OnLive to Launch Cloud-Based Gaming Service

Gaming moves further into the cloud as OnLive announces a cloud-based gaming service with support from publishing heavyweights such as Electronic Arts (EA), THQ and Ubisoft.

As more companies become comfortable moving their businesses into cloud-based services, consumers are also waking up to the idea that cloud-based storage (and entertainment) is a safe and practical alternative. With this in mind, OnLive, a deliverer of on-demand, instant-play video games, announced the PC and Mac versions of its game service would begin rolling out to consumers on June 17 at the E3 video games trade show. The OnLive Game Service is an on-demand video game platform capable of delivering games via a broadband connection on virtually any PC or Mac, via a small browser plug-in, or on an HDTV, via the company's MicroConsole TV Adapter.

OnLive will charge customers $14.95 a month to rent or purchase games from publishers including Ubisoft, THQ and Electronic Arts (EA). The company said loyalty programs such as multimonth pricing and special offers would be announced by the start of E3. For starters, OnLive is announcing a pre-registration offer, wherein the first 25,000 qualified registrants will have their OnLive $14.95 monthly service fee waived for the first three months of service. During this special three month introductory period, full versions of games will be available for purchase or rental on an ??í la carte basis.

"This marks a huge milestone for both OnLive and the interactive entertainment landscape as a whole, changing the way that video games are developed, marketed, accessed and played," said Steve Perlman, founder and CEO of OnLive. "We are opening the door to incredible experiences for gamers and enormous opportunities for developers and publishers."

The service will also include standard online game service features such as gamer tags, user profiles, friends, and chat. In addition, an evolving slate of features will include 3D graphics performance, instant-play free game demos, multiplayer across PC, Mac and TV platforms, Brag Clips video capture and posting, massive spectating and cloud-saved games, which will allow users to pause and resume from anywhere, even on a different platform.

"The OnLive Game Service creates a new opportunity for consumers to play the latest games without spending hundreds of dollars on a hardware system to make it happen," said Mike McGarvey, COO of OnLive. "As a Mac user myself, I'm excited about the opportunity to help bring high-end gaming to this new and significant market."

While this service is clearly marketed toward the gaming community, its release underscores how attractive cloud-based services are becoming to consumers and businesses. Earlier this week, storage solutions and online cloud computing application services provider IceWeb announced the launch of its Iplicity Data Storage platform, which enables the incorporation of available disk storage resident in non-Iplicity-based legacy storage vendor products.

However, concerns over privacy and security, not to mention reliability, linger: A survey commissioned by Symantec in February found the business community was divided as to how cloud computing and virtualization affected security efforts. While 40 percent of respondents said their businesses were employing cloud-based applications, 40 percent said it would be more difficult to prevent or react to data loss under the company's cloud-computing strategy.