First announced at GDC in 2009, few people actually believed that OnLive could exist. Back then, the idea of realtime cloud-based gaming was closer to science fiction than anything that most felt could actually be reality. We got a first look at the iPad client at E3 2010, and while you could only view people playing games, it totally worked. In 2011, we visited the OnLive guys again at E3, only this time they had a totally working iPad client with a Bluetooth controller that allowed you to play real console-like games on the iPad with a controller.
In early december of las year, OnLive started ramping up marketing efforts for the iOS client and in the process sent us a build of the client (the one you see here today) and one of the Bluetooth controllers that we saw at E3. It worked great, arguably even better than at E3 since my own home isn’t inundated with a completely ruined wireless spectrum from a zillion smartphones and other devices broadcasting on any and all frequencies.
We were on the verge of releasing some massive preview coverage, but stepped on the brakes as we waited for details like when specifically the OnLive app was hitting, and other particulars. Not long after, OnLive went almost completely dark on the iOS front. This year at E3, we learned that they’re still having issues with approval.
I could speculate all day as to why the OnLive app still hasn’t been approved by Apple, but, in the meantime, the mobile provisioning file that OnLive originally sent me last year has been slowly expiring. It fully expired today, and I figured since this is potentially our last chance to play OnLive games on our iPad before it’s (hopefully) eventually released, we recorded a bunch of video.
Before you watch these, be aware of the following caveats: First off, this is a build from last year, it’s entirely possible (and probable) that OnLive have tweaked, optimized, or re-worked things since then- Specifically when it comes to the touch controls that you will see in the second video. Secondly, this video has been processed quite a bit. There’s the original compression that the Game Capture HD does, the import into iMovie, and the re-compression with the commentary audio and TouchArcade watermark.
Additionally, YouTube does whatever wizardry it does behind the scenes which could further impact quality. In my experience with playing OnLive on the iPad, especially with the Bluetooth controller, it both plays and looks great. To see uncompressed screenshots of OnLive on the iPad to see actual color representation and artifacting in game, click any of the above thumbnails.
With that out of the way, OnLive for the iPad:
And here’s a second video of OnLive, this time using the on-screen touch controls:
Please don’t take these videos as any indication that we know anything more about OnLive (We don’t!) and/or that it’s possibly coming soon. It’s been in approval purgatory as far as we know for over six months now, and that’s as in depth as OnLive seems to want to get when it comes to commenting on the matter. These videos basically just amount to the preview coverage we would’ve done back in December, if things had gone the way they were supposed to.
Hopefully there’s some light at the end of the tunnel, as I’m beyond bummed that as of this afternoon I’ve lost the ability to play OnLive on my iPad. If nothing else, take these videos (and screenshots) as an example of what could have been, and with any luck will be available at some point in the future.