OnLive, the cloud-streaming gaming company that removes the need for a console, are banking on the next generation of Smart TVs to get them into living rooms easily. The idea is that a consumer buys an LG Smart TV (powered by Google TV), buys an OnLive controller, gets home, and realizes that they can play a whole library of triple A console games without actually having a console. It sounds good for the user but its success will depend on the user experience.
I’ve used OnLive a few times and find it to be an enjoyable experience. The idea that I could flip to it on my TV by just picking up the controller and pressing start is attractive. One of OnLive’s best features is the fact that you don’t have to switch discs and the games start right away. To top it off, OnLive offers generous 30 minute trials for most of its games, so you could just jump in to a brand new game within a few minutes.
OnLive also introduced its new MultiView mode, which allows users to view multiple panes of their friends’ games while they play. This can come in handy if multiple players are playing the same multiplayer online game, but also if a group of people just want to hang out as they play different games.
Finally, OnLive announced their one click in browser service, which lets publishers display the OnLive window wherever HTML is available, and the window connects into the world of OnLive and allows players to play the hundreds of games directly from whatever device they’re using. It’s similar to Gaikai’s offering, and underscores the battle that’s heating up between these two companies.