Back at E3 we got a look at the OnLive client running on the iPad, and were surprised by how well it worked. If this is the first you've heard of it, OnLive is a game streaming service that is trying to do to video games what NetFlix streaming has done to movies. There are a variety of different payment options, but it comes down to this: If you've got a solid internet connection (the connectivity requirements are stringent) you can play next-generation video games on any device capable of running the OnLive client, including a micro console they're selling that hooks up to TV's.

Unfortunately, the OnLive client for the iPad is only a viewer, and you can't actually play any games currently. Fortunately, the viewer aspect of OnLive is really cool, and totally worth checking out. Utilizing the iPad client (or any OnLive client) you can view any game that's currently being played by any player connected to OnLive. If you've never seen Assassin's Creed, all you need to do is scroll to someone playing it, and you're instantly watching them. The down side of all this is that much like playing games using OnLive, watching them also requires a considerable amount of bandwidth. Viewing games is much more forgiving, but you'll still need a substantial chunk of downstream to not see any video artifacts.

OnLive Viewer for the iPad is a free download, and currently is available in New Zealand. Much like the Wednesday night game releases, it will slowly become available to other regions throughout the day before finally making its appearance on the US App Store at 11:00 PM EST.

App Store Link: OnLive Viewer, Free

  • Tyler

    Thats pretty neat. If iPad could actually play the games I would consider it.

    • Anonymous

      It's free, what's there to consider? I agree that it sounds pretty neat.

  • ph0lly

    Since there's no playing involved why not have iPhone compatibility?

    • Anonymous

      Maybe it's a CPU hog. More likely the text would be unreadable on the small screen and it wouldn't pass certification.

      • ph0lly

        They both have 1ghz processors and who cares if you can't read the text, if you want to read text you should play the game. It's probably just laziness on the developers part.

  • Dammster

    I want it for iPhone too :( I like watching videos

  • DotComCTO

    Ugh. Nice idea, but too much of a tease.

  • thewiirocks

    Arrggghhh!!! When I first saw the headline, my response was: "Cool! Now I can take my OnLive account on the go." Then I saw the details and my response turned to something out of Charlie Brown. :p

    For those who haven't tried it, OnLive is actually a rather cool service. It's like a rental service combined with Steam with a whole lotta sexy thrown on top. While my results have been mixed (e.g. Unreal 3 plays great while Dark Void is painful to play) I still think this is a service that everyone should try. It's free to download the client on a PC. Demos are often the full game, but time-limited. So there's definitely enough here to get a real feel for the service without paying a dime.

    • Anonymous

      I love the OnLive service as it is, and I would think it's only going to get better as they develop it and add more games. I've ordered a microconsole ($99) and look forward to playing on the TV as well as my Mac.

      The games seem expensive, but OnLive has a lot of holiday sales which make it go down easier. Most of their stuff was 75% off over the Thanksgiving weekend, and I'd expect something similar for Christmas.

      • thewiirocks

        You're preaching to the choir, my friend. I picked up a game on the service during the sale. In part, just so I could own my little piece of the cloud. The content is still limited in scope, but I expect that to change as these guys market the living daylights out of this.

        In fact, I keep wondering when they'll go to publishers and say, "Deploy on us first and eliminate zero-day piracy!" If publishers bite (which I suspect they will), OnLive will be able to do easily what other consoles fight tooth and nail to do: Get exclusive games before anyone else.

      • Anonymous

        That's what GaiKai is already doing. If you look at their page, they're promoting it to advertisers and publishers first since it's not ready for users yet.

        Personally, I like OnLive better so far, if for no other reason than they seem to understand the gamer mind. They did an AMAZING promotion recently, giving away free games to anyone who bought anything from them during the first six months (even rentals), and a free $100 microconsole to anyone who bought 2 things. I missed the promo but the goodwill impressed me enough to pig out on their Thanksgiving sale.

      • swarmster

        That's actually really interesting, and the first time I've personally heard OnLive pitched as an anti-piracy measure. It would be the first anti-piracy tactic that actually works, since it takes the game code completely out of the hands of the user. Barring a leak from OnLive or the developer itself (which you'd think would be easy to track down), there's no way anyone could duplicate or steal the code.

        Assuming OnLive actually stuck around/became popular/found a business model that worked, it would be interesting if a company like Rockstar, which has completely exited the PC game market primarily due to piracy concerns, decided to release games exclusively to OnLive. Their games are mostly open-world and wouldn't suffer from the latency of the service, so it would be a great test case.

      • Phuck-o

        Yes! Give us poor pc users Red Dead Redemption on Onlive Rockstar scumbags.

        The only way we can pirate it is with a camcorder movie theater style.

    • Anonymous

      Dark Void will always be painful to play, OnLive or not.

  • Sam

    I just don't like the fact that people can watch what I'm playing on their iPad!

    • thewiirocks

      You can set your privacy settings to prevent that. Honestly, it's not a big deal, though. If you're find with people shoulder-surfing you at the store kiosks, you probably won't mind it on OnLive. In fact, you might even capture some brag clips. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1064101127 Frej Lorenzen

    Onlive coming to the iPhone would beat Aralon coming out. That would be soooooo awesome. But i guess, when it hasn't even come out in Europe, it won't be soon.

  • Lukwtwz

    So this the games are like Rage HD where you watch the scenery race past while someone else controls the legs? Or do control the legs while someone else looks around?

  • MicroByte

    Really cool! I've been curious as to how well things would look/play given that it's a streaming service, maybe this will give me a taste.

    If the ever brought an onlive client to the iPad/iPhone, I would probably subscribe. I know it wouldn't be the best option to play, but it would be an option when on the go.

    For those that are already playing on the service, it sounds like it's great!

    • Achy

      The problem with that is, that it won't really be "on the go". You need a quite decent connection for it to actually work, and 3G wouldn't work.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, imagine if they move forward with connecting a bluetooth controller to iPad, so you can play OnLive games on the iOS... current gen gaming AND solving the "iOS needs a controller" issue. I know OnLive would certainly love the new consumer base.

  • Mwhite67

    If they made their controller for the microconsole compatible via bluetooth with the ipad I would buy one instantly. As it is now I already have enough consoles that play on my TV and my PC plays games fine.

  • Phuck-o

    OnLive is coming to iphone. this is happening just as perlman said it would. first the viewer, then the fully functional app later on.

    With Pandora, Netflix and OnLive on the iphone i shudder to think the shoddy work the blue collar employees are doing due to these distractions. You know, the union backed automotive assembly line employees and elevator maintenance workers assembling and fixing things with scotch tape and bubble gum so they can hurry back to watching family guy or playing kane and lynch on their grandfathered in, unlimited data plan iphones.

    Don't get on that elevator my friends. A new dawn is upon us. :)