TSA Talks #2

If you missed out on #1, TSA Talks is a new regular feature for the site, presenting our writing team (and of course, our community) with a platform to sound off on some of the week’s top news stories.

You can catch the last edition here in which we discussed the future of the Nintendo 3DS as well as the impressive PlayStation Vita showing at last week’s Tokyo Game Show, also with a side column dedicated to the recently-announced Monster Hunter 4.

With the Eurogamer Expo still in full swing, we were a few men down this week, but there is still plenty of opinion to sink your teeth into.


It’s been well over a year since cloud-based gaming platform, OnLive, launched in the States. This week, the console made its debut here in the UK but will it catch on? Is this the evolution of gaming, or will the name OnLive be forgotten in another year’s time?

Kris: I’d happily pick up OnLive if I thought my internet connection could cope with it (at 4 meg it may struggle) and if they overcome the capacity issues that have struck it at launch. If it’s unprofitable or impractical to scale up then, frankly, they simply can’t succeed. Why would anyone buy it if they know they’ll have issues accessing it? They need to be at least as stable as an MMO like WoW, if they can’t achieve that then they’ll haemorrhage subscribers.

Aran: I’ll be at Eurogamer Expo this weekend so I’ll look to pick up an OnLive console from there to give it a go. I still believe it to be a glorified rental system and quite an expensive one at that. I’ll have access to all these games but I’ll never own them outright through OnLive, which worries me. What if a game’s servers are too full? Will I be denied access to that game until the service isn’t full? Should OnLive go out of business, I lose access to all those games I paid for. OnLive is one way of approaching the gaming business model but don’t ever expect it to outdo the likes of Steam, Xbox LIVE, PSN etc.

Dan: I’m really impressed with OnLive. Running at a muscular 2mb broadband speed I was expecting not to be able to use the service at all, but it actually works! There have been a couple of launch day hiccups, such as the now famous “OnLive is full” message, but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for the moment. In terms of visual quality, it seems to vary from title to title, so whilst Borderlands looks fantastic, the Tomb Raider games look a bit grainy. Saying this, I have yet to be disappointed with the graphics. In terms of input lag, I’ve played games in the FPS, platform and racing genre and have nothing of note to report. The evolution of gaming? You know what… it just might be.

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  1. I’ve found OnLive to be quite good on my computer. The resolution isn’t fantastic, and my connection often falters, because of TalkTalk in combination with running over WiFi, but a dab of Deus Ex (£1!) has been good enough that I might do that offer on Saints Row 3 and get a console.
    If it doesn’t get used, it doesn’t get used, but for quieter months, I can drop £7 and access a decent selection of games I’ve not played.

  2. I will try out OnLive again, certainly great for instantly jumping into a new game. A huge advance compared to the hours of updating and installing we usually out up with, sometimes just to play a short demo.

  3. I don’t like the idea of cloud-gaming at all. If there’s any problem with your connection or their servers, you just have to hope that there’s something good on TV. Also I agree that OnLive is pretty much a “glorified rental system” (nice description, Aran). But I’m surprised to read that Dan didn’t notice any input lag, their system seems to work better than I thought. Still I really hope that the future of gaming doesn’t only consist of OnLive and iPhone apps!

  4. I’ve been really impressed with OnLive. I was lucky enough to score a free console at the Eurogamer expo and have to say that the experience of using it has been great, with graphical quality seeming much better than when using OnLive through my (not too shabby) computer. The fact that I’ve managed to play several of the games lag-free, despite the much-lower-than-claimed speed of my BT broadband (3MBps if I’m lucky) has left me hugely impressed.

  5. I’m intrigued to try out Onlive after the largely positive response here, but I’ll probably never get around to it.

    • it is surprising a lot of people hate it on CVG.

  6. Onlive is part of my gaming solution… the problem was the introduction of my new baby (3 months old now!). I couldn’t justify keeping my PS3 gaming habit, a smattering of Steam titles and my iOS gaming… So I sold the PS3 and felt sad… for a day as Onlive UK launched the next day!

    Although it won’t have the exclusive titles and there are still some big names (EA anyone) missing it will certainly give me my fix when I do get a few hours to indulge. £7 a month the rent 100 games… that’ll do. When I’m out and about iOS or PC/Mac gaming with Steam fills the void. It should…. in theory be a more cost effective and flexible option that PS3 ownership… but with obvious drawbacks.

    Oh and I am lucky enough to have a 30mb BT Infinity connection so no issues with lag or resolution here:-)

    • good news, EA will be bringing Bulletstorm to OnLive. Yeah it’s a few months old, but paves the way for the newer stuff.

      • Oh, that is good news, I thought they might go Gaikai only… I can live without those console exclusives if all the main publisher are on board.

        Another concern I did have was pricing… however unlike the PSN sales Onlive do seem to offer full games at $5 pretty much every month… and their major sales offer good discounts across the board. Oh and the 30% off everything subscriber discount is something Sony could learn from I’d say:-)

    • 50MB Virgin connection it still lags it is gaming going backwards imo hop Sony try it with demos on PS4 about the only reason I would try it you will never play gears or UC3 on it.

      • there not on board & you can get a lot of the games dirt cheap on there.

  7. Really hate this Season pass thing.

  8. If the U.K. had a solid, fast internet connection Onlive would be perfect. I don’t really see the problem with it. Just like LoveFilm and Netflix, it’s a rental service so I don’t really agree with it being what it is as a downside. If I had a better, more reliable internet connection, I’d jump ship.

    Season pass is a brilliant idea. It is a much better way of adding incentive to not entering the second hand market rather than the shitty Online Pass which takes things away. I do agree that there should be more ideas of what you’re getting when you actually enter into this sort of agreement.

    Don’t really have an opinion for Homefront 2. It was a decent game, it’s just a shame Kaos got so little development time and now Crytek are getting about 2 years to work on it!

    • Completely agree, only if i was in south korea (1000mbit internet!)

  9. I thought that OnLive was horrible. Using a wired 20mb Virgin Media conection and even the main menu was a nasty artefacted mess. I then tried Metro 2033 trial and it was impossible to see about 5ft in front of me due to the blurry madness. The fact that you don’t actually own what you pay for, and that prices fall roughly between PC and console game prices is another turn off. Not mentioning that a game could just disappear if not enough people are playing it, or after 3yrs. Then there’s the ‘servers full’ thing to, which is just mental. Also seen reports that it goes through about 2gb and hour, so with my VM connection it would get throttled after about 2 hours or so.
    I did like the Arena thing though, being able to spectate on random games is quite cool. Yet it’s one of those features that would be of the used once, went ‘sweet’, then forgot about.

    • 20mb? are you sure you hav’nt downloaded anything today over 1gb because if you have Isp’s usually limit your DL limit :)

  10. This is absolutely awesome! Even on my 10mb connection it runs fluidly with the occasional jitter but and blurriness but heck thats because of ‘fair usage policy’ for people with 20mb+ internet it should be a defo buy :)ps- i was playing the Arkham asylum demo.

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