Thursday, March 26, 2009

OnLive to Challenge ISP Bandwidth Limits

Let's not let OnLive burn up on entry. One of the biggest announcements made at this year’s GDC was the introduction of OnLive.  OnLive seeks to deliver games to any TV/computer with high-speed broadband access at a whopping 60 frames per second.  Imagine, you could play Mirror’s Edge without having to buy a machine that comes with the Kung Fu Panda game.

Of course, because OnLive is a server-side, “Cloud Gaming,” platform, playing something like Mirror’s Edge might require a hefty amount of bandwidth.  This is bad news for people whose Internet service providers have already been looking into charging for high usage.  The Associate Press just ran a story about this very issue, with OnLive reps claiming it would take twelve straight days of gaming to reach Comcast’s 250 GB/month limit.  It sounds like OnLive isn’t planning on hosting any MMOs.

But some companies, as AP points out, are testing even lower caps, with tiered payment plans. 

As a gamer, I couldn’t be more excited by OnLive.  I don’t have a high-end PC, and the promise of running current-gen titles on it gets me all a twitter.  However, the perennially unfulfilled promise of server-side computing aside, ISPs treating OnLive like a fast-approaching meteor makes me cautious.  Let’s just hope they don’t hire Bruce Willis.