A few days ago, we told you OnLive was bringing its video gaming service to Android devices later this year. Coincidentally, there was a little something going on this week called E3 where the company unveiled all the details–and then some–about its Android app.
For those of you who don’t know, OnLive is a cloud gaming service that processes and renders video games on its data centers and then streams the video to your device. By offloading the workload to the cloud, OnLive lets you play console-quality games on even the most wimpy netbook. The end-result is the same as playing a game on your console or PC, but without the hassle of installing any software or spending a small fortune upgrading your PC.
As we told you before, OnLive will be releasing an Android app later this year (we’re hearing around August) that will let you play any game that the service offers. If your heart just stopped when you thought about playing Duke Nukem: Forever on your Android tablet, you’re not alone. You’ll be able to play games by using either on-screen touch controls, which developers have to implement, or the OnLive Universal Wireless Controller we showed you last week.
There seemed to be a lot of confusion about the Universal Wireless Controller when I wrote about it last week, so I’ll try to explain it better this time. The controller connects wirelessly to your Android device without anything in-between. There’s nothing to hook up and no other device is needed to connect to your Android tablet/phone. The controller can also connect this way to your PC, Mac and some Vizio TVs. In the rare case that your device doesn’t support the Universal Wireless Controller, OnLive will sell you a USB dongle that will let you connect it.
While playing console-quality games on our Android tablet is enough to send us into a geek-induced comma, OnLive has some much more interesting and mind-blowing stuff coming down the pike. Like how you’ll be able to use your Android device as a controller for OnLive. Or how the company will use the same video-compression technology that it’s using on games to give you a full-blown browser that has a 10-Gbit Internet connection. Wait what?
That’s right. The company is working on a “web browser” for Android devices that works just like its video game app, but instead of streaming a video game, it gives you a full-desktop browser with Flash included. The company demoed how fast full Flash websites like Mercedes Benz’s would load on your device. Also, since none of the rendering is done on the actual device, the “browser” allows you to watch content from Netflix and Hulu right on your Android device. Are you excited about OnLive now? Well, you haven’t heard the best part yet.
The company is working with video game studios to bring OnLive-exclusive video games to the platform. This will allow video game developers to take full advantage of OnLive’s processing power, which is several times more powerful than the most high-end desktop computer available today. The company showed how, by using OnLive’s servers, video game developers could build games that looks just like real life–or better. The company said the technology to bring life-like games to console and computers is not here yet, but it does exist on data centers.
Steve Perlman, CEO of OnLive, gave us a glimpse at the kind of graphics we can expect from games that use the power of the cloud. Basically, games would look just this Batman Arkham City trailer–as realistic as it gets. Virtual reality, here we come.