OnLive demoed; lag and image quality may indeed be an issue

There are people beta testing OnLive out there, and of course after our various looks at the remote gaming service (and my repeated statements of skepticism) we try to keep up to date. PC Perspective has a nice, lengthy write-up of the beta, which you should read in its entirety if you’re particularly interested. However, the reduction of PC Per’s sauce is this: for certain games, and for certain gamers, it may just be a good solution. But for power players it just isn’t an option.

Of course, this is a beta service and someone outside of the beta area (adding a little bit of latency), so you can expect things to improve, but also consider that as more people join, the further OnLive’s system is stretched.

Some points worth noting:

  • Lag is in fact noticeable
  • Image quality is an issue if you’re used to PC gaming graphics
  • Game selection is limited right now (likely to change, but still)
  • Bandwidth congestion pretty much shuts it down

Some quotes from the conclusion:

In my testing I found that games that were slower paced, or at least had slower paced input mechanisms, played well enough that I could be fooled into thinking I was playing on a modestly configured local gaming system.

..If you are an avid PC gamer you will likely be very disappointed by the experience, both in terms of image quality and input latency

I think it’s a promising service, but right now that’s mainly what it is: promises. Right now I don’t want to rely on them or Comcast when I want to play a sweet new game. However, for many people it would be worth it just to have access to a few games at all times with the guarantee that they’ll play at least decently. Hopefully OnLive can keep that promise.