we managed on the Mac mini. Fine tuning console games for touch controls could prove tricky. Speed of your broadband and distance from the OnLive game servers will impinge on overall performance. If these issues can be resolved OnLive could become an essential iPad service for gamers, perhaps even allowing some to give up their current home console hardware.

You can download the iPad OnLive Viewer app from the App Store, but be sure to sign up for the service which supports free game trials for both Mac and Windows without the need for credit card information.

Channel surfing

OnLive simply oozes potential, and not just for gaming. Years from now all home based computing could be done this way. OnLive demonstrates the true power of the Cloud.

We can imagine a future were games are presented as channels in much the same way that TV currently is. Pay a monthly subscription then surf through what's on offer and see what takes your fancy - no waiting for installation, no storage required, no watching for updates, everything is backed up, secure and good to go at a moments notice - sounds good to us.