Is OnLive OnCrack?

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We just tried out OnLive, and of course it worked perfectly, being a demonstration on the order of 8-10 machines set up by the company itself. The people we talked to were naturally very optimistic, and my concerns over the availability and reliability of multi-megabit connections were waved away. That isn’t the only problem, though. OnLive will need a top-tier computer for every player at all times, and when a new game is introduced, the volume and subsequent will be unsupportable. Add this to the fact that video quality (which looked okay to me) is questionable at the framerates they’ve set forth, and things start looking a bit pie-in-the-sky.

This informative article at Eurogamer is immensely skeptical, and understandably. These are serious questions, and they demand real answers from OnLive, even if they have to be coy about the details. If they want to serve 20,000 people at a time, they’ll need 20,000 computers or the equivalent thereof. Even at the hugely conservative estimate of $1000 per machine, that’s $20 million just to start. Is growth sustainable? Is the revenue sufficient? Once the shine wears off, will we find that OnLive is making promises it just can’t keep? We’ll know soon. Until then, I’m withholding judgment, but leaning towards calling BS.

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